Twenty-five-year-old Matthew Guenter of Boulder, Colorado won two national overall titles this weekend - claiming Saturday’s Olympic distance national title Saturday and Sunday’s Super Sprint overall on Sunday. Thirty-three-year-old Dani Fischer of Indianapolis, Indiana won the women's overall Olympic distance crown on Saturday while 21-year-old Shannon Ferin of Grand Junction, Colorado won Sunday’s Super Sprint Distance clash.
Age Group National Championships is USA Triathlon’s longest-running National Championship event, first held in 1983. Milwaukee has played host to Age Group National Championships on five occasions, including three consecutive years from 2013-15, averaging more than 5,000 registrants per year. USA Triathlon Nationals returned to Milwaukee in 2021 and the city has now hosted back-to-back years with more than 6,000 registrants, with athletes coming to the city from all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
In addition to racing for national titles in their respective age groups, athletes also raced for the opportunity to represent age group Team USA at the 2023 World Triathlon Age Group Championships in Pontevedra, Spain (Olympic-Distance) and Hamburg, Germany (Sprint).
Saturday’s Olympic-distance course featured a 1,500-meter swim in Lake Michigan, followed by a 40-kilometer bike traversing the Daniel Hoan Memorial Bridge and the Lake Freeway. Athletes then completed a 10-kilometer run through Veterans Park and Lincoln Memorial Drive, ending with a sprint down USA Triathlon’s red-carpet finish chute adjacent to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Discovery World.
Todd Buckingham (Wyoming, Mich.), finished second overall Dunay with a time of 1:55:27, while winning the 30-34 age group national title. David Reynolds (Andover, N.H.), placed third overall in 1:55:35, winning his 20-24 age group national title.
Fischer of Indianapolis, Indiana, is a former collegiate runner at the University of Wisconsin, won the women’s overall national title in a time of 2:10:31. She, too, was aiming for the overall win. She finished second overall in both the Olympic-Distance and Sprint National Championships in 2019 — earning her USA Triathlon Overall Age Group Athlete of the Year honors — and after taking a couple years off from racing, she wanted to return to Age Group National Championships with a title.
“My mantra today was ‘Be relentless’ and it all worked out. I'm pretty proud of myself for staying in it today and being relentless and gritting it out. I'm extremely grateful to be here and to be healthy,” Fischer said.
Sprint National Championships
On Sunday, Guenter added another overall national title, winning the Sprint National Championships title in a time of 29:29. Due to inclement weather, the course for Sunday’s Sprint National Championships was shortened to a Super-Sprint distance of a 385m swim, 10.7k bike and 2.5k run.
Buckingham repeated as runner-up in a time of 30:30, winning his 30-34 age group national title, while Daniel Moore (Madison, Wis.) placed third overall in a time of 30:38.
Feran won the Sprint National Championships title in a time of 34:06. Feran, 21, competes for the NCAA Division II women’s collegiate triathlon team at Colorado Mesa University. A longtime swimmer, Feran joined the triathlon team at Colorado Mesa and fell in love with the sport. Feran’s goal this season was to earn the overall win in a triathlon. “I’m super excited,” she told USA Triathlon media. “I wasn’t expecting this. I saw the opportunity and I was feeling good, so I just went for it. My goal this season was to get a banner of some sort in some race.”
Freya McKinley of The Woodlands, Texas, finished second overall in 34:12, winning the 15-19 age group national title. Michelle Stratton (Naperville, Ill.) took third overall in 34:24, winning the 30-34 age group national title.
Competitors in Sunday’s Sprint National Championships included 92-year-old Sister Madonna Buder (Spokane, Wash.), known in the triathlon community as the “Iron Nun” and 15-year-old Caleb Prewitt pf Jacksonville Florida, who became the first person with Down syndrome to compete at Age Group National Championships.
Buder has completed roughly 400 triathlons, including 45 IRONMAN races, all while she was over 50 years old.
Prewitt is an ambassador for the USA Triathlon Foundation and he also competed at the Zone3 Youth & Junior Nationals in West Chester, Ohio, earlier this summer. His idol is Chris Nikic, who in 2020 captivated and inspired the world when he became the first person with Down syndrome to complete an IRONMAN triathlon.
“It's so great that we can give them the same opportunity we give all other athletes. Anything is possible and there is more and more to come,” said USA Triathlon Certified Coach Hector Torres, who coaches Prewitt and Nikic.
USA Triathlon Sprint Distance Age Group Nationals
August 7, 2022
S 385m / B 10.7k / 2.5k
Overall Female Shannon Feran (Grand Junction CO) 34:06
Overall Male Matthew Guenter (Boulder CO) 29:29
Master Female Kirsten Sass (McKenzie TN) 35:49
Masters MaleJohn Reback (Jupiter FL) 33:04
Male Grandmasters Bobby Gonzalez (El Paso TX) 36:54
Female Grandmasters Steph Popelar (Elizabeth CO) 37:01
Non-Binary:Sebastian DeJong (Indianapolis, IN) 38:40
Athena 55 and over: Rhoda Miel (Ann Arbor MI) 54:09
Clydesdale 60 and over: Mike Savage (Geneva IL) 44:07
Athena 40-54: Leslie Battle (Warwick RI) 46:50
Clydesdale 40-54 Eric Michel (Westmont IL) 37:54
Athena 39 and under: Mallin Blaxall (Cincinnati OH) 43:46
Clydesdale 39 and under: Josh De Jong (Indianapolis IN) 36:27
Individual Class Age Group Winners
F15-19:Freya McKinley (The Woodlands TX) 34:12
M15-19:Brave Mays (Aubrey TX) 31:29
F20-24:Shannon Feran (Grand Junction CO) 34:06
M20-24: David Reynolds (Andover NH) 30:58
F25-29:Marissa Lovell (Eugene OR) 34:53
M25-29:Matthew Guenter (Boulder CO) 29:29
F30-34: Michelle Stratton (Naperville IL) 34:24
M30-34:Todd Buckingham (Wyoming MI) 30:30
F35-39:Jennifer Santoyo (Burien WA) 36:54
M35-39:Brian Reynolds (Richland MI) 31:31
F40-44:Kirsten Sass (McKenzie TN) 35:49
M40-44:Todd Ricketts (Newark OH) 33:44
F45-49:Ginger Reiner (Lincoln MA) 35:52
M45-49:Christian Waterstraat (Naperville IL)
F50-54:Michellie Jones (Carlsbad CA) 36:59
M50-54:John Reback (Jupiter FL) 33:04
F55-59:Steph Popelar (Elizabeth CO) 37:01
M55-59:Robert Skaggs (Dunedin FL) 33:17
F60-64:Karen Cummins (Newton NJ) 39:32
M60-64:Bobby Gonzalez (El Paso TX) 36:54
F65-69:Sharon Johnson (Andover MD) 40:45
M65-69:David Morrow (Tarpon Springs FL) 37:28
F70-74:)Tove Shere (Cleveland Heights OH) 45:54
M70-74:Rick Kozlowski (San Diego CA) 38:53
F75-79:Bobbe Greenberg (Highland Park FL) 55:29
M75-79:Terry Habecker (Ithaca NY) 46:21
F80-84: June Black (Austin TX) 1:08:20
M80-84:Rob Norris (Bailey MI) 56:04
F85-89:Sheila Isaacs (Shoreham NY) 1:31:50
M85-89:Kenneth Fleischhacker (Littleton CO) 56;44
F90-94: Madonna Buder (Spokane WA) 1:55:08