When the going got icy-cold once again at the 2010 USAT Collegiate Nationals in Lubbock, Texas, the elders prevailed over younger pre-race favorites.
When the racing was done, 26-year-old Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo recreational administration student and professional triathlete Chris Stehula prevailed by 23 seconds over 24-year-old CU Boulder undergrad Cedric Wane for the men’s title.
Stehula, who finished 12th in the professional division of the 2009 Escape From Alcatraz triathlon, overcame a 33-second deficit to Wane after the bike to cross the line in 1:48:54. Wane, who finished 3rd at the Collegiate Nationals last year, easily held off a strong run by third place Kenneth Rakestraw of Cal Berkeley, 1:49:17 to 1:50:35.
Stehula, who had a potential top-10 finish wiped out a year ago due to penalty infractions, made no mistakes this year.
"I've been thinking about this race since my disappointment last year - every day just like 'I want to go win this; I want to go win this,'" Stehula told USAT media. "There was so much emotion during the race because I thought I'd lost it during the bike ... In the last mile and a half I'm like 'I think I've got this.' I kept turning around, and I was so excited coming across that finish line."
In the women’s race, little-known Nicole Kelleher, a 28-year-old medical student in emergency medicine at the University of Virginia, prevailed over defending champion Jessica Broderick, 20, of CU Boulder 2:03:10 to 2:05:18. Texas A&M’s Ashley Messoline trailed Broderick by 20 seconds and took third, 1:14 ahead of last year’s runner-up Ashley Morgan of the United States Military Academy.
In the world of USAT Collegiate Nationals, in which grad students and professionals mix with undergrads, Kelleher’s win was still relatively unexpected, although she scored a win in the amateur division of The Nation's Triathlon in Washington DC last September. Kelleher, who ran track and cross country asd an undergraduate for Dartmouth and SMU is a relative newcomer to triathlon and came off the bike in third place.
"I just kind of ran steady the whole time and just slowly pulled away," said Kelleher. "I never really made any moves," she told USAT media. "It was just a 10k, so I like to run that steady. I find that you run fastest if you run even splits."
Adding to the race day uncertainty, Kelleher’s timing chip did not register at the timing mats and online accounts of the race did not mention her until the finish.
Race day water temperature of 54 and starting time air temperatures of 48, mixed with light rain led USAT officials to cut the swim from a planned 1500 meters to 750 meters.
USAT Collegiate National Championship
April 17, 2010
S 750m/ B 40k/ R 10k
1. Chris Stehula (Cal Poly SLO) 1:48:54
2. Cedric Wane (CU Boulder) 1:49:17
3. Ken Rakestraw (Cal Berkeley) 1:50:35
4. James Burns (George Mason University) 1:51:07
5. Stephen Munchak (Colorado State University) 1:51:40
6. Patrick Davis (Iowa State) 1:51:59
7. Rudy Kahsar (University of Virginia) 1:52:14
8. Steven Rosinski (Ohio State) 1:52:21
9. Scott Terry (US Naval Academy) 1:52:26
10. Chris Braden (CU Boulder) 1:54:35
1. Nicole Kelleher (University of Virginia) no chip time 2:03:10
2. Jessica Broderick (CU Boulder) 2:05:1
3. Ashley Messoline (Texas Tech) 2:05:38
4. Ashley Morgan (US Military Academy) 26:52
5. Lauren Goss (Clemson) 2:07:00
6. Meghan Lapeta (University of Illinois-Chicago) 2:10:23
7. Kathrine Warren (UCSB) 2:10:40
8. Brittany Day (UCLA) 2:10:41
9. Alexandra Weber (Texas A&M) 2:11:03
10. Brittany Braden (Cal Poly-SLO) 2:11:26
11. Alexandra Gass (US Naval Academy) 2:13:06