Tuesday, September 24, 2019 Elyria 56°
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Avon woman qualifies for Triathlon championship

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CLEVELAND -- Avon’s Joanne Collins qualified for the 2020 ITU World Triathlon Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, with a 12th-place age-group finish at Saturday’s 37th annual USA Triathlon Age Group Standard Distance and Sprint (Non-Drafting) Triathlon National Championship.

Collins placed 12th in the 60-64 age category for the standard distance with a time of 2:26:18. The top 18th per age group for the standard distance automatically earn a berth to worlds. For the sprint distance, 10 per age category earned an automatic spot.

The swim portion of the Cleveland-based triathlon was held at Edgewater Beach. The bike and run portions were held in downtown Cleveland.

“I’m happy with the race, especially the run,” Collins said. “I’m a little disappointed they cut swim in half due to waves. I’ve swam in much worse conditions training. Guess they wanted to play it safe.”

Grafton’s Michael Schaefer was the top local triathlete for the men’s standard distance, taking 33rd in the 45-49 age category in 2:04.56.

“It was a great race,” Schaefer said. “I had a little trouble with current and waves in the swim but only lost about a minute versus the guys I compare myself with. It was good they shortened it (from 1,500 to 750 meters). I had an awesome bike leg - one of my fastest ever, and a solid run. I finished in the top 25 percent of the age group and within two minutes of the local guys I usually compete with so I’ll take it. My team volunteered at an aid station today which was also a lot of fun.”

Elyria’s Nicola Ceccon was 36th in the men’s 55-59 category for the standard distance with a time of 2:11:47.

Amherst’s Chris Park had the area’s second fastest time behind Schaefer as he placed 30th for 50-54 men in 2:05:19.

“It was not such a good day,” said Park. “These old dudes are fast. But it was fun, nonetheless.”

Avon’s Per Schroeder placed 40th in the men’s 45-49 in 2:06.32. Avon’s Tim Gossman was 81st in men’s 50-54 in 2:14:48.

Vermilion’s Dan Smith doubled for the weekend, competing the standard distance on Saturday and the sprint distance on Sunday for men’s 50-54. He was 86th for the standard distance in 2:15:35 and 40th in the sprint (1:18:28).

Former Vermilion resident Kim Wikel was 41st in the women’s 40-44 category for the standard distance in 2:17:28. Avon’s Luke Steinacker was 48th for men’s 35-39 for the sprint in 1:23:22.

The standard distance consisted of a 1,500-meter swim (750 for Saturday’s race), 40K bike and a 10K run. The sprint distance was a 750-meter swim, 20K bike and a 5K run.

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