Saturday, April 19, 2008

Matt Reed upsets Kemper, Potts to take second US men’s Olympic slot

TUSCALOOSA, Alabama -- Matt Reed, recent U.S. citizen and at 6-feet 5-inches the tallest man in competition triathlon, whipped heavy favorites Andy Potts and Hunter Kemper to take the second U.S. men’s Olympic Triathlon team trials event in Tuscaloosa Alabama Saturday.

In a race that went a little closer to form, Julie Swail Ertel used a lightning-quick bike to run transition to surge ahead of Sarah Haskins, then sealed her win with a personal best 35:19 10km– 23 seconds faster than Haskin’s run – to cross the line in 2:02:21 for a 29-second margin of victory. The win gave the 2000 Olympic water polo silver medalist a rare Olympic qualification in a second sport.

The men

Reed made a daring break on the last of eight bike laps on a hilly course along the Black Warrior River, gaining a 25-second advantage over Potts, Kemper and Brian Fleischmann starting the run.

While Kemper let Reed have his last lap bike surge, believing he could overtake his tall, Zealand-born friend, Reed answered with a race-best 31:03 10km run that outpaced both Andy Potts (31:07) and Kemper (31:07) to cross the finish in 1:52:15. Had he been pushed, Reed could have run even better, since he spent a happy 20 seconds exulting, working the crowd, and drinking in the moment – and still had a 20-second advantage over runner-up Potts and 24 seconds over third place Kemper. “I worked hard for a long time for this moment, so I wanted to enjoy it,” said the taciturn Kiwi.

Tuscaloosa marked the second straight upset of the U.S.A.’s most decorated Olympic distance triathletes in 2008 Olympic Trials races. Since Jarrod Shoemaker took the first U.S. men’s Olympic slot in Beijing last September and Reed punched the second U.S. Men’s Olympic triathlon ticket to Beijing, Potts and Kemper will be left with triathlon’s version of a Texas Death Cage Wrestling match in June at the Hy-Vee Triathlon in Des Moines. As each has a second and a third place in the three U.S. Olympic Trials competition, it’s basically a winner-take-all match race for the third U.S. Olympic men’s triathlon slot. That is, unless Potts and Kemper have some sort of catastrophic accident before Des Moines. Then Doug Friman (a fourth at Beijing) and Brian Fleischmann (fourth at Tuscaloosa) can leap over Kemper and Potts if either places first American at Des Moines – a long odds proposition.

”I’m still unhappy, but I can handle it because I gave it everything I had today and got beat by a better man – on the day,” said Potts, who went for broke right off the bat with a 18:17 swim in the windswept, white-capped waters of the Black Warrior River that gave him a 43-second lead starting the bike. Potts made a brave effort to go it alone, but was overtaken by a solid surge by Potts, Kemper and Brian Fleishmann on Lap 4 of 8 on the bike.

“It was a tough day and I’m not satisfied with myself,” said Kemper. “But I’m really happy that if I couldn’t win that it went to Matt.”

The women

Julie Swail Ertel wins 2008 Tuscaloosa Olympic Trials
Photo: Timothy Carlson
Sara McLarty broke out with a 19:09 swim, followed closely by Sarah Haskins (19:21) Sarah Groff (19:21) and Ertel (19:23) The four of them worked hard to surge to a 1-minute break over Joanna Zeiger, Mary Beth Ellis, Jasmine Oeinck and Becky Lavelle.

Once on the run, Ertel blazed out front and was never challenged as Ellis dropped back and 2000 Olympian Zeiger, in her farewell to ITU style racing, ran a 37:15 to stake a final claim on fourth place.

2008 U.S. Olympic Triathlon Trials
Round 2 – Tuscaloosa, Alabama
April 19, 2008
Tuscaloosa, Alabama
S 1.5k/B 40k/R 10k


Elite women

1.Julie Swail Ertel (Irvine CA) 2:02:21
2. Sarah Haskins (Colorado Springs CO) 2:02:50
3. Sarah Groff (Boulder CO) 2:02:59
4. Joanna Zeiger (Boulder CO) 2:05:15
5. Jasmine Oeinck (Colorado Springs CO) 2:06:09
6. Mary Beth Ellis (Thornton CO) 2:06:19
7. Becky Lavelle (Los Gatos CA) 206:31
8. Sara McLarty (Colorado Springs CO) 2:06:53
9. Amanda Stevens (Colorado Springs CO) 2:07:15
10 Rebecca Wassner (New York City NY) 2:09:57
11.Margaret Shapiro (Herndon VA) 2:10:97

Elite men

1. Matt Reed (Boulder CO) 1:52:15
2. Andy Potts (Colorado Springs CO) 1:52:35
3. Hunter Kemper (Colorado Springs CO) 1:52:39
4. Brian Fleischmann (Colorado Springs CO) 1:55:22
5. Doug Friman (Tucson AZ) 1:56:25
6. Timothy O’Donnell (Colorado Springs CO) 1:57:00
7. Mark Fretta (Colorado Springs CO) 1:58:16
8. Joe Umphenour (Colorado Springs CO) 1:59:04
9. Victor Plata (Sacramento CA) 2:03:21

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