Sean Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.) and Jordan Pruszenski (Anchorage, Alaska) earned overall national titles on Saturday at the USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships, leading 67 athletes in pursuit of national titles and Team USA spots in St. Paul.
The race, held as part of the King Boreas Winter Triathlon and Saint Paul Winter Carnival, featured a 5-kilometer run, 17-kilometer mountain bike and 7.5-kilometer cross-country ski. Temperatures gradually rose throughout the morning, resulting in a challenging course and changing snow conditions throughout the race.
Cooley, 32, was the first male across the line in 1 hour, 24 minutes, 29 seconds, successfully defending his overall title from 2017. He finished nearly three minutes ahead of his closest competitor, 30-year-old Jacob Keehan (Maple Grove, Minn., 1:27:09). Rounding out the overall men’s podium was 39-year-old Eric Holmlund (Loveland, Colo.), who turned in a time of 1:31:59.
“It was awesome, it was a lot of fun. My strategy paid off,” Cooley said. “There are always some really fast runners out there, and I’m not quite at their level on the run. So for me I just go hard on the run, keep them within distance, and then reassess on the bike, which is my strength. Reel them in as much as I can, put a gap in and then just work on that gap and keep increasing it with each lap. And then on the ski, it was basically just use that lead, don’t make any mistakes and ski hard.”
The overall women’s champion, 24-year-old Pruszenski, covered the course in 1:45:20. Pruszenski edged 58-year-old defending champion Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), who claimed second place in 1:46:41, while 51-year-old Karen Bebchuk (St. Louis Park, Minn.) took third in 1:56:56.
“I definitely noticed the temperature change on the bike because it went from super icy to mushy.” Pruszenski said. “I don’t have studded tires, so I really appreciated more of the mushy stuff there at the end. This is my first time at a winter triathlon, so I didn’t really know what to expect. Everybody was going so fast, but everybody was also so nice on the trail, so it was a really great time.”
Top finishers in each age group earned the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2019 ITU Winter Triathlon World Championships. The 2018 World Championship will be held tomorrow in Cheile Gradistei, Romania; the host city for 2019 has not yet been named. To learn more about qualifying for USA Triathlon’s amateur Team USA, visit usatriathlon.org/teamusa.
Saturday’s race marked the first stop on USA Triathlon’s 2018 National Championships calendar. Next up will be the Duathlon National Championships, set for April 7-8 in Greenville, South Carolina.
2017 USA Triathlon Winter Triathlon National Championships
Men’s Overall Results
1 81 Sean Cooley 33 1:24:29
2 35 Jacob Keehan 30 Maple Grove MN 1:27:09
3 31 Eric Holmlund 39 Loveland CO 1:31:59
4 67 Dan Westerhaus 33 Minneapolis MN 1:32:13
5 30 Nate Hoffman 35 South Haven MN 1:33:22
Women’s Overall Results
1 55 Jordan Pruszenski 25 Anchorage AK 1:45:20
2 1 Jan Guenther 59 Long Lake MN 1:46:41
3 5 Karen Bebchuk 52 St Louis Park MN 1:56:56
4 49 Shelley Nelson 39 Minneapolis MN 1:57:11
5 70 Nancy Whillock 50 Aberdeen SD 1:59:35
— Complete Results
Male Overall: Sean Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:24:29
Female Overall: Jordan Pruszenski (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:45:20
M17-19: Tryg Solberg (White Bear Lake, Minn.), 1:34:23
F17-19: Arianna Werts (Rochester, Minn.), 2:10:02
M20-24: Justin Jones (White Bear Lake, Minn.), 1:44:21
F20-24: Kaitlyn Lindaman (St. Paul, Minn.), 2:08:16
M25-29: Sean Burke (Loveland, Colo.), 2:02:21
F25-29: Jordan Pruszenski (Anchorage, Alaska), 1:45:20
M30-34: Sean Cooley (St. Paul, Minn.), 1:24:29
M35-39: Eric Holmlund (Loveland, Colo.), 1:31:59
F35-39: Shelley Nelson (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1:57:11
M40-44: Jason Toth (Eagan, Minn.), 1:36:05
F40-44: Beth Amos (Maplewood, Minn.), 2:45:42
M45-49: Grant Braasch (St. Louis Park, Minn.), 1:41:57
F45-49: Amy Dettmer (Grand Rapids, Minn.), 2:08:40
M50-54: Paul Burns (Fort Collins, Colo.), 1:51:56
F50-54: Karen Bebchuk (St. Louis Park, Minn.), 1:56:56
M55-59: Jon Hailey (New Richmond, Wis.), 2:05:35
F55-59: Jan Guenther (Long Lake, Minn.), 1:46:41
M60-64: Peter Thelen (Minneapolis, Minn.), 1:42:36
F60-64: Helen Gunther (Excelsior, Minn.), 2:13:01
M65-69: Mike Lyner (Stillwater, Minn.), 1:54:26
M70-74: Daniel Kirk (Blaine, Minn.), 2:39:07
F70-74: Nany Bauer (Champlin, Minn.), 2:41:22
PC Open: Adam Warden (Maple Plain, Minn.), 2:46:00