SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Past champions Tanelle Berard and Ben Kanute captured the junior elite national titles, and Tamara Gorman and Eli Hemming brought home the youth elite championships Saturday to highlight day one of USA Triathlon’s Junior Triathlon Festival at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot.After winning last year’s event in Colorado Springs, Colo., Berard (Clive, Iowa) repeated as female junior elite champion, while Kanute (Geneva, Ill.) claimed his second junior elite title in the last three years. The 16- to 19-year-old junior elites covered a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike and a 5-kilometer run.
Berard took the first race of the day in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 25 seconds. She paired with Jennifer Clay (South Elgin, Ill.) to pace the competitors out of the water, and the duo led for most of the bike before a group of five rode together for the final one-half lap entering T2.
From there, Berard pulled away on the first lap of the run. She closed with a 17:46 run split to earn the victory by 44 seconds over runner up Johanna Gartman (Chattanooga, Tenn.), who finished in 1:04:09. “On the run, I knew I had to give it my all so I made sure I was hydrated … and I just gave it all I had,” said Berard.
Abigail Levene (Dublin, Neb.) posted a blistering run split of 16:42 to grab third and round out the podium in 1:04:22.
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