Breakthrough performances by West Virginia's Vinnie Monseau and Mississippi's Margot Hair delivered this twosome to the finish line at the Best of the US National Championship ahead of the most competitive head-to-head amateur fields assembled for an American triathlon in 2008.
The event,which started and finished at Tempe Beach Park in Tempe, Arizona, a beautiful and dynamic suburb of Phoenix, consisted of an 800m swim, 32 mile bike and 6.55 mile run, and was wonderfully produced by Red Rock Company. Skies were clear, wind was negligible and temperatures were mild, all of which portended fast times.
Monseau, known for his leg-speed, broke away from the lead group at mile one of the run and never looked back. Had he done so, he would have noticed the ever-shrinking images of pursuers Christopher Thomas (CT), uber-master Brian Bich (MN), Rick Fesler (PA), Roger Thompson (WA) and defending BOUS champ Philippe Kozub (MD). Monseau was absolutely exuberant when he crossed the line 1:23 ahead of Thomas. Bich triumphantly rounded out the podium, becoming the first master in the four-year history of the race to crack the overall top 3.
Three weeks earlier Margot Hair and Illinios' Elizabeth Ott experienced frustrating mechanical problems at the Dallas US Open Triathlon. Ott was forced to DNF. Hair lost a dozen minutes while her bike was being repaired. The only thing that could knock the chips off these girls' shoulders were huge performances at BOUS.
|2008 Top 10 Men:||2008 Top 10 Women:|
1. Vinnie Monseau (WV)- 2:03:23
1. Margot Hair (MS) - 2:19:53
Team New Jersey (Dave Slavinski/Suzanne Huelster) was victorious in the Fastest State Team competition, edging Team Illinois (Elizabeth Ott/Colin Riley)by 26 seconds.
2008 Top 5 State Teams:
1. New Jersey (David Slavinksi / Suzanne Huelster)
2. Illinois (Colin Riley / Elizabeth Ott)+:26
3. Pennsylvania (Rick Fesler / Beth Schutt)
4. Wisconsin (Mark Harms / Cindi Bannink)
5. Tennessee (Bruce Gennari / Kirsetn Sass)
With the rest of the field in arrears, Hair and Ott turned the final corner virtually side-by-side and their shoulders chip-free. In the end it was Hair who possessed springier legs, ones which carried her to a thrilling 2 second victory. Both women were elated; both were vindicated. And the crowds at the finish line thunderously delivered well-earned congratulations.
New Jersey's fleet-footed Suzanne Huelster, who appears destined to be crowned 2008 US Duathlete of the Year, took the final podium spot ahead of reigning 20-24 National Champion Chris Tommerdahl of North Carolina, a 22-year-old with a blindingly bright future.
Photo gallery by Ron French: http://flickr.com/photos/azrlf/
Competer Individual Results: http://www.ceptiming.com/2008/misc165/08Soma-Quarter-BestAll.txt
For more information on the Best of the U.S. Amateur Triathlete Competition, visit www.bestoftheustriathletes.com