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Charlee Simanskey, 14, of Midland brought home the top MI female podium finish from USA Triathlon’s Youth and Junior National Championships July 30-31 in West Chester, Ohio.TriathlonICON

Simanskey finished the 375-meter swim, non-drafting 10K bike and 2.5K run in 35:06, just 14 seconds off the winning pace to take 3rd in the Female Youth Age 14 Division.

Clara James-Heer, 10, of Coopersville finished 5th overall in the Female Youth 7-10 race and missed the Female Youth Age 10 podium by less than 4 seconds. James-Heer finished the 100-meter swim, non-drafting 5K bike and 1K run in 20:07.33.

Alexandra Schwein, 19, from Ellsworth powered through field on the 20K draft-legal bike leg to finish 17th in the tough Female Junior Elite field in 1:08:57. The elite race started with a 750-meter swim and finished with a 5K run.

Muskegon’s Laurie Walsworth took an age group 2nd in the Door County Sprint Triathlon on a gorgeous Saturday in Egg Harbor, Wisc., while Laurie Smith of Atlantic Mine had to contend with a downpour and 25 mph winds to take a runner-up spot in Sunday’s Half Iron race.TriathlonICON


Laurie Walsworth

Walsworth was the first of 16 women 60-64 out of the 70-degree waters of Green Bay in the ¼-mile swim on Saturday and cranked out a 21 mph average on the bike to her add to her lead on the 18-mile long ride.

Walsworth was caught late in the 3.1-mile run, but finished under a minute behind the winner in 1:35:07. This is the second time Walsworth has taken home one of the big honkin’ medals handed out to the podium placers in the field of 816 finishers at the Door County Sprint.

Smith and 699 other racers had to sit out a 90-minute downpour Sunday morning before thrashing throw a swim shortened from 1.2-miles to 1/3-mile due to severe weather.

Smith was the second of 24 women 50-54 out of the water by only 2 seconds and took the lead early during the windswept 56.3-mile bike. The division winner caught Smith coming into T2, but Smith churned out a 1:53 half marathon to put a hammerlock on second, finishing in 4:57:41.


Carol “Smitty” Faure (center in Idaho State Bengals Triathon swim cap) chats with Laurie Walsworth (back to camera) in the holding area before the start of Sunday’s USAT Athena Sprint National Championship at the Grand Rapids Triathlon in Ada, Mich.


It was double or nothing in Ada Sunday at USA Triathlon’s Athena National Sprint Championships at the Grand Rapids Triathlon.


More than 150 men and women competed for USAT Clydesdale and Athena National Championships in the spring, Olympic and half ironman races at the Grand Rapids Triathlon in Ada, Mich., on Sunday.

Dr. Laura Crower, 32, of Midland and Laurie Walsworth, 59, of Muskegon won their second straight national championship jerseys, while Carol “Smitty” Faure, 48, of Pocatello, Idaho added a second to the one she won in Milwaukee in 2013.

“It wasn’t my best race, but it was O.K,” Crower said. “I love this course.”

“The course was absolutely phenomenal,” Faure agreed. “I can’t say enough about the people of Grand Rapids and Michigan. The Midwest hospitality was true to form. This race is one of the better organized and best supported by the community I’ve ever been a part of.”


The women’s sprint wave, including 39 women vying for three USAT Athena National Sprint Championships gets underway just before 8 a.m. on Sunday in the Thornapple River in Ada, Mich.

For complete results from the USAT Athena and Clydesdale National Championships click here or read USAT’s coverage of the event.

Under sunny skies and cool temperatures, Crower stripped nearly 3 minutes off the time she posted on the same course last year in a deluge, finishing in 1:12:59. She was 10th overall among the 244 women in the sprint, fastest of all 39 women in the national championship sprint and fastest (by a minute and a half) of the 29 sprint women 30-34.

Faure was hot on Crower’s heels coming out of the 600-meter swim in the Thornapple River and led the 40-54 Athena field by over 4 minutes. She added another 8 minutes to her margin after the flat 20k bike and 5K run with the three best 40-54 splits of the day. Her 1:20:12 finish put her second overall behind Crower.

Walsworth sped through the field with a Top 3 bike split to finish in the top 5 overall in 1:27:40.

Crower, a physical therapist, grew up in Midland and attended Ferris State University, where she is still fifth on the Bulldog softball team’s all-time list in career homers with 12, 8th in doubles with 31 and tied for 9th with 83 RBI.

Crower’s next big race is the Life Time Tri Minneapolis, on July 9. “I thought I was going to a Twins game, too, but they’re not home that weekend,” Crower said.


Dr. Laura Crower

Crower went on a tear after winning last year’s national championship, taking the 30-34 sprint title at the Boyne City (Mich.) Triathlon in August and followed that with top age group finishes in the Traverse City Triathlon Olympic (2nd) and Challenge Cedar Point Half Ironman (5th) in September. Crower qualified for the 2014 USAT Olympic Distance Age Group Nationals in Milwaukee, Wisc.

After winning the Athena overall in 2013 in Milwaukee, Faure was runner up to six-time Athena champion Leslie Battle of Warwick, R.I. in the national championship sprint race at the DeGray Lake Sprint Triathlon in 2014. Faure was 8th among U.S. women 40-44 at the 2012 ITU Age Group World Championships in Auckland, New Zealand.

Faure is back on top this season. “I had some health problems several years ago and I knew I needed to do something. I did a local triathlon in Idaho and, like 98 percent of triathletes, I got hooked. You do one and you’re going to do 100.”


Carol “Smitty” Faure

Next up for Faure are the 2016 U.S. Masters Swimming Summer National Championships in Gresham, Ore., Aug. 17-21.

An Associate Professor of Sports Science and Physical Education at Idaho State University, Faure was lead author of, “Feeling Elite: The Collective Effervescence of TEAM USA at the 2012 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final,” published in 2014 in the The Qualitative Report, the oldest multidisciplinary qualitative research journal in the world.

It was the “collective effervescence” of the sport that first attracted Walsworth to triathlon 25 years ago. “The people in triathlon attracted me,” she said. “Cycling wasn’t too fair to women and it was little too cliquey.”

A two-time USA Cycling time trial national medalist, Walsworth has qualified for the ITU World Sprint Championships three times as an age grouper (twice after undergoing heart surgery).

Walsworth said a good heart rate monitor and an even better doctor have allowed her to continue racing. “My goal is to race without my heart rate going ballistic,” she says. “My doctor (cardiologist Darryl Elmouchi, MD, FHRS) says as long as I don’t go longer than a sprint, he’s O.K. with it.”

Walsworth has a Masters in Exercise Physiology from Western Michigan University and works for Mercy Health Physical Therapy.

Next for Walsworth is the Door County Triathlon Sprint near Green Bay, Wisc., the USAT Sprint Nationals in Omaha, Neb. and the ITU Sprint Age Group Worlds in Cozumel, Mexico.


Two-time USAT Athena National Sprint Champions Carol “Smitty” Faure and Laurie Walsworth sport their latest Stars & Stripes jerseys after winning in Ada, Mich., on Sunday.

Ludington Triathlon sprint races head out into the fog and chilly waters of Lake Michigan Sunday morning. MIsportOnline photo.

Ludington Triathlon sprint racers head out into the fog and chilly waters of Lake Michigan Sunday morning. MIsportOnline photo.

LUDINGTON – Kathy Calabretta, women’s runner-up in the sprint race Sunday TriathlonICONat the inaugural Tri to Finish Ludington Triathlon, hopes to do well at USA Triathlon’s age group nationals later this summer in Milwaukee.

In just which age group, however, isn’t clear.

Lauren Biggs, women's sprint winner at the Ludington Triathlon on Sunday, heads out of the bike after the fourth best swim of the day.

Lauren Biggs, women’s sprint winner at the Ludington Triathlon on Sunday, heads out on the bike after the fourth best swim of the day.

The 65-year-old from Ludington held off hard-charging 25-year-old Katherine McCarthy of Grand Rapids, by 12 seconds, and lost only to middle school phenom Lauren Biggs of Ludington.

Calabretta used the fourth-fastest women’s bike split of the day and a lighting fast 26-second streak through T2 to finish in 1:22:20. Calabretta needed every second to hold off McCarthy, who tore through the rat-maze run course in 19:35 to finish hard on her heels in 1:22:32.

Truth be told there were no women and very few men in 65-deep sprint race who were going to come anywhere close to finishing near Biggs. The 14-year-old women’s sprint winner finished the .75-kilometer (.46-mile) swim, 21-kilometer bike (13 miles) and 5K run (3.1 miles) sixth overall in 1:11:48.

Biggs had the fastest women’s swim (12:14) and bike splits (37:58) and second-fastest run (20:22). Her day was even more impressive when measured against the entire field: She was fourth out of frigid, fog-shrouded Lake Michigan and had the eighth best bike (20.6 mph) overall.

Overall winner Eric Abbott, 24, of Grand Rapids, scorched the bike in 31:20 (a 25 mph average) to win the men’s sprint title in 1:02:17.

Swim leader Aaron Denner, 25, of Grand Rapids, was second in 1:04:56 and 24-year-old Todd Buckingham of Big Rapids was third in 1:05:41.

For complete Tri to Finish Ludington Triathlon results, visit:

Milwaukee’s  finest

A USA Triathlon honorable mention All-American last year,

Kathy Calabretta

Kathy Calabretta

Calabretta has high hopes for her first trip to age group nationals Aug. 10-11, in Milwaukee.

“Brisk,” said Calabretta, about the swim, her accent a dead giveaway of her New Jersey origins. “Once you’re in there you’re not worried about the cold, you’re worried about where you’re going. Once your feet get numb, it doesn’t much matter.”

A runner before taking up triathlon seven years ago, Calabretta praised the run course. “It’s flat,” she said. “It’s pretty, it’s scenic and we watched the Badger go out. I didn’t stop to wave, but maybe next time.”

Biggs things ahead

The only reason Biggs won’t clean up in Milwaukee in August is that it’d

Lauren Biggs

Lauren Biggs

interfere with her performance at USA Track & Field’s youth nationals. That at the fact she’ll be getting ready for her freshman year of high school.

Biggs took the lead in the swim and never came close to giving it up. “The swim was the hardest part. It was definitely really cold,” Biggs said. “It was a little scary.”

Barely into her second year of triathlon competition, Biggs was second woman and 11th overall in the nearly 400-strong field at the Grand Rapids Sprint Triathlon on June 9.

“My dad did them when he was young and since I’m a swimmer and a runner, it just came naturally,” Biggs said.

Blow you away

Overall winner Abbott knew heading out toward Ludington State Park on the

Eric Abbott

Eric Abbott

bike course there’d be trouble when he turned around.

“It was really, really windy,” said Abbot, still out or breath after going back out on the run course to pace home a friend. “I knew that going out. I can’t normally go that fast – 31-32 mph – and that was going up some hills. There’s no way I’m that fast. I knew I was going to get hammered when I turned around.”

He ground down the big gears to average about 22 mph into a close to 20 mph headwind coming back and left T2 with an 4-minute cushion.

“My coach and I are dialing it in for Milwaukee,” Abbott said. “I’m hoping for some good results there.”

Twice the fun

Olympic distance athletes got to spend twice as much time doing a 1.5-kilometer (.9-mile) swim in the 57-degree chop inside Ludington’s breakwaters. Olympic distance triathletes biked 36 kilometers (22.4 miles) and ran a 10K (6.2 miles).

Dave Furey, 55, of Ann Arbor, out-ran 39-year-old Jason Demeter of Elkhart, Ind., for the Olympic title by 27 seconds, finishing in 2:00:08. Women’s Olympic distance winner Angie O’Brien, 42, of Grandville had a cushy 6-minute plus margin coming out of T2, to win in 2:11:59.

Another home-towner, Tomas Lopez, of Ludington, won the duathlon (5K run, 21K bike, 5K run) in 1:20:52. Utica’s Megan Fecteau was the women’s duathlon winner in 1:25:03.



The third wave in Sunday's Muskegon Family Y Indoor Triathlon starts their 15-minute swim leg.

The third wave in Sunday’s Muskegon Family Y Indoor Triathlon starts their 15-minute swim leg.

The men’s and women’s overall winners had different aims Sunday at the Muskegon Family Y indoor triathlon.

Men’s overall winner Joel Anderson used the second race in the West Michigan Indoor Triathlon series as a first step toward Ironman Wisconsin in September.

For women’s overall winner Megan Aney, Sunday’s race was an end in itself.

Eric Moe, winner of the men's 50-55 division, cranks out major wattage on the bike leg.

Eric Moe, winner of the men’s 50-55 division, cranks out major wattage on the bike leg.

Megan Aney

Megan Aney

“I love this format,” said Aney, 30, of Muskegon. “I’m not an outdoor biker so I love this.” So far strictly an indoor triathlete, Aney admitted race director Don Correll has been trying to coax her to try an outdoor event. “Don has been trying to get me on a real bike,” she confessed.

A Sault Ste. Marie native and a collegiate swimmer at Alma, Aney had the day’s best swim, man or woman, of 21 laps. Aney finished with 270.45 points. Her 7.17 miles on the bike and 34 ¼ laps of the track were each 8th best among the 25 women in the field.

Kacey Tulley, women’s 35-39 winner, had the day’s best run of 41 laps and women’s 35-39 runner up Becky Biesiada’s 8.25 miles was the best bike split.

Anderson and Aney were both overall champs in the series opener in December at Norton Athletic Club.

“These races are a nice, mid-winter way to see where you’re at,” said Anderson, who later this year will be looking to improve a respectable 12:38:45 finish at the 2011 Ironman Wisconsin.

Joel Anderson

Joel Anderson

Sunday’s race proved a test of Anderson mental toughness. “I’ve been sick all week. Today was just a matter of showing up. To be honest I didn’t have many expectations.”

Women's master winner Dena Thayer glides through the curve on one of her 35 laps of the Muskegon Family Y indoor track.

Women’s master’s winner Dena Thayer glides through the curve on one of her 35 laps of the Muskegon Family Y indoor track.

Anderson’s 296.17 was just 3.83 points shy of a perfect score of 300. The 36-year-old from Spring Lake had the best men’s swim of 20 laps and best overall run of 47 laps. Anderson’s 9.53 miles on the bike was second behind men’s 25-29 winner Mike Danhof’s top ride of 9.91.There were a total of 13 in the men’s field.

For 15 minutes each, participants swam in the Muskegon Y pool, pedaled
Trek Madones on indoor trainers and ran on the Y track. Correll’s unique scoring system awarded points as a percentage of the day’s top men’s and women’s performances in each event.

For example, Anderson’s 20 laps of the Y pool in 15 minutes earned him 100 points. A man who completed 10 laps, or 50 percent of Anderson’s total, would’ve scored 50 points.

Winners had the highest aggregate score (not necessarily most yardage) for all three events.

Women’s junior champion Allison Mahn scored 249.10, women’s master’s winner Dena Thayer had 237.61 and women’s grand master’s champ Laurie Walsworth 233.85.

Men’s master’s winner John Mayer finished with 188.09 points and grand master’s champ Bill Anderson had 208.49.

Click links below for complete results:

Men’s results

Women’s results

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