By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Lauren Roe clocked a time of 1 hour, 10 minutes and 47 seconds to take first place in the U19 Women’s Division of the Forever Mesa Sprint Triathlon, leading the Grand Canyon University Triathlon team to a successful finish in the club’s first event of the 2019-20 season Saturday.
Roe, a 2019 graduate of Vacaville High School in Northern California, finished with splits of 7:18 (swim), 36:31 (bike) and 25:31 (run) to cover the 15.4-mile course in a little over an hour. The freshman’s first collegiate event time was good for 56th overall out of 588 competitors, andsixth out of 259 females.
“Her bike time was where I was really impressed at 19.75 miles an hour,” said Lopes’ Co-Head Coach Jake Windauer. “That’s a really great starting bike, and it’s the most important leg of non-draft racing.”
GCU had a total of nine athletes compete in the Mesa Sprint, which featured cool morning temperatures and no significant wind to navigate. About 20 athletes are expected to toe the line for the Lopes at the Tri-Family Racing Lake Pleasant Olympic & Sprint Triathlon in November.
Along with Roe, top performers for the Lopes included Zack Stretzel and Daniel Sandoval. Just a freshman, Stretzel clocked a 1:05:33 to take 22nd overall (fourth in the 19-25 men’s age group) and was just five minutes off the pace of GCU’s top finisher. Stretzel’s bread and butter was the run, averaging an impressive 6:15 per mile.
“I’m very proud of Zack and he has a ton of potential,” Windauer said. “There are two types of triathletes: those who are great swimmers, and get hunted the entire race by faster cyclists and runners; and those who are the better cyclists and runners. These are the hunters. He fits into the latter category.”
Sandoval didn’t let an early-race bike wreck hold him back, finishing with a time of 1:35:06. He made up time with a strong run split, averaging about seven minutes per mile.
“He is by far the toughest athlete I have seen race on this team,” Windauer said. “He should be proud of these results, and with some good training sets in the next four weeks, he can really cut his times to pieces.”
The fastest Lope of the weekend was Lopes’ Co-Head Coach Nick Windauer, who took third overall with an impressive sub-hour time of 59:46. The senior clocked one of the fastest swim splits of the day at 1:29 per 100 meters. Just behind Windauer was Derik DeFrance with a time of 1:00:39 to claim sixth overall and first in the 19-25 men’s age group division.
On the women’s side, Hannah McCulley joined Roe in the winner’s circle, taking first place in the 19-25 women’s age group with a time of 1:10:52.
Rounding out GCU’s lineup were Abby Bigelow (1:27:17), Larissa Parker (1:20:11) and Matthew Johnson (1:11:08).
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