Fotieo cruises to first-place finish in Women’s Division at 2019 Lake Pleasant Triathlon
By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Redemption is always sweet.
A year after a narrow second-place finish in the same event, Grand Canyon University Triathlon standout Kirsten Fotieo got her revenge, taking first place in the Women’s Division of the 2019 Lake Pleasant Triathlon in Peoria Sunday.
Fotieo finished Lake Pleasant’s challenging 500-meter swim, 12.4-mile bike, 3.1-mile run layout in 1:22.59, almost six minutes ahead of the second-place female. Fotieo separated from the field with terrific swim (11:10) and bike (48:16) splits, both of which led the field by a large margin.
“The bike split is great to see because she (Fotieo) has suffered in the bike in the past,” said GCU Co-Coach Jake Windauer. “She is beginning to lower those times more and more and the results are obvious.”
If not for a flat tire in the bike portion of the race, Nick Windauer would have cruised to a first-place finish in the Men’s Division. Nick Windauer, who co-coaches the team alongside twin brother Jake, clocked a time of 10:18 in the open water swim, and had a six-minute advantage on the field heading into the bike before a popped tire ended his day.
“It was so cool to hear the crowd cheering and wondering who ‘that guy’ was swimming a good three minutes in front of the second-place man,” Jake Windauer said. “Seeing him come back in the support car was devastating, but we will use this anger to fuel the fire for our next race.”
The event served as the first collegiate races for freshmen Libby Ramsperger and Aly Bryson. Ramsperger took sixth place (1:32.27) despite recording just the 14th-best swim time. She made up significant ground with stellar run (22:25) and bike (52:15) splits to claim a top-10 overall finish. Bryson also cracked the top-10 in her debut with a 10th-place finishing time of 1:41.58.
“It’s great to have both of them on the team,” Jake Windauer said. “They both did really well – especially for their first time out. They should both be very proud of their performances.”
Anna Wittenberg also delivered a big performance for the GCU women, crossing the finish line in 1:28.57 to take third. Wittenberg turned in solid times across the board, but dominated the run with a split of 21:51, which was the top mark in the field.
With Nick Windauer unable to finish the race, the GCU men were paced by Zach Stetzel, who took fourth place (1:18.43) and missed out on the podium by just 26 seconds. Stetzel blazed through the run, averaging 5:45 per mile for the fastest time in that split.
Also just missing out on a podium finish was Lauren Roe in the Women’s Division. Despite battling leg injuries, Roe fought through the pain to capture a fourth-place finish (1:30.25) behind strong bike (49:59) and swim (13:59) splits.
Both Stetzel and Roe took first place in their age groups.
Also delivering top performances for the GCU men were Matthew Johnson (6th, 1:21.11), Lelo Suffern (16th, 1:42.06) and Carson St. John (17th, 1:42.49).
Other top performers for the GCU women included Hannah McCulley (5th, 1:31.27), Larissa Parker (9th, 139.44) and Abi Bigelow (18th, 1:56.37).
Taking first place in the duathlon for the Lopes were Daniel Sandoval (Men, 1:48:47) and Ashley Fuller (1:47.51).
“There were some great highs and some real lows this weekend, but that’s what racing is all about,” Jake Windauer said. “This was the second race of the year, and a first race for many of our athletes. Everybody did a great job.”
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