By: Mack Drake/GCU Staff
Matthew Johnson’s time of 40 minutes, 54 seconds paced the Grand Canyon University Triathlon men at the 2019 Saguaro Sprint Triathlon in Tempe on November 23.
Johnson, in just his third event with the team, clocked splits of 7:46 (swim), 13:41 (bike) and 14:57 (run) to finish 14th in the men’s division. Johnson’s performance ranked among the best for the a smaller-than-normal group of Lopes participating in the pre-Thanksgiving competition.
Johnson’s bike and swim splits were among the best in the 125-man field, but the freshman lost time in the running portion of the race.
“The run is the discipline that prevented him (Johnson) from a top-5 placing,” GCU Co-Head Coach Nick Windauer said. “He is definitely seeing improvement in his run times, and I know as we stretch to longer distance, his pace will drop significantly in a sprint distance race. His swim and bike splits were very impressive and among the best in the field.”
Hannah McCulley led the GCU women with a sixth-place finish after crossing the line in 43:23. McCulley turned in splits of 9:41 (swim), 16:09 (bike) and 13:20 (run).
A tribute to her work ethic, Windauer said McCulley hit her goal times in all three disciplines of the race, and turned in one of her best overall performances.
“Hannah was amazing in this race,” Windauer said. “Her bike split has been a point of struggle recently, but her time ranked in the top three of the day. This was her fastest average in a race to date and fastest on the team at this race. She was impressive.”
Jessie Graves battled a meniscus injury to finish the Saguaro Sprint with splits of 9:35 (swim), 20:16 (bike) and 10:17 per mile (run). The knee injury severely affected Graves’ bike and run splits, but Windauer said the will to finish the race was inspiring.
“The fact that she even raced at all was a big accomplishment,” Windauer said. “The ride was not easy on her knee, but she powered through it. Her bike is usually one of her strongest areas, so it was apparent that the injury was affecting her.”
Also competing, and finishing, the Saguaro Sprint for the Lopes were Daniel Sandoval, Nova Scott and Isaac Suffern.
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