By Jesse Vineyard/GCU Staff
When you send your best athletes, you expect the best performance.
Consider those expectations exceeded for Grand Canyon University Triathlon Club.
The Lopes had 12 competitors race at the Lake Pleasant Triathlon and Duathlon in Morristown, and all 12 finished in the Top 15 in their respective races. Junior Pre-Medicine major and Co-Head Coach Jacob Windauer earned the top podium finish with an overall time of one hour, five minutes and 14 seconds in the sprint distance. His brother, and fellow Co-Head Coach and junior pre-med major, Nick, finished in second, 29 seconds behind.
“It was very encouraging to see everyone finish the way they did,” Jacob Windauer said. “There was a lot of climbing in the race, so it was kind of daunting, but the first few athletes coming out of the water were GCU athletes, so it was really good to see.”
Of the 12 who raced, 11 competed in the sprint distance (500 meter swim, 12.8 mile bike ride, 3.1 mile run), including both Jacob and Nick. The other, Troy Clark, a sophomore Christian Studies major, was the first Lope of the season to compete in the Olympic distance race (1500 meter swim, 24.8 mile bike ride, 6.2 mile run) and came in sixth, finishing with a time of 2:31:04.
Clark also serves as a United States Marine, and now regularly runs Olympic distances for the team. His first Olympic distance race was back in March at the Havasu Triathlon, where he finished with a time of 2:54:53. He says these types of races are fairly common for members in the Marine Corps, so running a difficult course like at Lake Pleasant only helps in his continued preparation for the team’s season and serving as a Marine.
“We have to do yearly physical fitness tests (in the Marines), so it transitions over a lot,” Clark said. “The course itself was definitely as much mental as it was physical. There was a lot of elevation change so I had to stay in constant mental focus.”
The sprint distance required one lap of bike and run, while the Olympic distance called for an extra lap in each. Each lap, though, demanded a 2,000 foot combined climb around the trails of Lake Pleasant Regional Park. Part of that climb was directly out of the water where the racers were met with a long transition up the boat ramp before heading out on the biking course.
“It takes a really high threshold, aerobic capacity to go up those hills after swimming really hard,” Windauer said. “A lot of the workouts we did were we would swim long distances, then go straight to the bike to mimic that hard climbing feeling.”
Amongst the top finishers, sophomore Psychology major Kirsten Fotieo finished second overall in the women’s sprint with a time of 1:21:39. Junior pre-med major Hannah McCulley came in third, three minutes behind Fotieo.
“I got some coffee beforehand so I was ready to go,” said Fotieo. “It was a very hilly course, so it was challenging. Just being mentally strong was a big factor. I know I can make big improvements in the bike and run, so I’ll be looking to get in the gym to get stronger for the climbs in the future.”
The full collegiate triathlon season does not start until 2019, so this race was scheduled in part to help prepare the team for higher-competitive distance races in the spring. As part of the collegiate races, it is only the Olympic distances which will count toward any rankings points or nationals contention. But even with this race not being part of the official collegiate schedule, the feeling to have 12 finishers in the Top 15 in their respective races should bode well for what is to come.
“It was a great experience before we start training for bigger races next semester,” Windauer said. “A lot of collegiate triathlon teams are really big, so when you see a smaller team like ours competing well at other races, it makes you feel better about your chances.”
The next race on the schedule for the Lopes is the Anthem Holiday Classic on December 8 at Anthem Community Park in Anthem.
|Troy Clark||Male Olympic||6th||2:31:04|
|Jacob Windauer||Male Sprint||1st||1:05:14|
|Nick Windauer||Male Sprint||2nd||1:05:43|
|Derik DeFrance||Male Sprint||6th||1:12:30|
|Tim Vail||Male Sprint||9th||1:20:15|
|Jonathan Junker||Male Sprint||10th||1:21:33|
|Matthew Penkshaw||Male Sprint||12th||1:26:16|
|Isaac Sufferin||Male Sprint||14th||1:30:20|
|Kirsten Fotieo||Female Sprint||2nd||1:21:39|
|Hannah McCulley||Female Sprint||3rd||1:24:38|
|Alysia Kilcrease||Female Sprint||5th||1:31:14|
|Nova Scott||Female Sprint||13th||1:48:53|