Fifteen young triathletes ages 16-23, led by Pan American Games silver medalist Kevin McDowell, will represent the United States next week in the 2015 ITU Junior and Under-23 Triathlon World Championships in Chicago's Grant Park.
The Under-23 (U23) men are the first to race, with a scheduled start of 7 a.m. CT on Thursday, Sept. 17. The junior men will compete that same day at 4:30 p.m. CT. On Friday, Sept. 18, the U23 women will race at 11:30 a.m. CT, followed by the junior women at 2:30 p.m. CT. U23 athletes will cover a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course similar to the elite races, and the junior athletes will race on a 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run course. Both races follow a draft-legal format.
These world championship events are just a few of the 12 races that will be held throughout the week as part of the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final Chicago from Sept. 15-19. More than 1,200 Americans will compete over the course of the week, with races also set to feature elites, age-groupers and paratriathletes in aquathlon, sprint and Olympic-distance triathlon world championships. Visit usatriathlon.org for full coverage of each race.
A native of the Chicago area, McDowell (Geneva, Ill.) heads into U23 Worlds after winning the silver medal at the 2015 Pan American Games, held in July in Toronto. McDowell also earned a bronze medal at an ITU World Cup in Chengdu, China, in May. He is joined by another local athlete, Lukas Verzbicas (Orland Park, Ill.), who is making his first world championships appearance since he won gold at Junior Worlds in 2011. Eli Hemming (Kiowa, Colo.) is on the start list with three podium finishes at ITU Continental Cup events this season, including a win in Magog, Quebec. Hunter Lussi (Kensington, Md.), Matthew McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) and Rudy von Berg (Boulder, Colo.) are also on the start list.
Avery Evenson (Hartland, Mich.) and Johanna Gartman (Chattanooga, Tenn.) will represent the U.S. in the U23 women's race. Evenson was the top U.S. junior in last year's Junior Worlds, finishing fifth. This year she has two top-five finishes in ITU Continental Cups. Gartman looks to better her 10th place finish at last year's U23 Worlds after finishing third among U23 women at the 2015 Monterrey CAMTRI American Championships in May.
In the junior men's field, Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.) is a contender from the U.S. with wins at the Sarasota CAMTRI Junior North American Championships and the Monterrey CAMTRI Junior American Championships this season. He finished fourth last weekend at an ITU Junior American Cup in Edmonton. Darr Smith (Atlanta, Ga.) was eighth at the Edmonton event on Sept. 5, and he won the Junior American Cup in Monroe, Washington, on June 20. He also was the runner-up at the 2015 USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championships. Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.) won the bronze at Junior Elite Nationals, just seven seconds behind Smith, and he finished 10th at the Junior American Cup in Monroe.
The U.S. junior women's field also showcases a wealth of talent, with 2013 ITU Junior World Champion Tamara Gorman (Rapid City, S.D.) on the start list with 2015 Junior Elite National Champion Taylor Knibb (Washington, D.C.). Gorman, a two-time national champion, picked up a win at the Monroe Junior American Cup in June. Knibb successfully defended her USA Triathlon Sprint National Championships title one week after winning the junior elite crown. Also vying for a podium finish will be Page Lester (Washington, D.C.), who finished third at Junior Elite Nationals last month behind Knibb and Gorman, and Kyleigh Spearing (Frankfort, Ill.), who finished third at the Edmonton Junior American Cup last weekend.
View complete start lists for each event at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final and World Championships at chicago.triathlon.org.
A free finish line camera of the races will be available on triathlon.org
About USA Triathlon: USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches and race directors on the grassroots level, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).