Charles Paquet and Desirae Ridenour win Canadian Junior Triathlon crowns
By Chris Dornan
OTTAWA— Russell Pennock and Joanna Brown were crowned King and Queen at the Canadian Triathlon Championships, which were being held in conjunction with the CAMTRI Triathlon American Cup races in Ottawa on Saturday.
Calgary’s Pennock, who turns 21 on , handily won the men’s National Championship title and the CAMTRI Triathlon American Cup elite race with a golden time of .
The 22-year-old Brown, of Carp, Ont., clocked the top Canadian women’s time at in a duathlon race format, while finishing second overall in the field.
It was the first elite national title for Pennock. Now competing in his second season as a senior, Pennock also won the 2014 Canadian Junior Triathlon Championships to cap off a breakthrough season.
“It is a great feeling to have won both as a junior and now as a senior. I am very proud to be called a Canadian Champion especially with all the great names that have come through our program,” said Pennock, who finished sixth at the Under-23 World Championships last year, and tied Canada’s best ever Junior Men’s World Championship result in 2014 when he was fifth.
Pennock bounced back after a challenging 1.5-kilometre swim in Dow’s Lake on Saturday by working hard in the first two laps on the bike to eventually catch the leaders. With American Hunter Lussi flying off the front, a large pack completed the 40-kilometre course together on Ottawa’s roadways.
“I had a bit of time between myself and Matthew (Sharpe) and Josh (Izewski of the United States). Once I caught them we worked well together to pass Hunter,” said Pennock. “I surged with about one kilometre to go, and kept the pedal down to the finish.
“I have that running background so I have a lot of confidence in my run and don’t have lots to worry about. It is nice to have that confidence. I’m really happy with how things went today. It was a great course, very spectator friendly, and I had a lot of energy racing here in front of a Canadian crowd.”
Izewski finished 14 seconds behind Pennock to win the silver medal with a time of 1:45:10.1. Victoria’s Matthew Sharpe was the second best Canadian, third overall, after clocking-in at 1:45:41.7.
Hamilton’s Taylor Forbes stepped onto the bronze-medal step of the men’s Canadian Triathlon Championship podium after crossing the finish line fifth overall at 1:46:28.7.
Earlier in the day, Joanna Brown also locked up her first elite national title after finishing second in the women’s CAMTRI Triathlon American Cup race, which was changed to a duathlon format just prior to the start.
Brown, known for her aggressive biking and strong running, posted the second fastest opening 2.75-kilometre run time with fellow Canadians – Dominika Jamnicky and Severine Bouchez – storming into transition just five seconds behind American Abigail Levene. The Canucks then worked together to take control on the 40-kilometre bike course.
“I wanted to go easy on the first run as it was quite hot and I knew that the second 10 kilometres would be a long grind. The four of us ended up being a pack, and we worked fairly well together for the four laps on the bike before Dominika and I decided to attack and get a bit of a gap on Abigail as we knew she was quite a strong runner,” said the 22-year-old Brown, who has only completed one other Olympic distance race this year.
The three Canadian girls rode together for the next two laps before setting up a battle on the run for the top step of the podium.
After eight laps on the bike course in Canada’s picturesque Capital City, Brown was too conservative out of second transition with Levene hammering the pace to close the gap. Levene took over the lead midway through the four laps on the final run course, and never looked back.
“I was a bit too cautious with the heat and my conservative strategy didn’t quite work today,” added Brown, who represented Canada at the 2015 Pan American Games. “But I still managed to stay strong for the back half of the run and just tried to keep a steady rhythm. I had so many people out cheering for me today – my family, friends, and training partners – encouraging me every lap. I soaked up all the energy and support, and was able to hold off Dominika!”
Levene ran to the top of the podium with a time of 1:45:31.3, while Brown crossed the finish line as the top Canadian, second overall, at 1:46:08.1, giving her the Canadian Duathlon Championship title. It was Brown’s fourth national title. She also has one Canadian Junior Triathlon Championship and two under-23 titles to her credit.
Given a last-minute change to the women’s format, Triathlon Canada will select another race later this summer to stage the Canadian Triathlon Championships.
Brown’s friend and training partner, Dominika Jamnicky of Guelph, Ont., rounded out the women’s elite podium in third place with a time of 1:47:28.2 in the 16-woman field.
Quebec’s Severine Bouchez was the third-best Canadian, finishing fourth overall with a time of 1:49:57.5.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Next Generation of Olympic stars rounded out the day with the Junior Canadian Championships, which consisted of a 750-metre swim, 20-kilometre bike and five-kilometre run course.
Quebec City’s Charles Paquet made it clear he is the top junior male in Canada after winning the men’s race with a time of 53:51.
Oliver Blecher, of Port Hope, Ont., who has also been rock solid in 2016 with a handful of international medals, was second at 54:01.5, while Michael Milic, of Delta, B.C., locked up the bronze medal with a time of 54:14.3.
British Columbia athletes continued to celebrate grabbing the top-two spots on the podium in the junior women’s race. Desirae Ridenour, of Cowichan Bay, ran into the winner’s circle with a time of 59:55.8, while Hannah Henry, of Saanich, was second at 1:00:59.0. Calgary’s Laurin Thorne snagged the bronze medal with a time of 1:01:30.4.
Top-Five Elite Men’s Results:
1. Russell Pennock, Calgary, CAN, 1:44:56.0; 2. Josh Izewski, USA, 1:45:10.1; 3. Matthew Sharpe, Victoria, CAN, 1:45:41.7; 4. Jason Wilson, BAR, 1:46:04.5; 5. Taylor Forbes, Hamilton, Ont., CAN, 1:46:28.7.
Top-Five Elite Women’s Results:
1. Abigail Levene, USA, 1:45:31.3; 2. Joanna Brown, Carp, Ont., CAN, 1:46:08.1; 3. Dominikda Jamnicky, Guelph, Ont., CAN, 1:47:28.2; 4. Severine Bouchez, Quebec, CAN, 1:49:57.5; 5. Sarah Alexander, USA, 1:50:18.4.