Kirsten Sass, Morgan Pearson Claim Overall Sprint-Distance Titles at Age Group Nationals


By USA Triathlon |
Aug. 13, 2017,
1:59 p.m. (ET)

OMAHA, Neb. — Morgan Pearson (Boulder, Colo.) collected a national title in his first-ever triathlon, while Kirsten Sass (McKenzie, Tenn.) earned her second victory in as many days on Sunday at the USA Triathlon Age Group Sprint National Championships. 

Sunday’s race, held at Levi Carter Park in Omaha, featured a 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. Athletes started the race in a light rain shower this morning, but the overcast conditions provided some cooler temperatures for the more than 1,200 competitors. 

For women’s overall champion Sass (McKenzie, Tenn., F35-39), the sprint-distance win was the cherry on top of a weekend that also included her first-ever Olympic-distance overall national title. 

“I wasn’t really sure how close I was to the overall, but my dad was out there saying, ‘Every second counts!’” said Sass, who was also last year’s overall sprint-distance champion. “I wasn’t expecting the rain, so that’s where the mental aspect comes in, just finding your own zone, enjoying the day and seeing all the amazing athletes that are out there.” 

Second place overall went to Kearci Smith (Plano, Texas, F25-29). Smith was the first woman across the finish line this morning, as she started in an earlier wave than Sass. For nearly an hour, she waited to see if Sass would come through the finish with a faster time. Ultimately, Sass edged her younger competitor by 34 seconds, finishing in 1 hour, 6 minutes, 50 seconds compared to Smith’s 1:07:24.

Ali Brauer (Boulder, Colo.) took third overall in 1:07:33, earning the women’s 20-24 national title in the process. In her first year competing in triathlon, Brauer also had a top-five finish at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships in April.  

“I swam and ran [at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon], and when I went to grad…

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