Illinois boy, Pennsylvania girl win junior elite triathlon events

By LANCE BERGESON • • June 21, 2008

Kathryn Ross and Kevin McDowell won the Hy-Vee Triathlon junior elite events with a little help from their friends.

Both Ross, from Doylestown, Pa., and McDowell, from Geneva, Ill., were allowed to draft off another cyclist on the 14.6-mile bike stage, and both used it to their advantage to post convincing wins on a warm Saturday afternoon at Valley Southwoods School in West Des Moines.

McDowell passed his good friend and last year’s youth winner, Ben Kanute, on the transition to the run stage to win in 1 hour, 5 minutes, 38 seconds.

“I couldn’t have done this without Ben,” said McDowell, who lost to Kanute in every race last year at the youth level. “I struggled on those hills, and Ben kept me going every minute.

“I’ve never won a big race like this.”

McDowell finished three seconds behind Kanute last year. Both race for the Multisport Madness team out of Chicago.

McDowell and Kanute, both age 15, were stride for stride coming out of the 750-meter water leg. They quickly built up a lead of 45 seconds while bicycling through the school parking lot for the first time.

They took turns taking the lead until they changed to the run stage, when Kanute lost several seconds finding his transition spot. Kanute settled for third when Ben Steavenson passed him on the run. Steavenson was 32 seconds behind McDowell.

“I didn’t have as good of a swim as I needed,” Kanute said. “He’s (McDowell) just a great runner. Him and Steavenson - just amazing runs.”

Ross had the fastest run and bike times to win in 1:15:54, 1:04 ahead of runner-up Natalie Russell.

Ross and Russell carved up the gap to the leaders riding in tandem on the bike. Ross trailed the leader by 1:33 after the swim.

“If it weren’t for her (Russell), I couldn’t have gotten so far up on the bike,” said Ross, who was helped to a stretcher in the medical tent after finishing the 3.1-mile run. “I just felt really nauseous on the run.”

The 18-year-old Ross finished fourth last year. Russell, who also races for Multisport Madness, improved on her 13th-place finish of a year ago.

“(Ross) caught up to me on the bike, and we made up a lot of ground,” Russell said.
“I didn’t feel I had quite as much for the run.”

Russell, 16, had the second-fastest times for the bike and run.