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Public Affairs : 24th West Point Triathlon

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The first wave of competitors make their way into Lake Popolopen Aug. 18 during the 24th annual West Point Triathlon at Camp Buckner.

West Point hosts Triathlon at Camp Buckner
Story and photos by Mike Strasser
Assistant Editor
 
WEST POINT, N.Y. (Aug. 21, 2013) — More than 600 athletes throughout the country competed Aug. 18 in the 24th annual West Point Triathlon at Camp Buckner.

Capt. Chris Cordova, from Keller Army Community Hospital, has been involved the past couple years but this was his first time as race director.

“Honestly, I think it was a huge success,” he said. “There might have been a couple hiccups along the way but I couldn’t have been happier with how the event turned out.”

The event is driven by the West Point Triathlon team and serves as its major fundraiser which allows them to train, travel and compete during the academic year. Various clubs and organizations volunteer their time at this event like the West Point Marathon Team, whose members organized the flow of traffic for parking and later patrolled the bike route during the race.

“I owe a huge thanks to all the volunteers from the West Point community,” Cordova said. “This race doesn’t happen without them and I can’t give enough credit to our volunteers.”

Additionally, Cordova said the Ski Patrol Team was instrumental in providing medical services to care for those scrapes and cuts which naturally occur among highly-competitive athletes and members of the Crew Team were vigilant on Lake Popolopen to ensure triathletes were safe during the swim portion. The Swim Team coach announced the names of all the competitors as they crossed the finish line.

“This is a large event and the Triathlon team alone could not handle all the tasks without the assistance of other clubs,” Cordova said. “The cadets of WKDT provided an incredible race environment with their music—really energized the crowd. The Women’s Boxing Team came through in a huge way, assisting with cleanup and breaking down all the equipment.”

Two members of the Triathlon team—Class of 2016 Cadets Catherine Sedy and Dylan Morgan—were able to compete in the race but afterward quickly changed back into cadet uniforms to join the team with race support. Sedy and Morgan passed out medals to all the finishers—commemorative dog tags befitting a race held by and among a military community.

Sedy had no problem going from competitor to contributor.

“Since this event is the main reason why we can still travel around the nation to compete against other top-performance collegiate teams, it was very important to us to take every opportunity to thank the participants and volunteers for their time and dedication,” she said. “We love racing, training, competing, and the participants who make it possible, so being able to give something back to them was fun and rewarding.”

Likewise, Morgan enjoyed his first season with the Triathlon Team and found hosting the annual race an important endeavor.

“I was on the team last year and got to enjoy traveling, equipment, and coaching that all costs an incredible amount of money,” he said. “This year I felt like I was able to help out and earn some of the funds that enable us to have one of the best triathlon teams in the nation.”

Morgan said the Triathlon Team spent a week filling race packets, driving equipment throughout West Point and Camp Buckner and making other preparations for the event.

“We did all of this while taking care of our own Reorganization Week tasks as well as some of our own training,” Morgan said. “However, we couldn’t do it alone. On race weekend we had help from some of the other incredible club teams, including Crew, Women’s Boxing and Marathon. It brought us all together and helped us establish some much needed club unity.”

Morgan finished fifth overall with a time of 1:10:18 while Sedy recorded a 1:22:08 finish to place 63rd overall.

“When you love a sport as much as myself and my teammates do, competing in a triathlon is less like work and more like play,” Morgan said. “It was the perfect way to start off the year.”
 
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Class of 2016 Cadet Catherine Sedy went from competitor to contributor during the event. As a member of the West Point Triathlon Team, Sedy passed out medals to finishers and helped with the awards ceremony.

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Class of 2014 Cadet Zachary Horovitz competed Aug. 18 at the 24th annual West Point Triathlon at Camp Buckner among the more than 600 participants.
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Class of 2016 Cadet Catherine Sedy, a member of the West Point Triathlon Team, competed in the 24th annual West Point Triathlon a day before a new semester began at the U.S. Military Academy. She used the triathlon for training purposes, and finished with a time of 1:22:08. Sedy said the schedule for the Triathlon team this year has races that will challenge each member on the team and promises to be one of the greatest seasons of West Point Triathlon yet. To learn more about the team, visit www.usma.edu/triathlon/SitePages/Home.aspx.

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Class of 2016 Cadet Dylan Morgan finished fifth overall with a time of 1:10:18 at the 24th annual West Point Triathlon Aug. 18 at Camp Buckner. As a member of the West Point Marathon Team, after finishing the race Morgan helped distribute medals to finishers. The annual event is the team’s major fundraiser for the season which allows them to train, travel and compete. Other clubs volunteered to support the triathlon, like the Marathon Team, Ski Patrol, Women’s Boxing and WKDT Radio.

It wasn’t long ago when Morgan and his classmates spent more than two weeks at Camp Buckner for Cadet Field Training.

“The run course brought back some great memories from Buckner. Most of our PT and obstacle courses were on the Triathlon’s run course,” Morgan said. “Coming off summer training is always hard. My race today was good for having not done much tri training over the summer, but I am definitely looking forward to getting back into the swing of training and improving as we move toward our national championship in October.”

Also in the crowd of competitors were several West Point instructors, staff and senior leaders—to include the superintendent, commandant, dean, USCC command sergeant major and brigade tactical officer.

“We had the support of the entire West Point leadership which was unbelievable,” Cordova said. “It changed the vibe of the race.”

Most students would probably prefer relaxing the day before class begins, but Sedy said the race was good preparation to get into “Beast Mode” for a busy season.

“We end up front-loading most of our races within the first two months of school, so this was a great way to jumpstart the training program and get right back into a hard-charging, successful season with the team,” Sedy said. “I felt great in the water, decent on the bike, and great on the run so I am pumped for this season.”

Sedy, who was a runner in high school, feels that bicycling is her strength in a triathlon. This season she’ll focus on the swim leg and the transition between biking and running. She said the schedule includes races that will challenge each team member and promises to be one of their best seasons. Sedy will compete in three Half Ironman competitions and wants to qualify for the world championships again.

“My ultimate goal for the year is to take back the National Championship title with the team, and place within the top 40 collegiate finishers,” Sedy said. “This year’s world championship is in Las Vegas and I am excited to join two of my teammates as we compete against some of the best triathletes from around the world.”

The day prior to the race, the 9th annual ToughKids Triathlon brought more than 300 young triathletes to Camp Buckner. The top three boys and girls in each specific age qualified for the championship in September at Croton Point Park, Croton-on-Hudson, N.Y.

A photo set from the West Point Triathlon is available at: http://www.flickr.com/photos/west_point/. Check out the West Point Tri Flickr site for additional photos at http://www.flickr.com/photos/westpointtri/.