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EPPERSON WINS NATIONAL TRI

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By Colin Leon Guerrero

Charlie Eperson was the first male triathlete finisher. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Charlie Epperson was the first male triathlete finisher. (photo by Jesse Castro)

While everyone was heading to bed after a long weekend, Guam’s elite triathletes were on their way to compete in one of the most prestigious races on island, The National Triathlon Championship Sunday morning at the Merizo Pier. The triathlon is held annually by GTF (Guam Triathlon Federation) and challenges Guam’s fiercest on a grueling Olympic-distance course. Soloists or relay teams had to endure a 1500-meter swim, a 40k bike ride, and a 10k run.

Among the athletes participating were last years first place winners Gabe Lombard and Ayshalynn Perez. Lombard and Perez were heavy favorites to win the race again this year, but they faced stiff competition from the likes of Cameron O’Neal, Charlie Epperson and XTERRA Pro Mieko Carey who were all looking to do well.

“There is some pressure because you want to win it again,” said Perez when asked about the race, and if there was any pressure from trying to place first in her division a second time. “It’s a fun race and the course is good this year,” said Perez.

Although there were slight chances of rain, the weather could not be any more perfect for a triathlon. The water was calm, the temperature was just right, and there were a good amount of supporters for the competitors as they competed on the tough course.

For the soloists, Lombard held a solid lead in all of the events and was on pace to capture the 1st place medal once again. However, Epperson used his experience as a seasoned runner to overlap Lombard on the run capturing 1st place with a time of 2:06:57.

“I was just trying to keep a good pace, Gabe’s a sharp runner and there was no telling if I was going to catch him or not,” said Epperson when asked about catching up with Lombard.

Ironman Jesse Izdepski laces up his running shoes in preparation for the final portion of the triathlon. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Ironman Jesse Izdepski laces up his running shoes in preparation for the final portion of the triathlon. (photo by Kevin Wang)

One of the toughest parts of the course was the run. The 10k course for the triathlon, the athletes had to run 3.5 miles from the pier halfway up the hill leading up to Fort Solidad in Umatac.

“The run was hard because it was hot,” said Carey who beat out Perez with a time 2:22:20. Carey showed spectators why she is a pro, with her lightning quick performance making it hard for other female competitors to keep up. “The weather was so perfect though, and the course was really fun,” added Carey who enjoyed the course.

In the relay division, although Derek Mandell was not able to compete, Guam’s Olympians Chris Duenas (Swim) Derek Horton (Bike) relied on Gerald Asuncion to finish strong for their team. Asuncion overlapped Aria Perez-Thiessen on the turnaround and held the lead winning first place with a  quick time of 1:55:54.

“I just kept pushing so I could catch, and when I did I just kept pushing,” said Asuncion who competed in his first triathlon event was excited because of all the athletes giving it their all, “It made me excited go out there and compete, hopefully next year I can do the full,” added Asuncion who is looking towards to future triathlon events.

Team relay top winners

Female
Sonja Oviedo – 1:42:19
Bella Oviedo
Jasmine Jones
Male
Chris Duenas – 1:59:43
Derek Horton
Gerald Asuncion
Mix
Tommy Imazu- 2:07:45
Peter Lombard
Aria Perez-Theisen

Overall Guam National Triathlon Winners

Male
1st: Charlie Eperson – 2:06:57
2nd: Gabe Lombard – 2:09:02
3rd: Cameron O’neal – 2:20:31
Female
1st: Mieko Carey – 2:22:20
2nd: Ayshalynn Perez – 2:39:06
3rd: Rose Munoz – 2:42:58
National Champions
Ayshalynn Perez – 2:39:06
Gabe Lombard – 2:09:02

For full race results please visit the official GTF website at www.triathlonguam.com

 GSPN’s Jesse Castro & Kevin Wang tag-team photo gallery

PHOTO GALLERY BROUGHT TO YOU BY:

http://www.akguam.com/ou/tamuning-scion/

Gabe Lombard was the second male triathlete to complete the race. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Gabe Lombard was the second male triathlete to complete the race. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Teams 115 and 100 are the first to complete the swim and are neck to neck in finishing this part for their team. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Teams 115 and 100 are the first to complete the swim and are neck to neck in finishing this part for their team. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Team 100 is the first complete the triathlon race. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Gerald Asuncion, Derek Horton and Chris Duenas make up the first relay team to complete the triathlon race. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Senator Mike Limtiaco kept himself outside the legislature as he took on the running leg for his relay team. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Senator Mike Limtiaco kept himself outside the Legislature as he took on the running leg for his relay team. (photo by Kevin Wang)

At exactly 7:00am the triathlon kicks off with the swimming portion. (photo by Jesse Castro)

At exactly 7 am the triathlon kicked off with the swimming portion. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Lombard heads in on the final leg of the bike ride before going on to the run. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Gabe Lombard heads in on the final leg of the bike ride before going on to the run. (photo by Jesse Castro)

First place female finisher. (photo by Jesse Castro)

First place female finisher Meiko Carey. (photo by Jesse Castro)

 Ayshalynn Perez waves as she runs down the hill right before Fort Soledad in Umatac. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Ayshalynn Perez waves as she runs down the hill right before Fort Soledad in Umatac. (photo by Kevin Wang)

Teams 115 and 100 run out of the water to tag their teammates in to continue in the bike portion of the race. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Teams 115 and 100 run out of the water to tag their teammates in to continue in the bike portion of the race. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Team 102 with John Aquino completes the race in third place.

Team 102 with John Aquino completes the race in third place.

Bike racers wait for their swim teammates to tag them in to continue the race. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Bike racers wait for their swim teammates to tag them in to continue the race. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Team 101 heads out on the run ahead of the other relay teams. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Aria Perez-Thiessen heads out on the run ahead of the other relay teams. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Michael Acosta pedals his way to the third leg of the race. (photo by Jesse Castro)

Michael Acosta pedals his way to the third leg of the race. (photo by Kevin Wang)

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