Lisa Becharas, Matt Cuttell, and Bryan Heppe led the way as Grim Reaper Fitness enjoyed the biggest race weekend in its history Saturday and Sunday, collecting three top-3 overall finishes and nine Age Group victories.
Becharas was the 2nd female in the Elite Division at Saturday’s Tri-Shark Sprint, Cuttell was the overall winner of the Dri-Shark Duathlon, and Heppe pulled off an impressive double, winning the 35-39 Age Group Saturday at Tri-Shark and doing so again at Sunday’s Cutting Edge Half Classic in Effingham.
Becharas posted the best women’s run time of the day, completing the 3.1-mile run leg in 20:11 to finish with an overall time of 1:07:44, 62 seconds behind the winner.
Cuttell held off teammate Kevin Tuuk to win the duathlon and the USAT Mideast Regional championship, in a time of 1:11:49. Cuttell and Tuuk competed the first run leg (2 miles) one second apart before Cuttell built nearly a 2-minute lead on the 13-mile bike leg. Tuuk, however, ran a 20:15 on the second run leg to finish 11 second back in 2nd place.
Heppe posted the club’s best time in the triathlon winning the tough 35-39 Age Group and placing 7th overall with a 1:03:40 and a solid performance across all three legs. The top 5 finishers in the division were less than a minute apart, with Reaper Jason Huber turning in the club’s 3rd-fastest time of the day with a 1:04:33 to finish 5th. Heppe, meanwhile, turned around the next day and finished the 70.3 distance in a personal best 4:52:53 to win the Age Group and finish 6th overall.
Back to Saturday’s Tri-Shark, Chris and Michael Braun, Tori Morger, Jess Miner and Denise Cooksey all won their Age Groups. For Chris Braun, Morger, and Cooksey, it was their first races as Reapers. Braun won men’s 18-19 Age Group in 1:15:15, Morger took women’s 16-17 in 1:30:04, and Cooksey won 60-64 in 1:27:16.
Michael Braun posted the club’s second-best time of the day, winning men’s 20-24 in 1:04:28. His 600-yard swim leg of 7:30 was fifth best among the men. Miner won women’s 35-39 1:23:20.
Also earning Tri-Shark hardware were: Lily Matthews, 2nd in women’s 13-15 in 1:24:29, including the third-fastest women’s swim time at 7:50; Damon Dusin, 3rd in men’s 40-44 at 1:07:13; Carey Weaver, 3rd in men’s 55-59 at 1:10:14; and David Cate, 2nd in Clydesdale at 1:20:04, including the division’s fastest bike time.
In Dri-Shark, Rachel Simmons won women’s 10-12 at 2:07:15, while Erik Rankin won men’s 35-39 in 1:14:47. Tim Auth and Buck Manley placed 2nd in their age groups, while Jason Hebel earned a 3rd. Auth posted a 1:18:58 in 45-49, while Manley was at 1:30:03 in 55-59, and Hebel 1:23:16 in 35-39.
In Effingham Sunday, Celeste Kudrys shared the podium with Heppe. Competing in only her third triathlon, Kudrys came in at 5:40:03 to win the women’s 35-39 division. Also placing was Lisa Kiley, who came in 3rd in women’s 50-54 at 6:38:13.
Paul Swanlund and Dan Thurston both completed their first 70.3 distance races, with Swanlund, a day after competing in Tri-Shark, coming in at 5:55:58 in men’s 35-39 and Thurston at 6:59:19 in men’s 45-49.
Finally, Jason Sturdyvin and Julie Sibley joined Heppe and Swanlund in competing the weekend double. Sturdyvin was 6th in 30-34 at 5:37:48 after finishing 5th in Tri-Shark the day before. Sibley posted a 7:16:21 in women’s 35-39.