Winner enjoys ‘fast racing’

Cecilia Crooks heads for transition following the 20km cycle stage on her way to winning the open...
Cecilia Crooks heads for transition following the 20km cycle stage on her way to winning the open women’s title at the Otago Triathlon Championships at Macandrew Bay yesterday. Crooks won the women’s section of the sprint distance event in a time of 1hr 11min 36sec. PHOTO: WAYNE PARSONS
Junior international Janus Staufenberg produced an awesome performance to win the open men’s title at the Otago Triathlon Championships at Macandrew Bay

Staufenberg backed up his dominance in the event last year, leaving many anticipating a promising future in the senior ranks.

"I just love the course here. It’s nice and flat. It makes for some fast racing," Staufenberg said.

Conditions were warm and flat in the 750m harbour swim.

Staufenberg said he had to watch for the markers with an incoming tide.

It was "all good practice", he said.

The open women’s field started 7min ahead of the open men’s, and Staufenberg said his tactic was to knuckle down and try to catch the front woman.

He achieved that goal towards the end of the 20km cycle then, heading out on the 5km run to the finish, decided to give it a "good crack".

"I went out at a good fast pace on the first ‘K’ to see where my lungs were at," he said.

Staufenberg, a computer science student at the University of Otago, said he liked the concept of the open women’s field starting ahead of the men as it added to the pace of the event.

Having had a "good training block" over the holidays in Wanaka meant he was at a level of fitness he was pretty happy with.

The 20-year-old wanted to be prepared before jumping into the hotbed of the highly competitive under-23 grade in national and international competition. His first opportunity in this grade will come at the end of February in the Oceania Championships in Devonport, Tasmania and depending on results, progressing on with ITU World Cup racing.

Staufenberg completed the sprint distance course in 57min 35sec, while chasing him all day was Steve Morrison, who finished second in 1hr 4min. Sola Kuwasaki finish third in 1hr 5min.

It was a double celebration for age-group international Cecilia Crooks, who marked her 19th birthday by winning the open women’s title in 1hr 11min 36sec.

Crooks took the lead early on in the swim and stretched her lead on the bike, but said she went into survival mode on the 5km run stage due to the heat.

"After a hard bike, it was pretty tough out there."

Coming from a competitive swimming background through the Neptune Swim Club, Crooks is doing a double major in psychology and sport and exercise science. Her decision to take up triathlon now has her a dual international in both swimming and triathlon at Oceania level.

Next weekend she will race for a New Zealand cycling team in the Gravel and Tar 140km UCI race in Palmerston North.

Second in the race for the open women’s title was Maggie Campbell, who finished in 1hr 12min 58sec and Holly Pawson was third with a time of 1hr 15min 30sec.

Thoughts of an ice cream from the dairy across the road from the finish area were on Jonah Belk’s mind as he made every post a winning post. He won the associated multisport challenge over a 5km kayak, 40km bike and 10km run course in 2hr 3min 55sec.

An associated Olympic distance option was also included and another youth international, Jack Diver, contested the 1500m swim, 40km bike, 10km run course for the first time. Driver won in a record time of 2hr 10min 13sec. Richard Campbell was second in 2hr 16min 22sec and Richard Colling was third in 2hr 31min 26sec.

Dunedin lawyer Lucia Vincent completed the run of internationals competing when she won the open women’s section of the Olympic distance race in 3hr 1min 35sec. Keely Sullivan finished second in 3hr 5min 31sec and Samara Fox was third in 3hr 6min 16sec.

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