Tuesday, 09 Aug, 2022

USA Triathlon announces 2021 Age Group Triathletes of the Year

Graphic: USA Triathlon

Minori Minagawa and Doug Walker were named USA Triathlon’s overall Age Group Triathletes of the Year. The 27-year-old Minagawa will move up to the pro ranks this year, while the 56-year-old Walker will continue his focus on age-group Ironman racing.

Minagawa was the age group champion at both the Olympic- and Sprint-Distance National Championships held in Milwaukee last year, and also was the top amateur finisher at Challenge Miami.

“I’m honoured to have been selected,” said Minagawa. “The season was by no means perfect, but it was definitely a year to remember. I know that I couldn’t have done it without the people who helped me get to where I am today. I have a long way to go, but I’m excited to see what my first year as a pro triathlete will bring. I love the incredible community that triathlon brings. I’ve been fortunate to have friends and mentors from all backgrounds who continue to support me on this journey.”

Walker, who has been competing in the sport for over 30 years, also finished on the podium at the Olympic- and Sprint-distance National Championships, but also excelled over the full distance. He won his age group at Ironman Indiana, finished second at Ironman Chattanooga, won his age group at Ironman 70.3 Florida and was fourth at the Ironman 70.3 World Championship.

“It never occurred to me that my results were good enough to get an award of this type,” said Walker. “I also feel very lucky, as lots of things have worked out well for me in the racing world over the last year and a half. When I started triathlon in 1987, I loved the fact that it was something different and kind of crazy. I’ve grown to appreciate how positive and supportive a vast majority of the people in the sport are, even most of those who are fiercely competitive.”

Here’s a list of all of the Age Group Triathletes of the Year:

Women’s Overall Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Minori Minagawa (Dublin, OH)
Honorable Mentions: Meghan Fillnow, Bridget Foote, Becca Kawaoka, Michelle Stratton, Annamarie Strehlow

Men’s Overall Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Dougin Walker (Tampa, FL)
Honorable Mentions: Todd Buckingham, Klodian Mitri, Brian Reynolds, Benjamin Stone, Mike Wien

Women’s Masters Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Ginger Reiner (Lincoln, MA)
Honorable Mentions: Caitlin Drap, Jessica Holmes, Deanna Newman, Idalmis Pedrero, Cathy Yndestad

Men’s Masters Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Dougin Walker (Tampa, FL)
Honorable Mentions: James Hallberg, James Harrington, Tim Hola, Daniel Stubleski, Peter Valentyik

Women’s Grand Masters Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Donna Smyers (Adamant, VT)
Honorable Mentions: Colleen De Reuck, Kathy Grady, Juliana Nievergelt, Susan Pierson

Men’s Grand Masters Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Greg Taylor (Yankton, SD)
Honorable Mentions: James Aust, Philip Friedman, Kim Norman, Kyle Welch

Celeste Callahan Women’s Great Grand Masters Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Carol Gephart (Hamilton, MI)
Honorable Mentions: Lorrie Beck, Barbara Matheson, Cande Olsen, Laura Sopheia

Men’s Great Grand Masters Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Mike Wien (Boulder, CO)
Honorable Mentions: Michael Orendorff, Robert Plant, Jim Sumara, John Towart

Women’s Junior Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Alexandra Poole (Durham, NC)
Honorable Mention: Freya McKinley

Men’s Junior Age Group Triathlete of the Year: Kyle Swenson (Rogers, MN)
Honorable Mention: Braxton Bokos

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