Local Sports

Heartland Triathlon was another big hit

SEBRING The eighth annual Heartland Triathlon was another big hit, as there were 440 competitors who took to the course Sunday morning. The majority of competitors competed in the Sprint marathon, which consisted of a quarter-mile swim, 14-mile bike ride and a 5K to wrap it up, while 133 brave souls tried the International distance, which began with a .93 mile swim, followed by a 24.8-mile bike ride a 6.2-mile run. The overall winner of the sprint marathon was 17-year-old Sam Geiman, of West Palm Beach, who finished the course in a time of 1:00:43. North Port's Heather Butcher was the first female to finish, crossing the line in 1:06:23. Groveland's John Hovius captured the Male Masters title in 1:01:34, with Randi Roker, of Stuart, winning the Female Masters title with a time of 1:10:55. Sebring's Laura Van Fleet was the lone Highlands County resident to win a division in the Sprint, as she captured the Female Novice title with a time of 1:24:20.
Sebring teams captured all three Spring relays, beginning with Tri Kids-Trevor Doty, Chase Doty and Keegan White-winning the male team division with a time of 1:19:48. Victorious Secret-Laura Griffin, Erin Gercken and Marsha May-won the female team division with a time of 1:32:39, while the team of Livingston Ruiz Griffin-consisting of, surprisingly, Jacob Livingston, Michael Ruiz and Meghan Griffin won the mixed team class with a time of 1:17:59. Lake Placid's Patrick High captured the Male Masters title in the international-distance triathlon, finishing in a time of 2:04:44. Englewood's Kerry Sullivan placed first overall with a time of 2:03:11. Lake Mary's Kerry Simmons pulled off the double feat of winning the overall female title and the Female Masters crown with a time of 2:23:25. Sebring's Maxime Copley won the female 20 to 24 age group with a time of 2:42:02 and Avon Park's John Milam was first in the male 70 to 74 age group. Sebring's Jack Bailey won the Male Novice division with a time of 2:45:55. Iron Man Hall of Famer Jeff Cuddeback won the 55 to 59 age group with a time of 2:13:52. A number of U.S. Junior Triathlon Developmental Program, which prepares triathletes for the Olympics, competed on Sunday, while many of those age 15 or under also competed in the Heartland Kids Triathlon on Saturday and came right back and were entered in the Heartland Triathlon. Lake Placid's Lukas High-who entered the weekend ranked No. 5 in the boys 15-and-under by USA Triathlon-won the 15-year-old male age group in the kids triathlon on Saturday and came right back and placed fourth in the male 11 to 19 age bracket and 14th overall. Sebring's Matthew Schult had the best finish of any county runner in the sprint, as he placed 13th overall in 1:05:43, while Michelle Delaney had the best finish among females, placing 24th in 1:18:37. Patrick High's third-place overall finish in the International distance triathlon topped county competitors, with Copley's 12th-place finish the best among females.