In the world of triathlon, rarely will one come across the word "easy."
Training is difficult, to say the least. Commitment is needed to make the finacial, time, and travel sacrifices needed for this sport. And when it comes to competition, a conference that includes a few of the most populous universities in the nation is no picnic.
Xavier felt that the last MECTC race of the season, a sprint at the Michigan State University campus, would be no different. A 5+ hour drive from campus, colder temperatures, and the smaller roster traveling, the team hoped it could repeat last week's success in Illinios.
This week's triathlon consisted of 4 men and 2 women: Juniors Cory St. Clair (the winner of the previous race's bike split), John McClellan (his 17th triathlon), Aaron Isett (looking to add to the team's score), and Stephen Lamb (the club's president) for the men, Freshmen Alexis Vanbastelaer (the team's leader in MECTC rankings) and Angela Sims (the most experienced triathlete for the women).
After a restful night's sleep, the triathletes arrived early for the race. While the temperature hung in the mid-50s, they were shocked to find that they would be racing their 400 meter swim in an outdoor pool. The bike course was back to the 13-mile standard with a 5k run around campus, both of which was fast. When it comes to "easy", this was the best they were going to get.
Angela Sims led the team in the swim, finishing 2nd overall for the women in the swim split finishing in 6:24. John McClellan jumped out 2nd with a 6:34.
Cory St. Clair finished 30th in the swim for men, but easily made up time in the bike, throwing down the 3rd fastest split of the day (though could have been ranked higher--there is some question as to whether the other 2 completed 3 full laps around the bike course). Lamb edged out Isett in the bike portion, beating him by 21 seconds.
Alexis Vanbastelaer cracked 40 minutes on the bike for the first time in her career, averaging 18.7 miles per hour. She then ran a 22:49, the 9th fastest run among women.
Overall, the men finished 6th overall while the women finished 4th. For most, career personal records were reached on such a fast course. For others, goals were not met, and they looked forward immediately to the University of Dayton race in January.
"Easy" doesn't come easily--hard training on tough courses and inevidible defeats taken in stride. For Xavier, the Spartan Sprint could be seen as a notch on the belt, something to hold up against other races, or even a race to look forward to annually.