WINONA LAKE – Neither of the 2016 Warsaw Optimist Triathlon champions garnered the roar of the crowds as the ‘first one through’ the finish line gates. But both Scott Erba and Jennifer Zimmer were the best on the course, and while other competitors came home earlier, Erba and Zimmer came home fastest to win their respective triathlon titles Saturday morning.
Erba, who started his race 12 minutes later than the first wave of male competitors, wasn’t the first one home, but had the time that mattered. Crossing the line at 1:01:47, Erba’s time bested Timothy Murray’s 1:03:45 and Matt York’s 1:04:36 for honors. Zachary Willig, dressed in his familiar Michigan State competition suit, was the first one home, but from the first wave, Willig came in at 1:05:38.
Willig also was the first through the chute in 2015, but was bested by a later time by Brad McCracken. Murray was the second physical person to cross regardless of start stagger this year. McCracken did not run the race this year.
Erba, who hales from Warsaw and coaches track and field at Warsaw Community High School, last won the Optimist Triathlon back-to-back in 2003 and 2004.
Zimmer, who was the 2015 Optimist Triathlon champion, better her time from last year on the course by a full four minutes to win at 1:13:04. Zimmer was in the second wave of women to take the water, with Shanna Bonnell and Sarah Ray coming home ahead of Zimmer on the physical street, but both left in the prior heat to Zimmer.
Bonnell came home second at 1:13:33 and Ray was third at 1:13.39. Zimmer, a Zionsville native, ran her first Optimist Triathlon last year and won at 1:17:51.
Male Masters winner was Dirk Pauley at 1:05:44. Athena was Alisha Ewing at 1:34:25, Clydesdale was Anthony Casto at 1:19:14.
Top kayak/triathlon finisher was Trace Hansen with a time of 1:21:05 and Cathy Pusey was the top female kayaker at 1:31:06.
Team Nifong/Smith/Walcutt won the relay title with a time of 1:09:30.
The youth triathlon winners were Wini Barnett at 31:16 and Keller Bailey at 32:12 while Jacob Kissling won the longer version of the kids race at 55:12.
My Team Triumph also had three teams involved in the races. David Wallen’s group came in at 1:49:36, Morgan Swafford’s group next at 1:51:48 and Jacob Brock’s group at 2:01:26.
For full race results, visit Race Penguin’s results page.