Announcing Team USA - Elite Squad

Apr. 27, 2012

Twenty-two of the nation’s absolute best off-road triathletes will represent America on Team USA at the 2012 Shelby County ITU Cross Triathlon World Championship / XTERRA Southeast Championship at Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham, Alabama on May 19.

Team USALeading the way for the elite men is Josiah Middaugh, a 34-year-old from Vail, Colorado.  The 7-time XTERRA National Champ has been the most successful and consistent American in the sport for nearly a decade.  As testament to his prowess, fellow pro Cody Waite (who’s also on the elite squad) said “to help me improve my training and racing performance this year, my 2012 motto is WWJD - What Would Josiah Do?”

Josiah MiddaughIt’s a motto that could serve the entire team well.  Other headliners include Branden Rakita and Craig Evans, both of whom finished in the top 10 at the inaugural ITU Cross Tri World Champs in Spain last year.  Rakita showed great form at the XTERRA West Championship earlier this month, and Evans has had his career-best showings in Alabama, finishing in the top six in each of the last five years (and placing third twice).  More than half the squad is from Colorado, with former Mr. XTERRA Will Kelsay, Jason Michalak, and Patrick Valentine joining the ITU Cross Tri crowd for the first time.

Ryan DeCook will be making his return to the sport after battling knee injuries/surgeries the last couple seasons.  Other team members - Adam Wirth, Will Ross, and Damian Gonzalez – all have a race under their belt having taken on the Nevada desert for the XTERRA West Championship earlier this month.

The American squad will certainly have their work cut out, with reigning champ Conrad “the Caveman” Stoltz determined to defend his ITU World Title.  Other international notables include Aussie Chris Legh and Brit Richard Stannard.  More details on the entire elite field will be released shortly.

Team USA Elite Men

Rank – Name – Age, Hometown

4 - Josiah Middaugh – 33, Eagle-Vail, Colorado

8 - Branden Rakita – 31, Colorado Springs, Colorado

10 - Craig Evans – 34, Hendersonville, Tennessee

15 - Cody Waite – 33, Lakewood, Colorado

DNR - Ryan DeCook - 31, Rochester Hills, Michigan

DNR - Damian Gonzalez – 35, Stockton, California

DNR - Will Kelsay - 30, Boulder, Colorado

DNR - Jason Michalak - 34, Lakewood, Colorado

DNR - Will Ross – 22, Anchorage, Alaska

DNR - Patrick Valentine – 26, Colorado Springs, Colorado

DNR - Adam Wirth – 33, Boise, Idaho

Rank = Finish at 2011 ITU Cross Tri Worlds in Spain
DNR = Did Not Race

Shonny VanlandinghamThe 2010 XTERRA World Champion Shonny Vanlandingham will lead the women’s elite squad into battle.  This will be Shonny’s first race back from ACL surgery but she proved she’s already in fine bike shape by posting the third-fastest split among women at the XTERRA West Champs where she did the bike stage as part of a relay team.

Emma Garrard had one of her all-time top performances at ITU Worlds in Spain last year, finishing third overall just 42-seconds behind the winner – Canadian Melanie McQuaid (who will be vying to keep her ITU crown on May 19).

Suzie Snyder and Sara Tarkington return to Team USA, and their experience is sure to be a boon for the seven first-time ITU Cross Tri competitors on the squad.

The international field for the women is stacked, with reigning XTERRA World Champ Lesley Paterson racing for Great Britain, four-time XTERRA European Tour champ Renata Bucher racing for Switzerland, and Canadian super-mom Danelle Kabush all joining the fray.

Team USA Elite Women

Rank – Name – Age, Hometown

2 - Shonny Vanlandingham - 42, Durango, Colorado

3 - Emma Garrard – 30, Park City, Utah

13 - Suzie Snyder – 30, Fredericksburg, Virginia

17 - Sara Tarkington – 31, Boulder, Colorado

DNR - Kim Baugh - 31, Colorado Springs, Colorado

DNR - Courtenay Brown – 33, Boulder, Colorado

DNR - Caroline Colonna – 47, Taos, New Mexico

DNR - Tamara Donelson – 36, Edwards, Colorado

DNR - Heather Holmes - 32, Atlanta, Georgia

DNR - Kathryn Ross – 21, Boulder, Colorado

DNR - Shae Vaughn - 32, Austin, Texas

Rank = Finish at 2011 ITU Cross Tri Worlds in Spain

DNR = Did Not Race