March 22, 2011
Great Clermont March 27: Florida Best of the U.S. berths are up for grabs.With many of Florida's Best of the U.S. athletes now professional (Nic Tautiva, Kyle Hooker) or not racing (Lotte Branigan, 2nd overall in 2005 and 2006; Allison Costello, Seeley Guiterrez, 5th place last year), the door is wide open for Florida triathletes to earn the coveted Championship slots.
Team Florida was a major player in the early years of BOUS. Lotte Branigan was 2nd place overall in both 2005 and 2006, performances that led to her U.S. Triathlete of the Year award in 2006. Her 2005 teammate, John Reback, who had earned the Triathlete of the Year title himself two years prior, was 8th that year. Together Lotte and John took home trophies as the Fastest State Team.
Branigan qualified again in 2007, but broke her clavicle in a bike incident just weeks before the Championship. Her husband Eddie had qualified for men, and finished 8th, making the Branigans one of a handful of successful BOUS married couples. With the race that year in Florida (Cypress Gardens), 2nd qualifier Angela Hygema was able to step in and raced to an admirable 11th place against seriously tough competition. Angela came back in 2008 to take 12th. Perhaps we'll see her again.
And to prove once again that triathlon is a sport for the ages, John Reback was 2nd place amateur man just this past Sunday, at Miami International.
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