Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Richmond’s Julie Rechel 2nd in the 2011 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship

Julie Rechel on the awards stand after placing 2nd
in the USA Collegiate National Triathlon Championships.
Top 5 Over-all places: 1st. Kaitlin Shiver 2:10:04..2nd. Julie Rechel 2:13:47...
3rd. Marcie Nordt 2:14:28...4th. Jessica Broderick 2:15:53...5th. Erika Erickson 2:16:32
(Thank you to Scott Rechel for all Photos and Video) 
It was a busy Week for Richmond's Julie Rechel…

---She finished 2nd in the 2011 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship

---she was accepted to the Graduate School of her choice

---and she was honored by the University of Richmond with the "Student-Athlete Presidential Citation for Academic Achievement" for earning the Highest Cumulative GPA (3.97) for Female Student-Athletes over the Past 4 years


TV NOTE:  CBS Sports Network will televise the 2011 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship, presented by Saucony, from Tuscaloosa, Ala., on Friday (April 29) starting at 10 p.m., ET.

Julie Rechel with Kaitlin Shiver...The top 2 over-all in the
2011 USA Collegiate National Triathlon Championships
To tell this story we must step back a few years…

Julie Rechel contacted us roughly 4 ½ years ago expressing her interest in attending the University of Richmond, but also with some reservation about joining our cross country team. I was very impressed while speaking with her about her interests and goals, and asked why she was reluctant to join our team. That’s when we found out she was a competitive triathlete, a sport that combines 3 disciplines of aerobic strength: swimming, biking and running.

As I recall, her fear and concern was that we would not understand her passion to succeed in the triathlon sport, which could compromise her ability to train during critical points of the year. As we talked she wanted to know if Lori and I, as the head coaches at Richmond, would be willing to work with her, understand her commitment to her sport of triathlons, and balance our requirements with her training needs. We assured her that we would and that we felt we could help her on the final event, running, and that she could develop to help our cross country team as well.

As time passed, we eventually received the great news that Julie would attend UR. Graduating as the top Physics student in Ohio and running modestly in the high 19 to 20 minute range for 5K’s in high school Julie came to Richmond on an academic scholarship. It would be an interesting and fun challenge for Lori and me and one that we looked forward to.

Julie Rechel after her warm-up swim before the championships. 
Once Julie arrived on campus we quickly realized she was special. She was easy to talk to, straight forward, honest and direct when it came to training and how she was feeling and responding to the workouts. She and Lori connected right away and then it began…Julie’s quest to become the best, not just the best in the classroom, but the best on the cross country course and in the sport of triathlons.
Julie’s improvement in running was immediate. Although we had no expectation that she would be on the track for our team since the spring is also a key time in training for the triathlon season, by the end of her freshman year she found an opening in her schedule. Her running workouts with the team were showing great promise. Alternating between running, biking and swimming she learned how to train using her heart rate and her progress was obvious to Lori and our staff. As her freshman year wound down she and Lori decided she would run her first ever 5k on the track at our conference championships in Massachusetts.

When the gun sounded to start the 2008 A-10 Championships Rechel raced without fear and if it’s possible, without thought. It was one of those rare moments in coaching where you get to witness pure competitiveness. Each lap she would glance to Lori for feedback and assurance, but otherwise she had no concern with splits, no fear of the competition…she simply, as our dear friend Dr David Martin said years ago “ran until she ran out of reasons to run”. When the race was over she posted an excellent 17:12.57 to place 6th in the 5,000M, a huge improvement over the course of a year. That race proved to her that her weakest event was now her strongest event within the triathlon. She elevated herself from being a competitive triathlete to a position of winning.

Rechel’s progress continued and along with cross country success she moved up to the 10K during the 2010 outdoor track & field season. Before the conference championships, she traveled to Tuscaloosa, AL for the 2010 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship and after a great swim and quick transition she moved to the bike. Unfortunately, after a short distance she suffered a flat tire on her bike, ending her chase for a top finish in the national championship event.

After unfinished business in Tuscaloosa, Rechel moved her attention to the 10K last spring. She entered the 10K and nearly won the event at the outdoor conference championships…It was her first ever 10K (25 laps) on the track and was fast enough (36:00.17) to place her on the bubble to qualify for the NCAA DI East Region, now known as the first round of the NCAA Championships. Knowing her mark was on the bubble, she and Lori decided it was time to take another crack at the 10K at the UNC/NC A&T Last Chance Meet the week before the NCAA Region. After several hours of rain delays as violent thunderstorms passed through Greensboro, she held together her mental intensity and went out that night setting a PR to improve her season best to 35:50.18 and move into position to earn a spot at the NCAA Championships in the East Region.

As summer turned to fall, Rechel competed in and won the Mid Atlantic Regional Collegiate Championships in Huddleston, VA (See Results HERE). Her win was dramatic in the sense that she won by over 8 minutes and qualified her for the 2011 National Collegiate Triathlon Championships. Additionally, her performance claimed the over-all victory and the collegiate classification.

Rechel (photo center) getting ready to enter the water for the start..
That brings us to this past weekend…April 9, 2011…Julie would be returning to Tuscaloosa, AL, where last year she was eliminated by a flat tire….

Nearly 1,600 athletes from more than 120 institutions competed with over 1,200 athletes in the Olympic-distance Collegiate National Championship event, which included a 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer (24.8 miles) bike and 10-kilometer (6.2 miles) run starting and finishing at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater near the University of Alabama’s campus. Included in the loaded women’s field were two past national champions and a world champion.

The event began with the 1,500M swim. As the first part of the race concluded the top 4 out of the water and transition #1 for the women were Katherine Warren (UCSB), Michelle Mehnert (IL), Kaitlin Shiver (FL) and Jessica Broderick (CU) (Note: Warren was the 20-24 World Champion in Budapest in Sept.). Rechel came out of the water in 22:39, which would rank 6th among the top 10 finishers. With a strong transition it was time for the 40K bike.

Julie Rechel crosses the finish line in 2:13:47 to capture 2nd place
in the 2011 USA Collegiate National Triathlon Championships.
With temperatures near 90 it was obvious the heat would be a factor. As the racers made the turnaround point on the first loop of the bike, Rechel had moved up and the top-5 women were Kathrine Warren, Kaitlin Shiver, Jessica Broderick, Jessica Clay and Rechel in 5th. As they sped into and out of the 2nd loop the order remained the same with Rechel having a great effort of 1:09:14 on the bike, remaining in contention.

As they came out of the transition #2 from the bike to the 10K run, the order remained the same. Broderick, who last year finished second, was the champion in 2009. Rechel wasn't in the mix last year due to a flat tire on her bike and Shiver was the overall female champion at the 2009 Age Group Nationals in Tuscaloosa. Warren was 20-24 World Champion in Budapest in September and Clay is known as a strong competitor from West Point.

The bike and run course consisted of rolling hills and a lot of turns (19), which made it difficult for athletes to see the competitors ahead of them. It was certainly a tough course, especially in the heat and humidity, and it was clear the race champion would be determined on the final segment of the race- the 10K run. As Rechel left the transition area she pushed hard to make up time on the 4 athletes in front of her.

Rechel quickly pushed by 4th place and set her sights on third. By the mid-point of the run she had passed Jessica Clay, Jessica Broderick and Kathrine Warren to move into the 2nd place position. From there she continued to push through the finish line calling it, “the hardest race of my life”. Her finish time of 40:21 for the final 10K race segment would rank 3rd among the top 10 finishers and more importantly secure the 2nd place finish over-all position with a time of 2:13.47 for the event.

Julie getting interviewed by CBS Sports following the race.
“We are very happy for Julie and proud of her accomplishments as a student-athlete here at the University of Richmond”, said Head Coach, Lori Taylor. “She continues to impress us with everything she does. It has been a pleasure working with her and watching her growth from high school athlete to now a professional triathlete.”

If you missed the races, you can watch them on CBS Sports Network this Friday. Both the women’s and men’s races will debut separate one-hour telecasts of the 2011 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship on Friday, April 29 with the women's event airing at 10 p.m. ET, followed by the men's event at 11 p.m. ET. The programs re-air throughout May on the CBS Sports Network.

Julie Rechel (2nd) and Kaitlyn Shiver (1st) talk as they  warm-down in the pools.


The Women's start...the 1500M open water swim.

Rechel on the 10K run...already in 2nd place.

The finish for Julie Rechel...
2nd in the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship

Rechel getting interviewed by CBS Sports Network...
A bit of carnage in the background
as a competitor gets carried off..

RESULTS: Women's Results HERE

1. Kaitlin Shiver            2:10:04
2. Julie Rechel           2:13:47
3. Marcie Nordt           2:14:28
4. Jessica Broderick     2:15:53
5. Erika Erickson         2:16:32
6. Hallie Blunck           2:17:28
7. Kathrine Warren      2:17:35
8. Tess Amer               2:20:24
9. Tracy Fridye            2:20:40
10. Samantha Fugate    2:20:47
11. Anna Battiata         2:21:06
12. Brittany Braden      2:21:11
13. Elizabeth Milewski 2:21:19
14. Jessica Clay           2:22:01
15. Kailand Cosgrove  2:22:09


Thank you to Scott Rechel for all Photos and Video

1 comment:

  1. Very Impressive and Congratulations Julie, on all of your achievements :) Great write-up especially with the pictures Coach Taylor!

    - Julie Stevenson