Western Australia’s rising triathlon star Kira Hedgeland and Queensland’s Mr Persistent Matt Roberts have been crowned Triathlon Australia’s 2015 Australian Junior Triathlon Series Champions following Saturday’s Australian Championships in Devonport.
In a thrilling finale, Hedgeland joins big sister Jaz – a three-time Australian Junior Series champion – as the Series winner after her stirling sprint for silver in the final round, the National Championship.
Hedgeland finished second to Youth Olympic Games gold medallist Brittany Dutton in a dramatic final sprint with a split second between the pair; but Hedgeland had enough points on the board from her win in round two at Penrith s to take the overall crown from Series leader Sophie Malowiecki and Dimi Coventry.
The luckless Malowiecki, who has been in blistering form on the Gold Coast (which Hedgeland missed with injury), in the opening round was forced out of the Devonport race with a flat tyre, robbing her of any chance of a Series victory.
In the end it was Hedgeland on 40 points who will be crowned the Series Champion at the Triathlon Australia Celebration of Champions Annual Awards Dinner on Gold Coast – Sunday 12th April (following the ITU Gold Coast World Triathlon Series race).
Malowiecki (29 points) finished second with Coventry (24) finishing third.
The men’s Series could not have been closer – as Saturday’s Australian championship dead heat between Queensland pair Roberts and Luke Willian suggested and with Series leader Matt Hauser a disappointing ninth in Devonport and Calvin Quirk forced out of the race after a training crash and a green stick break to his elbow.
Roberts (34) who threw himself at the line in a dramatic dead-heat with Willian, managed to take the title by just one point from Hauser (33) with Gold Coaster Quirk on 23 points, third.
The Youth titles went to Lorcan Redmond (NSW) and Ellie Hoitink (ACT) – who both wrapped up the Series wins with impressive victories at the Australian Championships in Devonport.
Redmond and second placegetter Elliott Schultz scampered through the run leg with Redmond maintaining his unbeaten Series record to wrap up the title on 44 points from Schultz (36) and WA’s Lachlan Twyfold (26).
With Series leader Sam Whitting (QLD) electing to race the Queensland Schools Championship, it left the Youth Girls wide open and Hoitink’s victory sealed her Series title on 40 points from Saturday’s second placed Bree Thistlewait (34) with Whitting third on 33 points.
“The 2015 Australian Junior Triathlon Series has been the best yet, with outstanding racing and significant skill and race craft improvement from all athletes,” said Triathlon Australia’s National Manager High Performance Pathway.
“The opportunity for our very best youth and junior athletes to work on their race plans and processes under pressure is an invaluable development opportunity that is having a major impact on our next generation of elite athletes.
“With the outstanding performances such as the sprint finishes on Saturday between Brittany Dutton and Kira Hedgeland and the amazing dead heat between Matt Roberts Luke Willian, as well as very solid racing throughout the Series from Sophie Malowiecki, Matt Hauser, Christian Wilson and Brandon Copeland our future is looking very bright indeed.
“Not to forget our Youth athletes such as Lorcan Redmond, Elliot Schultz. Sam Whitting and Ellie Hoitink to go with some very exciting talent in our current junior and U23 athletes and the next wave of Aussie elite athletes is very bright in the not to distance future.”
Australian Junior Triathlon Series Point Score Champions – Honour Roll
2015 Matthew Roberts (QLD) 2015 Kira Hedgeland (WA)
2014 Matthew Hauser (QLD) 2014 Jaz Hedgeland (WA)
2013 Jacob Birtwhistle (TAS) 2013 Jaz Hedgeland (WA)
2012 Marcel Walkington (VIC) 2012 Jaz Hedgeland (WA)
2011 Scott Llewellyn (NSW) 2011 Ellie Salthouse (QLD)
2010 Drew Viles (QLD) 2010 Holly Aitken (VIC)
2009 Jamie Huggett (VIC) 2009 Emma Jackson (QLD)
2008 Joshua Amberger (QLD) 2008 Ashleigh Gentle (QLD)
2007 Sam Betten (QLD) 2007 Ashleigh Gentle (QLD)
Australian Youth Triathlon Series Point Score Champions – Honour Roll
2015 Lorcan Redmond (NSW) 2015 Ellie Hoitink (ACT)
2014 Caleb Agostino-Morrow (NSW) 2014 Jessica Claxton (WA)
2013 Matthew Hauser (QLD) 2013 Jessica Corliss (QLD)