NORWALK, Conn. – Laura Cummings is a newcomer to triathlons. But after Sunday's victory in the Mossman Sprint Triathlon at Norwalk's Calf Pasture Beach, it's clear the 23-year-old from Bay Shore, N.Y., has a bright future in the sport.
Cummings paced the women's field while Naugatuck's Tim Steiskal led the field in a race under gorgeous weather conditions. The athletes swam a half-mile, rode bikes for 12.5 miles and finished with a 3.1-mile run.
Cummings completed the course in 1:09:44 and finished 42nd overall. Westport's Laurie Brannigan finished second among women, followed by Norwalk's Jessica Fox. Thomas McWalters of Hartford took second in the men's race. Riverside's Jonathan Baxendale took third, followed by Norwalk's Peter Eddy.
Cummings, who started with the elite wave, took control of the women's race in the running leg. A former distance runner at the University of Albany, she strode powerfully along the beach as she pulled away for the first triathlon victory of her young career. She finished sixth in a race last month Montauk, N.Y.
"I was hoping I had a chance to win,'' Cummings said. "I'm just getting started in triathlons. I've been a runner and did some biking, but I don't have much background in swimming."
Brannigan, who finished third among women at last month's KIC It Triathlon in Stamford, started in a wave behind Cummings and did not know how close she was to winning. "I had no idea,'' she said. "Once you get on the bike course, you can't tell who's ahead."
She said she has competed in triathlons for nearly 20 years. "But not as seriously as when I was younger,'' Brannigan said. "It's been a little harder since I had kid kids."
Like Cummings, the 26-year-old Fox is another newcomer to triathlons and was competing in just her second race. Fox, a swimmer at Middlebury College, started with the elite women and was the first one out of the water. She also ran a strong 5K in 19:29. "Since it's only my second one, I'm happy with it,'' Fox said. "I'm hoping to get more into the sport."
Steiskal won the men's race in 1:00.14, with McWalters 41 seconds behind. Baxendale was third in 1:01.10.
A total of 700 athletes were registered for the event, the ninth straight year there has been a full field for the race. Results are available online.
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