On June 9, more than 250 athletes representing five states participated in the Southeast Junior Regional Triathlon Championship in Sebring. Key Biscayne was represented by the Tri4Kidz team, which for the second consecutive year earned second place in the general classification category and many individual awards.

The race, held on a sunny day in City Pier Beach, had participants between 7 and 16 years old competing in different distances according to their age group.

The Junior category (6-10 years old) covered a distance of 100 meters of swimming, 3 miles of biking and 800 meters running, while the Seniors would double the distance.

The athletes ran in a massive start format, starting with a swimming course on Lake Jackson and followed by a bicycle course through closed streets and a running race around the civic center.

Tri4Kidz founder and coach Lilly Montes said the conditions were almost perfect.

While it was a very hot day for everyone, she said the event had impeccable organization, many volunteers and good signage. All age groups enjoyed good coverage that allowed spectators and family members to follow their athletes closely.

At the end of the day, Regional titles were granted in each age group, and it was an outstanding day for the athletes of the Tri4Kidz team – not only did they more than double their number of participants compared to 2017, they won the overall title in the Junior Male category in addition to six titles in various age groups.

Luis Rodriguez, Junior overall champion, covered the course in 16 minutes and 22 seconds, finishing 8 seconds ahead of his closest competitor and silver medalist Brock Glover of Tampa.

“This has been a very strong year of training, where we have really been committed to this event as the main objective,” said Montes. “This year I have delegated and shared the work with three professional trainers and specialists in each area, and I feel that the formula has been successful. We are all in the same line and we see the preparation of these kids as a long-term plan that focuses not only on their sporting results but also on integral training.”

She said the 18 athletes of the Tri4Kidz team closed the first semester of the year with excellent participation in preparation for the National Championship. Those who placed on the podium will represent the Southeast Team at the USAT Youth & Junior National Championship 2018, which will take place from August 4-5 in Westchester, Ohio.

It follows up on a successful season.

Montes said Tri4Kidz has had a great performance so far this season, with athletes always on the podium. Last month, they participated in three consecutive events that gathered athletes from all over the state – and the local kids always returned home with awards and the feeling of duty fulfilled. “There have been many hours of training and sacrifice not only by the athletes, but also the families that always accompany and encourage us,” she said.

Tri4Kidz is also grateful for the support of local business such as IberiaBank, Lucky Explorers, Team Montoya, Salesforce and Crankhaus cycling studio, who have believed in the process and in one way or another helped the evolution of the team. “It is a pleasure to train committed children and look forward to developing them as athletes and people who contribute to our community with their example of perseverance and discipline,” Montes said.

The regional results of the Tri4Kidz athletes in each of the categories were as follows:

Junior Category: 6-year-old boys – Pablo Escallon, first place; 9-year-old girls – Leia Mufraggi, second place and Juliana Diaz, eighth place; 10-year-old girls – Gabriela Diaz, tenth place; 10-year-old boys – Luis Rodriguez, first place.

Senior Category: 11-year-old boys – Lucas Young, fifth place and Santiago Gil, twelfth place; 12-year-old girls – Lucia Lundeberg, second place; Valentina Gonzalez, fifth place; and Maria Paz Escallon, seventh place; 13-year-old girls – Ines Saudino, third place; 13-year-old boys, Mateo Ceballos, eighth place; 14-year-old boys, Nicolas Beltran, eighth place; 15-year-old boys, Jack Stein, second place.