USA Triathlon (USAT) is the governing body of sanctioned tri's and du's as well as the Nat'l Championships. In their infinite wisdom, at a meeting of the minds in September, they decided to remove ALL the regional qualifying events (5 or 6) from around the country, which qualify top finishers for the World Championships, from their list. What was left was one event, the Duathlon National Championships, as the qualifier for Worlds. If that was a HUGE event that attracts the best from most states, that could make sense; if it was in late June or July, that too may be sensible. However, its not a huge event where anyone who's anyone goes. And, its in APRIL! April is the beginning of the multisport season in many states. So, at their meeting they must have decided that the people who finish top of their field in April at one race are the ones who best represent the USA and therefore will earn a spot on TEAM USA. Is that right? Well, maybe they second guessed themselves because what they ended up thinking is something like this: "Wait, we need to expand that. That would only get us a few from each age group who are eligible." So what did they do? They decided that since they're only using one race, lthey'll go 16 deep, with a roll down to 20--PER AGE GROUP (AG). That's right, if you finish in the top 16 of your AG at Nationals, you qualify for Worlds. If some of them turn it down, they'll go 20 deep. Ok, I qualified for Worlds at the 2008 Apple Du with a 1st place finish. I KNOW I'm not the best in the Nation in my age group as that was a regional event. With that said, does USAT actually think that age groupers twenty deep from one race are a better representation of the USA than people who win regional events ? (They actually took the top 2 from the Apple with a roll down to 5th.)
I believe they decided that they made a mistake. What did the du to correct it....?
They added two events as additional qualifiers to their list and one of them is the Apple Duathlon in Sartell, MN! The other is in AZ. This could lead to an increase numbers at the MN and AZ events as they may attract more competitors from surrounding states. They also scaled back the depth of Nationals to 12 in each AG with a roll down to 16th; for MN and AZ, they'll take the top 3 per AG with a roll down to 6th. However, if you are in a roll down position (4th-6th) your time has to be within 20% of your the winner of your AG. Click here for details.
USAT did add that they are moving towards a single qualifying event in 2010.