ORLAND, Calif. - Three U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District employees placed in the top five in each of their age groups against more than 200 competitors at the second annual Black Butte Triathalon here April 10.

Black Butte Lake is managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Sacramento District. The triathlon was organized by Epoch Sports, and hosted at Black Butte under a special-use permit granted by the Corps.

Structural engineer Robert Caputo finished fourth in the mens' age 25-29 sprint distance group, and eighth overall in the competition. Civil engineer Steve Soldati finished fourth in the mens' age 10-24 sprint distance and twenty-sixth overall in the competition. Geologist Coralie Wilhite placed fourth in the womens' age 25-29 sprint distance, and fifteenth overall in the competition.

The road biking and trail run course proved more challenging than Caputo had expected. "I read in the literature that the course had rolling hills. It was much steeper than that, more like leg-pounding up and downs, and I imagine there were a lot of cramped hamstrings," he said.

"The partnership in planning for this event was great," said Black Butte Lake senior park ranger Bill Miller, who worked with triathlon coordinators, Orland and Hamilton City volunteer fire departments, California Highway Patrol and Tehama County Sheriff's Department to ensure the safety of racers on the trails and lake. "It is wonderful to have so many folks at a Corps park this early in the year, before our peak season."

Miller said that the park works to stay current with newer recreation trends as these types of activites gain popularity. "We will do everything we can to connect people to the outdoors, to help them use this public land as a place to get outside and get fit," he said.

The coordination exemplifies the Corps' support of President Barack Obama's America's Great Outdoors initiative, which promotes agency partnerships to provide outdoor recreation opportunities.

Caputo has been racing competitively since he won a scholarship as a swimmer at the University of Utah - Salt Lake City. He continued competing in smaller races after he transferred in 2002 to California State University - Sacramento, where he finished his undergraduate degree and got a master's degree in civil engineering, because it provided fitness and a competitive edge. He estimated that he has raced in more than 20 competitions since leaving Utah.

"Now that I am out of school and working on a regular schedule, I can get back into racing shape," said Caputo, who started with the district in August 2010. "It is also great to race with fellow employees, and to coach each other to better perform."

Caputo plans to race in the Eppie's Great Race in Sacramento this summer, where he took second in his age group in 2009.

Page last updated Fri July 22nd, 2011 at 12:16