By Mike Strasser, West Point Public AffairsAugust 18, 2011
WEST POINT, N.Y., Aug. 18, 2011 -- The bike he could handle with ease, but it was the swimming that slowed him down.
Class of 2012 Cadet Brenden Siekman, a member of the West Point Cycling Team, joined hundreds of athletes Aug. 14 at the 22nd annual West Point Triathlon in and around Camp Buckner, N.Y.
"I was OK with my performance. I was hoping to run and bike a little faster, but the swim wore me out," Siekman said, who finished with a time of 1:18:02.
Just ahead of him was Class of 2012 Cadet Roxanne Wegman (1:16:06), who is starting her second year on the Triathlon Team.
Wegman said having her family and teammates there to watch her first sprint distance triathlon and first race as a "firstie" meant a lot to her.
"I love that the event is right here on West Point," Wegman said. "My parents and friends were able to come down and watch a triathlon for the first time. They were really excited to meet the team and the officer representatives."
"I feel even more blessed to be on a team with such incredible potential and drive," she continued. "It's an exciting atmosphere to be a part of. West Point Tri is like a family, and I think this year may be one of our best yet."
Wegman, 2nd Regiment's Morale, Wellness and Recreation officer, said the event is the team's single fundraising event for the year and enables them to train, travel and compete in nationals and other elite races.
"We have several World Championship qualifiers in Olympic Distance and Half Ironman every year," Wegman said. "A successful West Point Triathlon gives us the means to send our hard-working qualifiers to represent West Point and the United States at these elite events."
Wegman also joined her teammates Aug. 13 to work the ToughKids Triathlon, which hosted a field of 165 competitors -- triple the size of previous races.
"I was very pleased with my performance at the West Point Triathlon, but I was even more thrilled with the effort that everyone on the team put into preparing the race course and race site," she said. "It was a lot of work and a lot of extra time commitment for everyone on the team. Given how busy Reorganization Week already is, it's a real testament to the drive and dedication of the team and our officer representatives that we were able to hold such a successful event."
Lt. Col. Brian Bailey, the course director, said the success of this event relies heavily on the efforts of cadet clubs.
"The West Point Triathlon brings together several of the competitive club sports teams," he said. "We couldn't do this without the assistance of Nordic and Alpine (skiing), who assisted with the bike course and directing the parking; the Marathon team, who set up the run course; and the Crew Team, who set up the swim course and provided boats for safety. The Cycling Team worked the bike course and the members of the Women's Boxing Team are lifesavers, remaining after everyone had left to clear the transition area and clean up."
Not even the early morning drizzle, which turned into a heavy downpour, could diminish Wegman's competitive spirit.
"I love racing in the rain," Wegman, an Albany native, said. "I don't think the rain really affected my time. I love racing with a little bit of adversity. I can't think of a better way to start off the season and my final year at the academy."
Among the 462 finishers, Class of 2014 Cadet Daniel Heckman recorded the best time among the cadets, with a time of 1:10:00.
Bailey said one of the biggest draws of the West Point Triathlon is getting to see cadets in action.
"The competitors like to see that lineup of national championship contenders at the front of the pack," Bailey said. "But in addition, having the competitive sports teams in their team uniforms, volunteering and running an event as challenging as a triathlon demonstrates the leadership development of the young men and women."
"The fact that the volunteer teams, who know little about triathlon as a sport, not to mention the execution of a race event, are responsible to return from duties during (fall reorganization week), and deliver a product of this magnitude, speaks volumes to the quality of individuals here at West Point," he said.
The event also gave coaches a chance to see new talent.
"The quality of athlete that attends West Point Triathlon is astounding," Bailey continued. "Our top individual finished the course in one hour and six minutes, in a torrential downpour. That is on par with finish times in ideal conditions. Sandra Overly, sister to Cadet Hunter Overly (Class of 2015), looked strong on the bike and powered up the hills without slowing down."
"Cadet Roxanne Wegman smashed the bike leg and zipped around the turns with ease and speed, showing excellent bike handling," he said. "Look for her to have an impressive season. Cadet Daniel Heckman, 20 pounds leaner at the start of the season, was at the top of the pack coming in from off season. He will make significant gains this year."