World-Class Athletes

Meet some of the world-class athletes who comElites will tri for $1.1 million on Sept 4


Nikki ButterfieldNikki Butterfield, Australia
Rank: 1st
Lives: Boulder Heights, Colo.
Age: 29
Background: Butterfield returned to the sport last year after four years as a professional cyclist. She has finished second in three 5150 events—Darmstadt, Germany; Klagenfurt, Austria; and Boulder, Colo.—this year.
Fact: Butterfield, whose husband Tyler is also a professional triathlete, took last season off to have her first child. Savana Rose was born Dec. 22.

Anna CleaverAnna Cleaver, New Zealand
Rank: 2nd
Age: 30
Lives: Auckland, New Zealand
Background: The former international swimmer holds multiple New Zealand records and titles. After almost eight years out of the sport, Cleaver returned to triathlon in 2010. She finished fifth at the St. Anthony’s event and second at Liverpool.
Fact: When Cleaver was a teenager, she had to choose between netball (similar to basketball but without dribbling) and swimming.

Alicia KayeAlicia Kaye, USA
Rank: 3rd
Lives: Maynard, Mass.
Age: 27
Background: The native Canadian, who turned pro at 14 years old, is a member of the elite USA Triathlon Project 2012 program. She finished first at the 5150 qualifier in Washington, D.C., and fourth at St. Anthony’s.
Fact: Kaye is married to professional triathlete Jarrod Shoemaker. She has degrees in sport psychology and athletic counseling.

Annie WarnerAnnie Warner, USA
Rank: 4th
Lives: Nine Mile Falls, Wash.
Age: 31
Background: The former collegiate swimmer won the inaugural 5150 New Orleans event (sans swim due to choppy water on Lake Ponchartrain) this year. In 2010, she was the top female finisher in the grueling Scott Tinley's Adventures long-course triathlon in northern California.
Fact: Warner is affiliated with the Metabolic Institute Research Center in Spokane, Wash., where advanced testing programs help athletes determine how they can attain peak performance.

Amanda StevensAmanda Stevens, USA
Rank: 5th
Lives: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Age: 33
Background: Stevens was a national age-group champion in 2001 and world age-group champion 2002. She competed in the Olympic trials in 2004 and ’08. She earned top 10 finishes in the Ironman Word Championship in 2008 and ’09 and won the Memphis in May 5150 qualifier this year.
Fact: Dr. Stevens has a medical degree from the University of Oklahoma. She is a motivational speaker and member of Athletes for Hope, which raises money for charity.

Laura BennettLaura Bennett, USA
Rank: special invitation
Lives: Boulder, Colo.
Age: 36
Background: The top-ranked American woman; ranked fifth in the world this year. Bennett was fourth at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games. She was named USAT Olympic/ITU Triathlete of the Year in 2006, ’07, ’08 and ’10.
Fact: Bennett won the inaugural Hy-Vee Elite Cup race in 2007; she finished fourth in 2008 and was the fastest American woman (sixth overall) in 2010.

Miranda CarfraeMiranda Carfrae, Australia
Rank: special invitation
Lives: Queensland, Australia
Age: 30
Background: Ironman World Champion in 2010; runner-up the year before.
Fact: She entered her first triathlon at the age of 19 and later made the Australian Junior Elite Team. Carfrae represented Australia at the ITU Triathlon World Championships from 2001 to 2005 and earned the silver medal twice.

View the Women's field list.

Stuart HayesStuart Hayes, Great Britain
Rank: 1st
Lives: London
Age: 32
Background: Hayes won the London Youth Games triathlon when he was 17 and he hasn’t looked back. In 2011, he has finished first at the Liverpool Triathlon, fourth at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon and second at the Klagenfurt Triathlon.
Fact: Hayes is married to his coach, Michelle Dillon, who runs Team Dillon and also coaches other world class triathletes.

Paul MatthewsPaul Matthews, Australia
Rank: 2nd
Lives: Casuarina, Australia
Age: 27
Background: Matthews began competing in triathlons as an 11-year-old and won the 16-to-19 age group at the World Triathlon Championships in Edmonton, Canada. In 2011, he has won the 5150 event in Washington D.C. and finished second at the Boulder Peak 5150 Triathlon.
Fact: Matthews’ junior teammates assumed he lived on a farm. They nicknamed him “Barney,” and the moniker stuck.

Cameron DyeCameron Dye, USA
Rank: 3rd
Lives: Boulder, Colo.
Age: 27
Background: Dye was a high school swimmer in Colorado and won a cross country state championship. He swam for the University of Iowa, where he was team captain his senior year. In 2011, Dye has finished second at the Memphis in May 5150 event and fourth at the Miami International Triathlon.
Fact: Dye was an academic all-Big Ten selection his senior and junior years in college.

Benjamin CollinsBenjamin Collins, USA
Rank: 4th
Lives: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Age: 28
Ben graduated in 2005 from Columbia University, where he was the captain of the swim team, academic all-Ivy League and Ivy League champion in the individual medley. In 2011, Collins has finished third at the Miami International Triathlon, first at the New Orleans 5150 event and first at the Nautica New York City triathlon.
Fact: Before he won the 2007 national and world championships, Collins posted a 3.92 GPA in pre-medicine at Columbia.

Martin KrnavekMartin Krnavek, Czech Republic
Rank: 5th
Lives: Ostrov, Czech Republic
Age: 37
Background: Krnavek started running triathlons in 1992 after he added bicycle and running to his competitive swim training. Krnavek has finished fifth twice at the world championships. In 2011, he has finished third at the Darmstadt 5150 event, fourth at the Klagenfurt Triathlon and fifth at the Zurich Triathlon.
Fact: Krnavek has raced in the past three summer Olympics.

Chris McCormackChris McCormack
Rank: special invitation
Lives: Burraneer, Australia
Age: 38
Background: “Macca” won consecutive Ironman Australia titles from 2002 to 2006. He took the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii, in 2007 and again in 2010.
Fact: McCormack established the MaccaNow Foundation in honor of his mother, who died of breast cancer in 1999. The organization raises money for families who are dealing with disease.

Andy PottsAndy Potts
Rank: special invitation
Lives: Colorado Springs, Colo.
Age: 35
Background: The 2004 Olympian won the famous Escape from Alcatraz Triathlon in San Francisco for the fourth time in 2011, breaking the two-hour mark.
Fact: Potts swam for the University of Michigan, where he was an All-American and Big 10 champion. His wife, Lisa, was on the gymnastics team. She is a thyroid cancer survivor.

View the Men's field list.

One of the best things about the Hy-Vee Triathlon is how weekend warriors can mix with the world’s top athletes before and after their respective races.

This year, inexperienced amateurs, just-for-fun relay teams, serious athletes, aspiring professionals and would-be Olympians ranging in age from 15 to 80 will come together in Des Moines for a series of races— the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championships, the Hy-Vee Triathlon, and the Hy-Vee 5150 Elite Cup events for men and women—that will test their collective and individual mettle.

Be sure to check out the Inspiring Athletes section for some inspiring stories.

Meet some of fastest, fittest and most competitive triathletes on the planet today.

Age: 24
Hometown: Westfield, Mass.
Race: 5150 U.S. Championship
Qualified: 1st in age group, St. Anthony’s Triathlon
Pre-race meal: bananas, almonds, banana-nut Odwalla bar

Aubrey Cook is all about surprising people. Whether it’s her competition or herself.

“You have to expect things of yourself before you can do them,” she says, quoting basketball great Michael Jordan. “Expect more than others think is possible"

Cook qualified for the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championships with a first-place finish in her age group at the St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg, Fla.

“It was my third Olympic-distance race, and I was really happy with a first-place age-group finish,” she says. “Everything felt like it came together, and of course it was wicked fun.”

Cook, who has been involved in triathlons for three years, is a camp director and swimming instructor at Wilderness Experiences Unlimited in Southwick, Mass., where children, families and corporate groups can participate in everything from cave exploration to scuba diving.

“I’m down for anything outdoor and adventure or travel-oriented. Scuba diving, rock climbing, backpacking, skiing, etc. I’d really like to get into doing some adventure races this off-season,” Cook says.
“Whitewater kayaking was my biggest passion before triathlons.”

She plans to tour Europe on a bicycle when the triathlon season wraps up, but first on her agenda is a personal best in the 10k portion of the Hy-Vee race on Sept. 4. Beyond that, her goal is to “have fun and be able to give the very best that I have that day.”

Age: 30
Hometown: West Des Moines, Ia.
Race: 5150 U.S. Championship
Qualified: Memphis in May
Pre-race meal: PowerBar

With a second-place finish in the open amateur division at the highly competitive Memphis in May Triathlon, Matt Migonis not only locked up a spot in the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championships, he stayed on a furious pace that has seen him complete two Ironman races, two other triathlons, a half-marathon and a five-mile road races in 2011.

The Big Creek Triathlon in his home state was supposed to help him round into condition for Hy-Vee, but the event was canceled. So Migonis raced in Detroit Lakes, Minn., where his employer, Scheels, filmed a commercial. Then he registered for the Hickory Grove Triathlon in Ames, Ia., which is the weekend before Hy-Vee.

“Getting down to crunch time,” he explains. “I love to relax and spend time with my wife when I'm not training or working.”

You have to wonder when that is.

Migonis entered in first triathlon seven years ago.
“During my third full year of racing triathlons, I won eight of the nine races I entered,” he says.

Two races stand out over that period:
“Winning my age-group at the 2009 Ironman Kansas 70.3 event, and finishing my first Ironman in Lake Placid in 2006,” Migonis recalls. “Lake Placid is where I experienced humiliation and jubilation like never before.”

His goal for Hy-Vee is a top five finish in the elite age group wave.

After that, maybe some rest?
“I love training in the early fall; the weather is perfect,” he says. “But I love ice hockey. It’s still my favorite sport to watch. And play.”

Age: 30
Hometown: Prairie Village, Kan.
Race: 5150 U.S. Championship
Qualified: 1st female age-group elite, Washington D.C. Triathlon
Pre-race meal: bananas

Meghan Newcomer is no newcomer to endurance sports. She has excelled equally in swimming, biking and running over her 10-year triathlon career. She won an age-group silver medal at the 2010 ITU World Championship Grand Final in Budapest, Hungary, where she posted a time of 2:01:25 for the Olympic distance.

Newcomer coordinates research and care for post-treatment cancer patients through the Survivorship Initiative at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. She is also the triathlon coach for the local Leukemia & Lymphoma Society Team in Training.

“I’m always looking for the next athletic challenge; I love any sport that includes water,” she says. “I’ve visited all 50 states, but my next goal is to race in all 50 states; 29 down, 21 to go. I’ll swim, bike or run anytime, anywhere.”

As for the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship, Newcomer has one goal: “I’d like to impress myself.”

Age: 35
Hometown: Lelekovice, Czech Republic
Race: 5150 U.S. Championship, Elite Cup
Qualified: 1st at St. Anthony’s Triathlon
Pre-race meal: water

Nearly two decades of competition have produced a number of big wins for Filip Ospaly, the 47th-ranked male triathlete in the world. He is most proud of the second place finish at last year’s Ironman 70.3 World Championships. Career highlights also include a first-pace finish in the 2001 European Triathlon Championships and runner-up honors in 2002 and 2003.

He also competed in last year’s Dolomitemann, staged each year in the mountains of Austria. Each team consists of a mountain runner, a paraglider, a whitewater kayaker, and a mountain biker. Osplay handled the uphill, high-elevation, eight-mile run for the Czech squad Osplay calls Dolomitemann “the hardest team race worldwide.”

Not surprisingly, the run is his favorite triathlon leg.
“After all,” he says. “It is the end of the race.”

Osplay, a father of 3-year-old twins and holder of a doctorate in economics, won the May 1 St. Anthony’s Triathlon in St. Petersburg, Fla., to qualify for the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championships, where “I want finish in the top three, and then look for a sponsor for 2012.”

Age: 26
Hometown: Boulder, Colo.
Race: 5150 U.S. Championship
Qualified: 3rd in age group, Boulder Peak Triathlon
Pre-race meal: whole grain Cream of Wheat.

Steven Zawaski put up a fast run split to post a 2:10:23 at Boulder Peak and take third in the 24 to 29 age group.

“I surprised myself, since I was running only 10 days off an injury,” he says.

But Zawaski has been surprising himself since he was a child. The Ohio native, who suffered from severe allergies and migraines growing up, learned computer programming on his own as a youngster. As a middle-schooler, he found out that he liked to run. His love for the sport carried into college, where he trained with the cross-country team as he chased an engineering degree and, eventually, a career in the Denver-area software industry.

After the move to Boulder, Zawaski tried biking. He surprised himself again with his ability, and that led to his interest in triathlon.

“While newer to triathlon, I’ve been in endurance sports most of my life. I don’t feel right until I’ve trained a few hours in the morning, and if it turns into an all day thing, even better,” he says. “Aside from triathlon, I like reading and just hanging around all the cool people in Boulder.”

He says he has only one goal for the Hy-Vee 5150 U.S. Championship: “Have fun and smile.” Register for the event Volunteer for the event

Race Updates

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