Parkland Press

Sunday, September 22, 2019
PRESS PHOTOS COURTESY OF KELLY COSTELLOMaddie Consuelos finished sixth in her age group at the USA Triathlon National Championships. PRESS PHOTOS COURTESY OF KELLY COSTELLOMaddie Consuelos finished sixth in her age group at the USA Triathlon National Championships.
As a former cross country stand out, the running stage is the strongest part of Maddie Consuelos's triathlon. As a former cross country stand out, the running stage is the strongest part of Maddie Consuelos's triathlon.
Maddie Consuelos competed in the recent Triathlon National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio. Maddie Consuelos competed in the recent Triathlon National Championships in Cleveland, Ohio.

Consuelos places sixth in nation

Sunday, August 25, 2019 by TODD KRESS tkress@tnonline.com in Sports

Maddie Consuelos ran competitively all four years of high school career at Northwestern, even for years before that. But after she was looking for something new to challenge herself athletically after high school.

When one of her running coaches brought up the idea of participating in triathlons, Consuelos was initially hesitant and unsure. But she eventually gave in during the summer before her senior season at Northwestern and never looked back.

Consuelos recently competed in the USA National Triathlon Championships and did exceptionally well. The former Tiger finished the Olympic-distance triathlon two weekends ago in Cleveland, Ohio, in 2:20:59. She placed sixth in her division—females aged 17-19 years old—in just her second triathlon ever.

“For the past couple of seasons, my coach would try to push me into the water and the biking part,” Consuelos said. “I finally gave in to that idea, and I guess it turned out well.”

She will compete on the University of Michigan’s triathlon team beginning next season.

“I was looking to stay with sports,” Consuelos said. “I wasn’t sure if I wanted to run because I kind of got tired of running. After six years of running, I kind of was like I need to do something else with my life. I wanted to define myself as an athlete in a different way than just as a runner.”

Consuelos will also be eligible to compete in the world championships in 2020, but will need a number of finishers ahead of her to pass on the opportunity. In terms of where she would rank next year—in the 20-24 age group when the world championships take place in 2020—Consueloes finished 25th.

“To qualify for the world championships, which is in 2020, you had to place in the top 18 of your age category,” Consuelos said. “But because it’s next year, I had to age up to the 20-24 age group category.

“I was 25th and they take 18. Some people will say no, so I will bump up in their places to go to worlds…It’s still up in the air for a couple more weeks.”

Consuelos placed 296 out of 1,151 total females that competed. She finished the .47-mile swim portion of the triathlon in 13:59, followed by a time of 1:15:02 in the 24.86-mile bike ride

She admits the swimming aspect of triathlons is the most challenging for her.

“The run is easy because I’ve been running for so long,” Consuelos said. “But for the swim, you can’t control the waves or how you’re body is going to feel. It’s the one I’m not used to. I’m not used to swimming in anything other than a pool.”

As a natural runner, Consuelos made her biggest leap of the event when she got off the bike. She improved from the 410th female when she finished the biking stage, to 297th after the 6.22-mile run. She ran the run portion in 46:56 for a 7:32-mile average.

“I definitely was a lot faster [in the swim portion] this past triathlon,” Consuelos said. “There is definitely more room for improvement.”

It didn’t hurt that she had much more time to train for her second triathlon. Her first one came the day after her high school graduation, and she had limited training time with the track and field season prolonged because of a trip to Shippensburg for the state championships.

“My second one was at nationals,” Consuelos said. “Between the beginning of June and last weekend, I got on a bike way more than I ever had.

“I was going 35 or 40 miles once or twice a week. I was swimming two or three times a week. And then I’d only run like once a week since I had such a strong base.”

Consuelos mentioned she might compete in a triathlon when she gets to Michigan in the fall, but it’s more likely she’ll wait until next year to get started in the spring and summer.