Boys and Girls Club of Seymour Youth Triathlon makes a splash


For the second and final time, Will Proffer crossed the finish line of the Boys and Girls Club of Seymour Youth Triathlon.

The Seymour 14-year-old tried the event for the first time in 2019 and placed third.

The race was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but the eighth edition returned Saturday, and Proffer was the overall winner in the age 11 to 14 division, finishing in 26 minutes, 47.9 seconds.

The distances are 100 yards of swimming in the Seymour Aquatic Center at Seymour High School and 2 miles of biking and a half-mile run for 6- to 10-year-olds in the streets surrounding the school, while they are 200 yards, 4 miles and 1 mile, respectively, for 11- to 14-year-olds.

“I’m used to a lot of competition sports and finishing, and it felt pretty good to get first place this time,” Proffer said after the event, holding a lighted trophy that changed colors. “It shows me that I can put them all together, and I like each sport, and if I want to do more triathlons in the future, maybe move up to an older one.”

Proffer considers swimming his main sport, so he liked that it was the kickoff to the event.

“I felt a little bit tired on the biking, but I was able to keep up a little bit,” he said. “I had this competition with my little brother (Wes Proffer), and he was my motivation to keep going. After I saw him coming around the corner, I decided to speed up a little bit.”

Proffer was among 41 participants, up two from 2019. Awards were presented to the top two boys and top two girls in both age groups.

Coming in second to Proffer was Micah Jablonski in 27:25, while Lauren Dowell was the first girl in that age group to finish, clocking 29:35.6.

Dowell, 12, also had done the triathlon in the past.

“I’m on the swim team, so I felt confident about it. It was still not my best, but it was pretty good,” she said of her swimming. “I like the bike because I feel like that’s where you can really get ahead and I feel like that’s what really counts, and it’s the longest part and you can really get a game plan in your head.”

She also is a runner, so she finished strong.

“Just thinking like, ‘Yes, I did it and I’m done and I just did all of this for 30 minutes,’ which is so long and it’s so much endurance,” she said of her thoughts after crossing the finish line. “It helps me to know that I’m stronger mentally than I would have thought because it is physical, but it’s really mental, too, so it really helps with that.”

Kelly Beavers finished second among the 11 to 14 girls in 33:40.3.

In the 6 to 10 age group, Myra Schepman was the overall winner in 18:22.5.

The 9-year-old Cortland Elementary School student said her familiarity with all three aspects of a triathlon helped.

“I have a pond and I swim in it a lot, and everyone in my family has a pool or pond,” she said. “On biking, I started out seventh and I got up to first place, so I felt good about that. … I am a runner, and all people on my (school) running team got awards.”

This was her third year completing the triathlon.

“I did it in the first place because my sister did it and because I was a runner at school and it was fun. Then I just kept doing it because it’s fun and it just gives you something to do and something to be proud of,” Schepman said. “It felt good, especially since last year, we didn’t get to do it. It just felt good that we could do it and I got to finish.”

Carissa Bottorff was second to Schepman in 18:37.3, while Henry Schepman was the first boy in that age group to finish, timing 19:22.6.

Henry, 10, of Paris Crossing said this also was his third youth triathlon. He likes swimming the most and said he participates in the triathlon to get faster for soccer.

Dylan Tiernan was second among the boys, finishing in 19:57.

Triathlon organizer Kendra Zumhingst said she had around 20 kids registered a week before the event, so she was happy with the final turnout Saturday, especially considering there was no race in 2020.

“I love it. It’s like being able to see 43 of my new little racer friends,” she said, smiling. “I’ve done a lot of events myself and I’ve put on a lot of events, and there is nothing like seeing a kid (finish the race). I just feel like when you tap into that racer’s heart, there’s just something special about it.”

She likes giving kids an opportunity to do a triathlon at a young age.

“The thing I love about it is you don’t have to be an athlete to do this,” Zumhingst said. “You can’t go play baseball one day if you haven’t done baseball, but guess what? You can go swim, bike, run if you haven’t done it because most kids have done all of them. It’s just putting them together.”

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Eighth Boys and Girls Club of Seymour Youth Triathlon

Awards went to top two boys and top two girls in both age groups

Ages 6 to 10

Girls: Myra Schepman 18:22.5, Carissa Bottorff 18:37.3

Boys: Henry Schepman 19:22.6, Dylan Tiernan 19:57

Ages 11 to 14

Girls: Lauren Dowell 29:35.6, Kelly Beavers 33:40.3

Boys: Will Proffer 26:47.9, Micah Jablonski 27:25

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