Renee Tomlin was both relieved and elated after earning two victories at the Sarasota-Brandenton Triathlon Festival in Florida over the weekend.
The 29-year-old Ocean City High School graduate essentially won the national championship by taking top honors in the ITU Triathlon World Cup on Saturday at Nathan Benderson Park.
On Sunday, she joined Jason West, Taylor Spivey and Morgan Pearson to give Team USA the victory in the CAMTRI Mixed Relay American Championships.
Tomlin accomplished the feats after missing most of the triathlon season with a stress fracture in her left foot.
“It’s been a very frustrating year for me,” Tomlin said Monday in a phone interview. “So to come back like this meant a lot.”
Tomlin prevailed Saturday in a tight race that featured a different format. Officials were forced to cancel the swim portion of the event due to heightened algae levels in the lake and switched it to a duathlon (run-bike-run).
Competitors were required to do a 2.5K run, an 18.3K bike, then another 5K run. Tomlin, a former track and cross country standout at Ocean City and at Georgetown University, took the lead early in the final run and held off former Hoyas teammate Kirsten Kasper to win in 54 minutes, 34 seconds. Kasper finished in 54:35.
“It’s really exciting to finish on the podium with Renee,” Kasper told USA Triathlon on Saturday. “We run with each other so much throughout the year that it’s kind of second nature to us.”
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2. Chad Severs, soccer, 2001
Maybe the greatest player in Cape-Atlantic League history, Severs scored 159 career goals and led the Red Raiders to two state Group III co-championships.
1. Amanda Nunan, swimming, 2017
Nunan won seven individual titles at the Meet of Champions. She won four straight 500-yard freestyle races and three consecutive 200 freestyle titles. She led the Red Raiders to four consecutive South Jersey Public B titles, three state final appearances and a state championship in 2016. Nunan now swims for the University of Tennessee.
3. John Richardson, track and field, 2003
Richardson is one of the best distance runners in Cape-Atlantic League history. He won the 800- and 1,600-meter runs at the 2003 outdoor track and field championship with one of the most remarkable performances in CAL history. Richardson won the 800 in 1 minute, 51.62 seconds and the 1,600 in 4:09.20.
4. Brittany Sedberry, track and field, 2006
Sedberry won the cross country Meet of Champions in 2003 and 2004.
5. Renee Tomlin, track and field, 2006
Tomlin holds the Cape-Atlantic League girls 800-meter run record (2:09.50). She now competes in international triathlons.
6. Devon Grisbaum, track and field, 2015
Grisbaum won the 2014 cross country Meet of Champions.
7. Sean Mooney, baseball, 2016
Mooney was the 2016 Press Baseball Player of the Year. He led the Red Raiders to the South Jersey Group III title as a senior with a 9-1 record, a 0.63 ERA and 102 strikeouts. He is currently one of the top pitchers in college at St. John's University.
8. Brett Johnson, track and field, 2009
Johnson, front, holds the Cape-Atlantic League 1,600-meter run record (4:09.03), which he set when he won that event at the 2008 outdoor track and field Meet of Champions.
9. Maggie Long, field hockey, swimming, lacrosse, 2001
Long was the 2001 Press Female Athlete of the Year. She played on three state championship field hockey teams. Long is now the Rutgers University head field hockey coach.
10. Julia Duggan, basketball, 2013
Duggan was the 2013 Press Girls Basketball Player of the Year. She averaged 16 points and 10 rebounds to lead the Red Raiders to the 2013 state Group III final. Duggan scored more than 1,000 points and grabbed more than 1,000 rebounds in her career.
11. Danielle McNally, field hockey, 2010
McNally led the Red Raiders to the 2009 state Group III championship. She finished her career with 34 goals and 32 assists.
12. Rachel Hunter, field hockey and track and field, 2006
Hunter played on the 2002 and 2005 Ocean City teams that won state Group III titles. She was selected for the U.S. Olympic Development program.
13. Rich Baker, soccer, 2005
Baker led the Red Raiders to the 2003 state Group III title and the 2004 South Jersey Group III championship. He finished his career with 35 goals and 43 assists.
14. Casey Beyel, field hockey, basketball, lacrosse, 2007
A three-sport standout, Beyel finished her lacrosse career with 162 goals and 57 assists.
15. Kyle Evans, soccer, 2006
Evans led the Red Raiders to the 2005 state Group III championship. He graduated with 50 goals and 46 assists.
16. Rialee Allen, field hockey, 2017
Allen scored a school-record 46 goals and had 33 assists to lead the Red Raiders to the 2016 state Group III championship.
17. Tess Solazzo, lacrosse, 2013
Solazzo scored 110 goals and led the state with 111 assists. She spent her collegiate career at Ohio State.
18. Nancy White, field hockey and basketball, 2008
White led the Red Raiders basketball team to three straight South Jersey finals and the 2008 South Jersey Group III championship. She averaged 10.8 points as a senior.
19. Chris Curran, basketball and football, 2010
Curran excelled on the football field and the basketball court. He led the Red Raiders to the 2010 Cape-Atlantic League boys basketball championship. He scored 33 points and sank the winning basket as Ocean City defeated Lower Cape May 63-60 in the title game. Curran also threw 17 touchdown passes and kicked seven field goals as a senior football player.
20. Rafael Duarte, soccer, 2007
Duarte scored 91 career goals – second best in school history.
21. Adam Sternberger, soccer, 2003
Sternberger scored 76 career goals, third-best in school history.
22. Grace Sacco, basketball, 2017
Sacco was The Press 2017 Girls Basketball Player of the Year. A four-year starter, she led the Red Raiders to two Cape-Atlantic League titles and a state Group III final.
23. Phil Schaffer, soccer and basketball, 2005
A four-year varsity basketball player, Schaffer finished his career with 817 career points.
24. Andrew Donoghue, football, basketball, baseball, 2017
A three-sport standout, Donoghue excelled as the Red Raiders' quarterback, throwing for 1,504 yards as a senor and 1,181 yards as a junior.
25. Danny Nunan, baseball, 2018
The Los Angeles Angels selected Nunan in the 12th round of the MLB Draft in June. The 6-foot-5 left hander was 5-0 with a 1.49 ERA. He struck out 74 batters in 34 2/3 innings.
26. Miles Schoedler, track and field, 2011
A distance runner, Schoedler won Cape May, Cape-Atlantic League, South Jersey and state titles in cross country and indoor and outdoor track and field.
27. Bridget Flynn, track and field, 2014
A distance runner, Flynn won multiple Cape May County, Cape-Atlantic League and South Jersey titles.
28. Maggie Wallace, swimming, 2018
Wallace was the state's top female swimmer this winter. She won the 200- and 500-yard freestyle races at the Meet of Champions. She will swim for Indiana University in the winter.
It was Tomlin’s fourth career victory in an International Triathlon Union (ITU) race. The race also served as the USA Triathlon Elite National Championships, with the top-three U.S. finishers comprising the national team.
Such an accomplishment didn’t seem possible a few months ago.
Tomlin suffered a navicular stress fracture in her foot while training in February. She attempted a comeback at a triathlon in Jun, but reinjured it and was forced to take more time off.
“It was a very challenging time for me physically, mentally and emotionally,” Tomlin said. “I learned a lot about myself.”
She came through with another big win in Sunday’s mixed relay.
As it was in Saturday’s race, the swim was canceled. Each athlete completed a 750-meter run, 6.1K bike and another 1.5K run before tagging off to the next teammate. The combined time for all four teammates determined the outcome.
Team USA completed it in 1 hour, 7 minutes, 40 seconds. Team Canada took the silver medal in 1:07.45, followed by Brazil in 1:08.
Tomlin led off for Team USA and overcame a mechanical issue with her bike in transition to tag West while in second place. Spivey went third and Pearson was the anchor.
“I had a mistake in the first transition where I dropped my (bike) chain,” Tomlin said. “I lost my lead (after the first run), but I was able to cut it (to four or five seconds) during the second run and put Jason in pretty good position. It was a good learning experience, working through little things that can cost you.”
Tomlin, who lives and trains in Colorado Springs, Colorado, is spending a few days visiting with friends and family in Ocean City before heading to South Korea next week to compete Tongyeong ITU Triathlon World Cup. A few weeks later, she will race in the Miyazaki ITU Triathlon World Cup in Japan.
She hopes a strong effort in 2019 will help her chances of making the U.S. Olympic team that will compete in Tokyo in 2020. In addition to the individual men’s and women’s races, there will also be a mixed relay for the first time in the Olympics.
“Adding the mixed relay is huge for the sport,” Tomlin said. “I would love to be a part of that. I’ve always enjoyed competing in relays.”