USA Triathlon has announced six winners of the 2016 Multisport Awards presented by Garmin, which recognize USA Triathlon members who fuelled the multisport lifestyle in the 2016 season:
Jeff Jewell Spirit Award: JoAnna Younts (Chapel Hill, N.C.)
JoAnna Younts (Chapel Hill, N.C.) was named the recipient of the 2016 Jeff Jewell Spirit Award. This award honours Jeff Jewell, a massage therapist for Team USA from 2001-09, an active triathlete and devoted USA Triathlon annual member. He lost his battle with brain cancer on 15 November 2010. USAT adds that he was one of life’s biggest cheerleaders and was an inspiration to everyone he met. The recipient of this award is someone who truly embodies the spirit of Jeff Jewell.
JoAnna Younts has served on the USA Triathlon Mid-Atlantic Regional Council since 2010, and is also a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach and Certified Race Director. She raced her first triathlon in 1994, and is now an age-group national champion in triathlon and duathlon as well as a two-time Kona qualifier. She is the founder of Kids Tri NC, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that produces multisport clinics and triathlons for kids in North Carolina. In addition, Younts is the Race Director for the Tar Heel Youth Triathlon Series, the proceeds of which are donated to local youth development organizations.
“Triathlon has given me so much over the years, from fitness and self-confidence to a whole network of friends and acquaintances who share my passion for sport, health and the outdoors,” Younts said. “It has been a joy to see so many kids enjoying the sport that I love, and I’m truly grateful for all of the people who have supported Kids Tri NC in so many ways over the years.”
Military Sport Award: U.S. Army Captain David Mudek (Fort Polk, La.)
U.S. Army Captain David Mudek (Fort Polk, La.) is the recipient of the 2016 Military Sport Award, which recognizes the multisport successes achieved by the men and women of the US Armed Forces.
Mudek is a 2007 graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, where he received a commission in the US Army as an Infantry Second Lieutenant. Due to injuries sustained in service, Mudek transitioned in 2012 from coaching wrestling and participating in MMA/combatives to triathlon, and he found a new passion in the challenges it provided.
During the 2016 race season, Mudek served as an Infantry Officer and the Chief of Protocol at the Joint Readiness Training Center at Fort Polk, Louisiana. He successfully managed hundreds of distinguished visitors while training for multiple triathlons, including the USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships, ITU Age-Group Sprint World Championships and IRONMAN 70.3 World Championships.
Mudek is a USA Triathlon Level I Certified Coach and the founder and head coach of Triple Victor Sports, a triathlon team composed primarily of military service members. Mudek also participates in and assists with local Team Red, White and Blue (Team RWB) events; is an alumni ambassador for Smile Train, an international children’s charity; and volunteers his time working with Fort Polk and Fort Bragg soldiers and their families to prioritize wellness, nutrition and exercise.
Most Inspirational Comeback Award: Daniel P. Nolan (Upper Arlington, Ohio)
The Most Inspirational Comeback Award, which recognizes athletes who have made a comeback to the sport after a traumatic or troublesome situation, was awarded to Daniel P. Nolan (Upper Arlington, Ohio). After placing third at the 2015 USA Triathlon Aquabike National Championships, Nolan set a goal of winning a national title at the 2016 event.
In February of 2016, two weeks after registering for that year’s Aquabike Nationals, Nolan was hit by an SUV and suffered a broken acetabulum (hip socket), a blood clot, nerve injury to his right arm and multiple cuts and bruises. He remained on crutches for seven weeks, but made a full recovery and arrived at the start line of Aquabike Nationals in November in Miami.
Nolan also overcame challenges within the race itself, suffering a punctured tube on the bike but still racing to victory in the men’s 30-34 age group to become a national champion.
“I’m excited to represent my country as a member of Team USA at the upcoming ITU Multisport World Championships Festival in Penticton, Canada,” Nolan said. “I graciously accept this award as validation of the hard work it took to overcome my injuries. I encourage others who have faced adversity to accept their challenges one day at a time, and recognize that consistent effort reaps reward.”
Spirit of Multisport Award: Nancy Reinisch (Glenwood Springs, Colo.)
The Spirit of Multisport Award recognizes individuals who illustrate the positive spirit of the sport through acts of sportsmanship and leadership in multisport, with no deference to athletic ability. This award was given to Nancy Reinisch, a longtime triathlete, coach and cancer survivor from Glenwood Springs, Colorado.
Reinisch has competed in 97 triathlons over the past thirty years, and is hoping to reach 100 this summer to earn her place in USA Triathlon’s Century Club. She is the co-founder of the Roaring Fork Women’s Triathlon Team, where she has led 60 women each summer for the past 18 years to their first experience with the sport. She is also the creator of the Mother’s Day Mile, an immensely popular local race that raises thousands of dollars each year for the Advocate Safehouse Project of Garfield County.
Reinisch also trained, coached and guided visually-impaired paratriathlete Nancy Stevens for two years, ultimately resulting in a gold medal for Stevens in the women’s visually-impaired division at the ITU Triathlon World Championships in Lausanne, Switzerland, in 2006.
A two-time survivor of advanced breast cancer, Reinisch authored and published the 2008 book Chemosabee: A Triathlete’s Journey Through the First Year of Breast Cancer. She is a professional psychotherapist and the founder and facilitator of the Valley View Hospital Cancer Coffee Walk and Talk Group.
Lifetime Achievement Award: Tom Reilly (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Steve Tarpinian (New York, N.Y., in memoriam)
The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes those individuals who have made significant contributions to USA Triathlon and the multisport lifestyle as a whole. These contributions, whether they have been in performance, leadership, volunteerism or mentorship, must demonstrate impact on the multisport lifestyle and support an extended commitment to the sport. The 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award recipients are Tom Reilly (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and Steve Tarpinian (New York, N.Y.), who passed away in March of 2015 and is receiving the award in memoriam.
Reilly is one of the most experienced officials in the sport of triathlon, having served as a USA Triathlon Certified Official, World Triathlon Corporation official, ITU official and the USA Triathlon Regional Officials Coordinator for both the Florida and Mideast Regions. A former national board member from Florida, he is currently the vice-chair of the Florida Regional council.
As a USA Triathlon Official, Reilly has officiated at nearly 200 multisport events, including some of the highest-profile competitions in the United States. As a Regional Officials Coordinator, he has taught more than 100 certification and recertification clinics, training hundreds of officials in the Florida Region. Recognized for his professionalism and service to multisport, USA Triathlon and the Florida Region, Reilly was inducted into the inaugural Florida Region Hall of Fame last year.
“I’m humbled and honored,” Reilly said. “I could never have accomplished as much as I have without the dedication and support of [USA Triathlon Commissioner of Officials] Charlie Crawford and all of my fellow USAT Certified Officials.”
Renowned triathlon coach Tarpinian became involved in triathlon in 1982 as an age-group athlete, and his commitment and passion for the sport quickly became apparent to anyone who knew him. He was an accomplished triathlete himself, finishing 18 IRONMAN races and 14 Maui XTERRA Triathlon Championship Events, but contributed far more to the sport throughout his life.
In 1999, the Mighty Hamptons Triathlon, the first triathlon held on the east coast in 1982, was in danger of extinction after losing its title sponsor. Tarpinian’s company, EventPower, stepped in to purchase the event, continuing the race’s historic tradition. The inaugural event in 1982 had about 200 starters and included some of the sport’s most revered legends: Dave Scott, John Howard, Scott Tinley, Julie Moss and Allison Roe. Because of Tarpinian, the race continued to grow and improve.
In addition to producing the Mighty Hamptons, Tarpinian founded several other adult and youth triathlons in the New York metro area, coached and developed multiple junior and adult triathlon teams, and produced a variety of swimming clinics, DVDs and books. He built a successful business in EventPower that laid a foundation for triathlon in Long Island, including teams, events and coaching services.
Tarpinian was a member of the charter National Coaching Committee that created the USA Triathlon Coaching Certification Program and gave continuing education credit seminars for the USA Triathlon coaching community. He was well known and respected in the national and international triathlon communities for his swim expertise. He conducted triathlon swim clinics in both the US and Europe for age groupers, and coached professional triathletes as well. He passed away on 15 March 2015, in Sedona, Arizona.