USA Triathlon has announced its 2018 Coaches of the Year – awarded to Ian O’Brien, Derick Williamson and Christy Lausch. The USA Triathlon high performance staff selected the trio for their accomplishments in coaching national team athletes, paratriathletes and developmental athletes, respectively.
National Coach of the Year: Ian O’Brien
Ian O’Brien, Head Coach of ORIGIN Performance, coached Eli Hemming (Kiowa, CO) to a breakout 2018 season on the elite International Triathlon Union (ITU) circuit. Hemming earned his first two career ITU Triathlon World Cup podiums, a career-best 11th-place ITU World Triathlon Series finish, a 16th-place finish at the ITU World Triathlon Grand Final as the top US man, two ITU Continental Cup (CAMTRI) victories and a gold medal as part of the US team at the Nottingham ITU World Mixed Relay Series event. For his successes, Hemming was named USA Triathlon’s 2018 Olympic/ITU Male Athlete of the Year.
O’Brien also led Kyleigh Spearing (Frankfort, Ill.) to a fourth-place standing in the 2018 ITU Under-23 rankings, and Gillian Cridge (Indianapolis, Ind.) to the number one spot in the USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Rankings. Another ORIGIN athlete, Kevin Bishop (Los Altos, Calif.), represented the US at the 2018 FISU World University Triathlon Championship in Kalmar, Sweden.
Notably, earlier this month, O’Brien coached Matt McElroy (Huntington Beach, Calif.) to a silver at ITU World Triathlon Leeds – the first US men’s medal in an ITU World Triathlon Series event since 2009.
“To be recognized as one of the best elite coaches in the United States is a huge honour, especially with so many talented coaches on the circuit,” O’Brien said.
Paralympic Coach of the Year: Derick Williamson
Derick Williamson serves as Head Coach of the Toyota USA Paratriathlon Resident Team, which launched in 2018 and is based at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Through his leadership of that program, Williamson coached Allysa Seely (Glendale, Ariz.), Hailey Danz (Wauwatosa, Wis.), Howie Sanborn (Denver, Colo.) and Mohamed Lahna (Colorado Springs, Colo.) to notable performances on the ITU elite paratriathlon circuit.
“It’s an honour in and of itself to work with our Team USA paratriathletes,” Williamson said. “This recognition is humbling and simply a reflection of the dedication and hard work those athletes put in every day.”
Developmental Coach of the Year: Christy Lausch
Christy Lausch is the Head Coach of Mini Cow Tri/MC Elite, a youth and junior high performance team based in Mount Airy, Maryland. In 2018, she helped guide MC Elite athlete Fielding Fischer (Chevy Chase, Md.) to a successful season on the USA Triathlon Junior Elite race circuit, which included a victory at the USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championships.
Lausch also served as the team coach for the US at the FISU World University Triathlon Championship in Sweden, where Avery Evenson (Brighton, Mich.) secured a silver medal in the women’s event and the US finished fourth in the mixed relay.
In addition, Lausch contributed to the development of USA Triathlon’s top up-and-coming stars by hosting a Youth and Junior Skills Camp in Westminster, Maryland, for the sixth consecutive year. She also served as the camp director for USA Triathlon’s junior women’s camp held last November at the US Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Finally, she worked with Meg Duncan, USA Triathlon’s Youth Program Manager, to refresh the Athlete Development Model (ADM), which aims to promote sustained sport participation and improve the long-term well-being of young athletes.
“I am completely humbled to be recognized by USA Triathlon with this honour given the breadth and depth of coaching talent youth and junior triathletes enjoy today,” Lausch said. “This honour is truly a group effort. I thank every triathlete I have coached along the way, the talented and passionate coaches I’ve learned from and coach alongside, and USA Triathlon for the opportunities to mentor new coaches through coaching education.”