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franklin county times

Good field expected for Sunfish

By By Marty Stamper / EMG sports assistant
July 11, 2002
Neither defending champion will return for Saturday's 16th-annual Sunfish Summer Triathlon at Collinsville's Lake Okatibbee, but that doesn't mean the field won't be a strong one.
Defending women's champion Deanna Frank has turned professional and is mainly competing in Ironman events this year.
Defending men's champion Joseph Curro will be competing in the duathlon nationals out west.
Plumb is a legend among area triathlons. He won the Sunfish in 1988 and has finished first in the Heart O'Dixie Triathlon a record six times.
Meridian Athletic Association president and Sunfish race director Rich Hajek anticipates a good race Saturday.
The half-mile swim, 34K bike, and 8K run will follow the same course as last year when the course was re-routed due to work on the roads in the Collinsville area.
The race begins at 7 a.m.
One reason the field is expected to be strong is that is the Southeast Regional Club Championship for USA Triathlon.
Wiese said the club competition is divided into four groups – those with one to 20 members, those with 21-40, those with 41-60, and those with over 60. The MAA is in the 60-plus group.
In addition to the MAA, other teams that will be competing are Los Locos of Memphis, along with teams from Jackson and Auburn, Ala.
As of Sunday night, some 250 athletes had already pre-registered, Wiese said.
There will be no race-day registration. Athletes may pick up their packets Friday at the Holiday Inn Northeast from 5-9 p.m. That will also be the final registration time.
Persons wishing to watch the race can see all phases of the event from the Lake Okatibbee area.
Vic Perini of Cordova, Tenn., has won the event a record five times – in 1994 and from 1996-1999.
Lori Lazzari King is the top women's champion at the Sunfish with four championships – 1988, 1989, 1992, and 1997.