COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon announced the initial roster for Project Podium, a men’s elite development squad to be based at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. The program, which begins operations this month, is designed to develop top young male triathletes in the United States to achieve medal performances in major international competition and, ultimately, the Olympic Games.
The program enables college-aged triathletes with significant competitive potential to train in a daily high-performance environment while earning an undergraduate degree at ASU. Athletes may receive scholarship funds and stipends from USA Triathlon based on competitive performance.
Project Podium is owned by USA Triathlon in partnership with ASU. Head coach Parker Spencer will lead all day-to-day coaching operations as a full-time staff member of USA Triathlon, while Cliff English, head coach of the ASU NCAA Division I women’s triathlon team, will serve as program director.
“We are excited to launch Project Podium with a roster of ideal athletes we believe have the potential to meet the long-term goals we have set for the program,” Spencer said. “I have really enjoyed getting to know each of them and their families through the recruitment process. I know we have not only great athletes on our team, but guys with great character and a strong work ethic that will create the team culture we will need to meet the goals we have set for 2024 and 2028.”
“I am very pleased with the exceptional quality of the team that Parker has recruited to launch the Project Podium program at ASU,” English said. “I believe we have some of the best American talent assembled here on this young team, and now the stage is set to develop them into world-class athletes leading up to 2024 and 2028.”
Project Podium athletes will have access to Sun Devil Athletics’ facilities, including the aquatic facility, weight room and outdoor track for regular training sessions. Sun Devil Athletics will provide the squad with sports medicine resources, strength and conditioning services and nutrition counseling. The university will also provide academic support services.
The target demographic for program recruits is male athletes under 25 years of age who possess significant competitive potential, are skilled and experienced in the sport of triathlon and are committed to the draft-legal Olympic-distance format of racing.
Erik Armes (Coronado, Calif.) comes to Project Podium from Auburn University, where he was a member of the men’s cross-country and track teams. At Auburn, he ran 2 minutes, 22 seconds for 1,000 meters, 4:10 for the mile and 14:33 for 5 kilometers. He has also competed for USA Track & Field’s U.S. Junior Mountain Running Team. Armes has a competitive background in both swimming and cycling, and has trained with the USA Triathlon Collegiate Recruitment Program.
Austin Hindman (Wildwood, Mo.) joins the squad as a transfer from the University of Missouri, where he competed for the men’s cross-country and track teams. The nine-time Missouri high school state champion in cross-country and track had a strong freshman year at Mizzou, running personal bests of 4:04 for the mile and 8:43 for the 3,200m. Hindman captured the 2016 ITU Triathlon Junior World Championship title as well as the 2016 USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championships bronze medal.
Chase McQueen (Columbus, Ind.) is transferring from the University of Arizona, where he ran cross-country and track for two years. McQueen has represented the U.S. at two ITU Junior World Championships, his best result being 12th last year. He has been one of USA Triathlon’s top junior elite athletes for several years, reaching the podium at the last three USA Triathlon Junior Elite National Championships.
Nick Johnson (West Des Moines, Iowa) comes to the Project Podium squad as a freshman. He is currently one of top athletes on USA Triathlon’s junior elite circuit, placing top-10 at three Junior Elite Cups this season and taking 14th at the Brasilia CAMTRI Junior American Championships in June. Johnson placed 15th at last weekend’s Junior Elite National Championships.
Luis Ortiz (Orlando, Fla.) is a freshman who will join Project Podium in October. He will represent the U.S. at the ITU Junior World Championships, set for Sept. 15 in Gold Coast, Australia. Ortiz leads USA Triathlon’s junior elite national rankings after placing second at last weekend’s Junior Elite National Championships. At Nationals, he also anchored the winning MMTT Sammy’s Gold mixed relay team. Ortiz placed fifth as the top U.S. athlete at the Brasilia CAMTRI Junior American Championships in June and claimed silver at the 2017 USA Triathlon High School National Championships.
Duncan Reid (Palos Verdes Estates, Calif.) is a transfer from Oberlin College, where he competed on the men’s NCAA Division III cross-country and swim teams. Reid placed third at this year’s USA Triathlon Under-23 National Championships and earned his first ITU Continental Cup podium in June. In 2017, he was fourth at Junior Elite Nationals and was the men’s overall champion at the USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Duathlon World Qualifier.
For more information about USA Triathlon’s Project Podium, or to inquire about the recruitment process, contact Parker Spencer at firstname.lastname@example.org.