2021 DC Triathlon Club Award Nominations

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    It is that time of the year. Triathlon race season is winding down and we start to look back over the course of the year. At our races. At the friends we made. At the fun that we have had. Every year at the club’s Annual Meeting, we give out some fun awards to our members nominated and voted on by their teammates! Put on your thinking cap and reflect back over the year to gather your nominees! We are so pleased to bring these awards back and look forward to seeing great nominees.

    We are now accepting nominations for the following awards for the 2019 year:

    • Brady Nelson Memorial* Spirit of DC Tri (cheers everyone on, wears DC Tri, etc.; essentially the DC Tri Club mascot)
    • Club Member of the Year (someone who represents the Club as a whole)
    • Most Improved (male AND female)
    • Rookie of the Year (male AND female) (their first year doing triathlon)
    • Veteran Athlete of the Year (male AND female) (not their first year doing triathlon)

    If you would like to nominate someone for one of these categories, please do so below. This is an open nomination process, so yes, it is public. Nominees must be current Club members. The nominees will be included on the ballot with the Board of Directors elections and the winners will be announced at the Annual Meeting on December 11th. Please submit all nominations by 11:59 pm on Sunday, November 14th.

    We ask that you, please nominate people for discrete categories and be clear which award you are nominating them for when posting. And yes, people can be nominated for multiple categories (except for rookie and veteran, obviously).

    Reach out to me at President@dctriclub.org with any questions!

    President | DC Triathlon Club

    *If you would like to learn more about Brady Nelson and why we are honoring him with a memorial award, please visit this Facebook link and read the comments: Brady Nelson Memorium»


    It’s a weird year to do awards having no programs which is where a lot of these come from, but looking back over the last two years and my thoughts:

    • Brady Nelson (I still miss you Brady) Spirit of DCTri: Sean Maloney – always races in a DCTri kit, is a co-leader of the TriOut group (our LGBTQ+ (and friends) group, which EVERYONE should join), is always supportive about everything DCTriClub does, and just several weeks before IMLP wiped out on his bike and broke his collarbone yet still came up to IMLP to cheer and spectate and volunteer at the finish line. Everything that the Spirit of DCTri embodies.
    • Club Member: Courtney Waltimyer – represented everything DCTriClub stood for and always will. 😢😢
    • MI Male: Joe Shields and Daniel Smith – I couldn’t decide which one of these two to nominate, so I’m nominating both and I hope equally that they both win (so I’m hoping for a tie). They both absolutely astounded me with their performances this year to the point of my jaw dropping and me going: “where did these guys come from and how did they get so @#$*&$ fast?!?!?” I’m beyond impressed with both of them. They are astounding and beyond the most improved.
    • MI Female: Eva Kodouskova – continuously amazes me on the race course!
    • RoTY Male: John Sener – FINALLY did his first triathlon this year! NTP last year but STILL the RoTY!
    • RoTY Female: Sadly, I do not know offhand of a female to nominate for RoTY. 🙁 I hope some NTP folk from last year know of an awesome lady to nominate in this category!
    • Veteran Male: Brian Lee – dude just did his first HIM and crushed it! With a SMILE on his face!
    • Veteran Female: Joyce Jones – might not have done a triathlon this year, but was incredibly supportive, encouraging and motivating in the virtual challenges that lots of us did.

    Also I still click on that link to FB about Brady and tear up….. 😢😢😢


    Yay to John Sener for doing his first triathlon! We also had a number of people that self-trained since there was no NTP this year and I would like to nominate Charles Taylor for RoTY Male who I think did three triathlon races including Luray and Cal Tri DC!

    We had a number people doing their first half at Ironman Maine 70.3. In particular, Chelsey Berlin and Jonathan Deng who had never run a half marathon before. That’s a good time as any! I would like to nominate them for most improved female and male.

    I would also like to nominate Cindy Hutchings for veteran female. After numerous postponements and deferrals, she finally got to do her first Ironman this year and she killed it, qualifying twice for Kona, particularly at a challenging Ironman Coeur d’Alene where a number of folks dropped out from the heat and then later at Ironman Maryland where she was falsely DQ for missing a swim turn and had to plead her case with the referees by showing her watch data–an Ironman in itself!


    John Sener

    I would like to nominate Cynthia Steele for Club Member of the Year. She led the Off-Season Spin Program in the winter; she was an active club cheerleader and participant at the Rev3 Williamsburg Tri, where she was among the first people to model for me how DC Tri Club members cheer for their own and for other participants; and she’s been active at club social events as well. Her consistent and active encouragement throughout these activities helped me get ‘over the hump’ and complete the first of the four tris I was able to do this year. I don’t know if that’s enough to earn the Club Member of the Year award, but I would at least like to recognize her for her many contributions to the club this year.


    Brady Nelson – Kelly Lefler. She goes way above and beyond for DCTri, goes to countless races to cheer everyone on, and always has an encouraging word when seen on the race course.

    Club Member – Bryan Frank. I mean let’s be honest, name one person that has done more for this club than Bryan.

    Rookie Male – Brian Lee. Dude pushed himself to entirely new limits this year and despite moving out of town stayed dialed in to all things DCTri.

    Veteran Male – Jeff Halper. He makes us all look bad with his DCTri badassery. He is a phenomenal community group leader and excellent ambassador for the club. He makes everyone feel included and even picks you up in the middle of nowhere when you need to be taken to the ER after a bike wreck. Or is that just me?

    Veteran Female – Joyce Jones. She’s old. Like real old. But still beats me all the time. She gives so much of herself and is always supporting club events.

    Chelsey Berlin

    Brady Nelson Memorial* Spirit of DC Tri – Kelly Lefler, because obviously. In addition to all that she does for the club and sport, Kelly provided invaluable emotional support and tips via last minute panic texting with those of us NTP2019 alums that did our first long-course race this season.

    Club Member of the Year – Cindy Hutchings. Simply put, it was absolutely inspiring to watch Cindy’s season unfold via the club’s instagram account this year. For like half a second after the Ironman Maryland coverage, I was like maybe I should do a full Ironman next year?! You almost convinced me, Cindy, almost! 😉

    Most Improved Male – Jonathan Deng. Like myself, Jon did his first long course race at Ironman 70.3 Maine this year which included his first half marathon! I know from experience how nerve racking that must have been for you. 😉 Way to go, Jon!

    Veteran Athlete of the Year Female – Juene Rader. Juene participated in seven triathlons this year! Juene effectively learned to swim during our NTP year in 2019 and then she fearlessly took on an ocean swim at 2021 Ironman 70.3 Maine — her first long course race ever! (She also did three run races, one obstacle course race, and one swim run.) At Culpeper Triathlon Festival, Juene created three sprint relay teams with her family members, inspiring and empowering them all to get involved in this sport that she’s so excited about. Juene is also a dedicated member of the club participating in weekly NOVA track workouts, virtual and in-person happy hours and other DCTri event including book club and the event with Taylor Knibb. I look forward to seeing what Juene does as one of the NTP co-leads next year!

    Veteran Athlete of the Year Male – Romain Taravella. It is simply a pleasure to race with Romain. He is F*&#King fast and yet embodies the cheerful, joyful, and inclusive spirit that makes this sport so fun for athletes of all abilities and experience levels! Romain finished his first long course race at Ironman 70.3 Maine at 4:35:54 placing 99th overall, 95th by gender, and 17th in his age group. Congrats, Romain!

    Kyoko Kawai

    There are so many people I would like to nominate to these categories.  But, I came down to these nominations.

    • Club Member of the Year Courtney Waltimyer : Even a few weeks before her passing, she was willing to help New Triathlete Program from Florida if there were any needs.  Her willingness to help other athletes/encourage each other represents DC Tri Club.
    • Most Improved Female Juliana Bilowich: At the 2021 Waterman triathlon, she cut 30 minutes from her NTP Olympic distance Waterman triathlon in 2019.  She did extensive OWS by swimming between different islands in Greece during summer and became a strong swimmer.  Also her weight lift training added more power to her run.
    • Most Improved Male Luke Engan:  After taking a long break from his first super sprint triathlon in 2012, he returned to triathlon and completed Eagleman and Ironman Idaho in 2021.
    • Veteran Athlete of the Year Female Cindy Hutchings: She was qualified for Kona at her first Ironman distance triathlon and also qualified for Kona at her second Ironman in 2021 at IM Maryland. Amazing.
    • Veteran Athlete of the Year Male Evan Shinbaum: he enjoys HIM distance races and he was qualified and raced the HIM Championship at St. George this year. He was also certified as a USAT Level 1 triathlon coach in 2021 and he is exciting to help triathletes achieve their goals.
    Kyoko Kawai


    Luke Engan finished Ironman Indiana (not Idaho) .  😉


    Club Member of the Year – Kyoko Kawai. Kyoko is very generous with her time and energy for the Club. She resumed and leads NoVA track, is the Coach for NTP and coordinates the NoVA community group. She is always coming up with new ideas and engaging members.

    Most Improved, Male – Nick Waldrup. Nick did his first IM this year, IMLP. It was 2020 goal that was postponed to 2021 and he crushed it.

    Veteran Athlete, Female – Liz Baugher. Liz had major hip surgery early January. She shared her recovery process (lots of swimming and rebuilding strength), then crushed her races later in the season with Overall podium finishes at 2 Swim/Runs, Luray and an especially huge podium finish at SOS Triathlon.

    Veteran Athlete, Male – Matt Sarge. Matt did 5 triathlons this year, always finishing in the top 3 OA except at Rock Hall where he couldn’t find the swim exit. He is always a consistently strong athlete.


    Thanks for all the great nominations. Love reading through them!

    I reached out to a few of the nominated today to remind them to renew their membership before the election closes (reminder that only members can win awards)!  Don’t forget to do that today or tomorrow!


    Still chance to nominate.  Nominations close on Sunday at midnight and the ballot system should email everyone the ballots on Monday morning.

    Melani Robinson

    (Bare with me as I’m writing this with one working wrist)

    Club member of the year: Courtney Waltimyer- the absolute GOAT and such an Inspiration to me. She will be missed so much!

    Most improved: Chelsey Berlin- chelsey is one of the most determined and hard working individuals I have ever met. We trained together for Maine 70.3 twice. She persevered through several injuries and killed that race when we were finally able to do it. She then did another Tri two weeks later shaving several minutes of her oly time. She inspires me daily and is very deserving!



    Sorry – meant to make Brian Lee Most Improved male not Rookie. He definitely didn’t start this year. Oops!


    Nominations are now closed!

    The election information has gone out via an email from noreply@opavote.com.  The ballot will stay open until November 23rd at midnight.

    Thanks for nominating and voting!  

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