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Baldwin grad wins sprint triathlon

| Saturday, Aug. 8, 2015, 4:12 p.m.

Paul DeGregorio wasn't crazy about his swim during the sprint triathlon Saturday at Point State Park. He purchased a bicycle just within the past year. And during the transition between events, he had trouble switching between cycling and running shoes.

But don't feel bad for DeGregorio, a 2011 Baldwin graduate who ran collegiately at Duquesne and Kentucky. After he got his running shoes on, he raced to first place in the men's division. His time of 59 minutes, 33 seconds made him the only competitor to complete the 600-meter swim, 20K cycle ride and 5K run in less than an hour.

It was the run that sealed the victory for DeGregorio and put him ahead of David Wirth (1:01:42) and Alex Hanson (1:04:02). DeGregorio's 5K finish of 16:25 was the fastest of the day.

“This is my first triathlon,” said DeGregorio, who earned gold in the 3,200 meters at the WPIAL track and field championships during his senior year. “The swim was something new. I've never done an open-water swim before. I've been working on my swimming and biking for about a year. On the run, I just ran as hard as I could. I ran in college and knew my run would be OK.”

Edith Nauit, 27, of Pittsburgh who was raised in Virginia and competed for the Virginia Tech Triathlon Club, was the first female to finish. She crossed in 1:09:41.

Nauit, who placed second in 2014, edged last year's winner, Ashley Kearcher (1:10:42) as well as Paula Perea (1:12:06).

The race used to end on the North Shore, but organizers moved the finish to Point State Park with a scenic view of the iconic fountain just before runners made their final push to the finish.

“The new course is a tremendous hit,” said Thomas Baxter, executive director of Friends of the Riverfront. “People love running around the Point. It's not only an urban triathlon, but it really shows off the City of Pittsburgh.”

The morning was cool, and the sun was shining, making conditions perfect. That eased concerns regarding potential river water hazards.

At least one triathlete who suffered from vomiting and diarrhea needed to be hospitalized after last year's international-distance race. Rain triggered sewer overflow nine hours before that race, contaminating the water.

“Overall, I thought the race quality was great this year,” Nauit said. “(Organizers) did a great job. I thought it was better this year.”

Saturday also featured the Adventure Race, which includes a two-mile paddle, 20K ride and 5K run. Mike Cole won the male division in 1:17:07, while Edna Spang was the top female at 1:24:02.

The 18th annual Pittsburgh Triathlon is slated to begin at 6:45 a.m. Sunday at Point State Park.

Ed Phillipps is a freelance writer.

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