08/07/11 — Greenville's Rowan takes overall male crown at triathlon

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Greenville's Rowan takes overall male crown at triathlon

By Ryan Hanchett
Published in Sports on August 7, 2011 1:50 AM

An overcast morning greeted 86 of the state's best athletes on Saturday at the 26th annual Goldsboro YMCA Sprint Triathlon.

None of the competitors seemed to mind as the cloudy conditions led to slightly cooler temperatures for the event --a half-mile swim, a 20-mile bicycle ride and a three-mile run.

Phillip Rowan, of Greenville, took advantage and completed the course in 1 hour, 26 minutes and 53 seconds to claim first place overall.

"It was actually a little bit hotter than I expected when I got here this morning," Rowan said. "It was pretty humid, but I guess it's a pretty good day for it. I was able to do pretty well."

Pretty well, indeed.

Rowan entered the final stage, a three-mile trek through the village of Walnut Creek, in second place. He moved into first when the leader was forced to stop due to an unspecified injury. A five-year veteran of triathlons, Rowan finished the run with a sprint and stood three minutes clear of the overall runner-up.

"The swim is definitely my weakest part of the race," Rowan said. "I have been a runner pretty much my whole life, so that is normally where I make up ground."

The victory was Rowan's first in five attempts at Walnut Creek. His previous best finish was third place.

Kyle Pitchford, of Greenville, finished second in 1:29.57. Eamon Kromka, of Morehead City, took third place in 1:33.55.

In the team competition the trio of Steve Phillips, Mark Pietryka and Patrick Wolf claimed first-place honors. Wolf, a Goldsboro native, took care of the team's duties in the running stage.

"I felt pretty good and the guys all really did a great job," Wolf said. "We all run cross country and track at our high schools so we felt good about it coming in. It's definitely something that the three of us would do again."

Phillips and Pietryka are both from Cary.

The event, which has been hosted by the village of Walnut Creek the past eight years, has become a favorite of runners in eastern North Carolina. The total number of entrants was down slightly from 2010 when 100 athletes took to the calm waters of Lake Wackena.

"We really have to thank the people of Walnut Creek for hosting us and allowing us to use their village for our course," YMCA representative Kriquette Davis said. "Every year they are very accommodating to our sponsors, volunteers and athletes."

Computerized scoring for the event was provided by East Carolina Road Racing. All of the proceeds from the event go to the Goldsboro YMCA scholarship fund.