Santiago Ascenco has been competing in triathlons for 23 years, tackling more than 400 of them all over the world. But nothing inspires the 38-year-old Brazilian more than the 400 triathletes he coaches back home in Goiania, the capital of the Brazilian state of Goiás.
Those athletes of different levels of talent all made their way to the forefront of Ascenco’s mind Sunday morning as he began the run portion of the South Beach Triathlon and stared down a 20-second gap between himself and the lead in the International Division of the race.
“My team likes to know that their coach is still motivated,” Ascenco said. “I have to win. They pay attention to that stuff. That inspires me to keep pushing and be an example for those athletes.”
Ascenco accomplished his mission of reaching the front about a mile into the six-mile final stage and cruised home to victory over Kyle Hooker of Jacksonville, who was 1:10 behind Ascenco’s winning time of 1:54:30.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Gaby Bunten, who flew in from St. Paul, Minnesota, for the South Beach experience, won the women’s International competition in 2:16:40. Andreas Moraitis of Winter Park won the men’s Classic Wave in 1:32:38 while Croatian Daria Pletikapa captured the women’s Classic championship in 1:45:51.
The 2017 South Beach Triathlon, part of the eight-race nationwide Life Time Tri Series, had a field of 2,300 athletes from 30 states and 31 countries. The race served as a fundraiser for Save The Children, the leading International children’s relief organization which works in 120 countries, including the United States, as well as St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
▪ Wake Forest 9, UM 0: The University of Miami (12-16, 5-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) dropped the series rubber match against visiting Wake Forest (21-8, 8-4).
Miami struggled to generate any offensive momentum against Wake Forest starter Connor Johnstone, while the Demon Deacons jumped out to an early lead it would not relinquish.
UM sophomore Michael Mediavilla lasted just 3 2/3 innings. The left-hander threw 83 pitches, walked three and scattered five hits in front of 2,431 fans.
▪ FIU 6, UAB 2: FIU freshman right-hander Nick MacDonald quieted the recently noisy UAB bats, and the Panthers got four consecutive hits in the fourth and another home run from Nick Day to beat the visiting Blazers.
FIU (16-11, 5-4 Conference USA) took two of three from UAB (15-13, 4-5). The Panthers have won six of their past seven series.
No. 15 UM wrapped up competition at the 2017 Bryan National Collegiate event, finishing seventh in Greensboro, North Carolina. The Hurricanes fired a final-day team score of 296 and finished the event with a three-round score of 883.
UM sophomore Dewi Weber just missed her seventh top-10 finish of the season, tying for 11th. Weber shot 73 and had a three-round total of 216.
▪ Barry 9, Florida Tech 0: No. 2 Barry shut out Florida Tech to complete a two-match Sunshine State Conference trip. Flavio Matteoli, Fernando Tous, Thomas Bugeaud and Daniel Ventural picked up singles wins for the Buccaneers (15-1, 5-0) against Florida Tech (12-10, 1-4).
▪ Wake Forest 7, UM 0: The visiting Hurricanes (6-9, 0-6 ACC) lost to top-ranked Wake Forest (19-1, 7-0).
▪ Florida Southern 6, Nova Southeastern 3: The host Sharks (5-8, 2-4 SSC) suffered their fourth loss in a row, falling to Florida Southern (11-5, 5-2).
▪ Florida Atlantic 5, FIU 2: FIU (31-8, 7-2 Conference USA) walked 10 in the loss at Florida Atlantic (24-12, 7-2), as the Panthers dropped their first C-USA series of the season.