Maximenko takes Griskus title

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Cassie Maximenko of Naugatuck, seen in this file photo from 2010, won her second straight crown at the 26th annual BMW of Watertown's Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon Wednesday. –RA ARCHIVE

MIDDLEBURY — Cassie Maximenko continued her mastery of the BMW of Watertown’s Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon Wednesday night.

Mamimenko, 29, of Naugatuck won her second straight crown at the 26th annual triathlon held at Quassy Amusement Park and third in the last four years with a time of one hour, four minutes, two seconds, narrowly topping Jeanne Theleen, 21, of Southbury (1:05.00).

“I hope to win it again next year, but Jeanne is going to be real tough to beat,” said Mamimenko. “She is getting so much faster.”

A year ago, Theleen competed in her very first triathlon here and finished the race in 1:10. On Wednesday, she was able to drop five minutes off that time.

“This is big for me to be able to get a personal-best time,” said Theleen, a senior at the University of Connecticut, who is a long distance runner on the track team.

“I love swimming; it’s my natural sport,” added Theleen. “The bike is my biggest struggle, but I’m getting better. It’s very motivating to be able to close the gap against such a great competitor (Maximenko) who has tons of experience. My performance definitely raises my confidence level.”

On the men’s side, Chris Thomas 40, of Easton, won his third consecutive overall title and fourth in the last five years with a time of 56 minutes, five seconds, topping Daniel Theleen of Southbury, his training student, by a minute, 35 seconds.

Tim Steiskal, 22, of Naugatuck finished third (1:02:15). He was second a year ago to Thomas.

Tim Steiskal of Naugatuck finished third among the men at the 26th annual BMW of Watertown's Pat Griskus Sprint Triathlon Wednesday. –RA ARCHIVE

“I had a tough bike, but a great run, probably the best I ever had here,” said Steiskal, a former Southern Connecticut State University swim captain. “For me to have a chance to win this race, I need to focus and train year-round like Chris and Dan do. Chris was just cranking. He’s such a nice guy. He passed me on the bike and kept giving me encouragement to keep me going. That really helped.”

Steiskal’s best friend, 20-year-old Trevor Heller of Naugatuck finished fifth (1:02.58), just behind Jim Kelly, 49, of Woodbury (1:02.32).

“Trevor is an incredible athlete, and it feels great to be able to train and compete with him. He makes me better,” Steiskal said.