JP Donovan wins XTERRA amateur title |

JP Donovan wins XTERRA amateur title

Staff report
JP Donovan of Incline Village, shown racing to the amateur title at the XTERRA USA Championship this past September, placed 11th in the XTERRA West Championship at Lake Las Vegas on Saturday.
Courtesy XTERRA |

JP Donovan capped his dominant season of triathlon racing in fitting fashion.

The Incline Village resident, who won four of the five triathlons he entered this summer — as well as a handful of runs in the Tahoe area — captured the overall amateur title at the XTERRA USA Championship in Ogden, Utah, on Saturday.

Donovan finished 14th overall in the field of 266 triathletes and tops in his 25-29 age group, posting a time of 2:38:08. He edged friend, training partner and defending amateur champion Matthew Balzer of Reno, who drove Donovan to the race and lent him a racing outfit.

“I’ve got to give thanks to Matthew Balzer from the Reno Running Company. He hooked me up with a kit, drove me out here and really pushed me to train the last couple weeks,” said Donovan, 27, who is head coach of the Incline High cross-country team. “I wasn’t even going to do it this year but he conned me into it. While he’s not my coach, he is in my mind kind of like the conscience on my shoulder.”

Balzer seemed poised to defend his title, but after he and Donovan entered the bike-run transition together, Donovan pulled away on the first steep incline and never trailed again. Balzer finished second (18th overall) with a time of 2:40:48, while Benjamin Torvik of Boulder, Colo., was third (22nd overall) in 2:45:50. Balzer won the men’s 30-34 age group title.

Hannah Rae Finchamp of Altadena, Calif., won the women’s amateur and 15-19 age group title with a time of 3:03:09. She was followed by Meghan Sheridan of Salt Lake City, who posted a time of 3:14:28, and Sian Turner of Truckee, who won the female 30-34 age group title and was third among amateur women in 3:15:11. Turner won the XTERRA Lake Tahoe triathlon in August.

Donovan and Turner are not the only Tahoe-area triathletes who fared well in the national competition.

Genevieve Evans of Carnelian Bay finished 11th among pro women with a time of 3:03:43, and Kara LaPoint of Truckee finished 15th among pro women with a time of 3:07:57.

In addition, Incline Village resident Rob Laurie placed 76th overall in 3:11:24, and Kimberly Larson of Truckee finished in 3:55:14.

Emma Garrard, a former Truckee resident and photographer at the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Sierra Sun newspapers, was the fourth pro woman and 28th overall with a time of 2:48:10.

— Information for this article was used from