Ginger Spansel of Tuscaloosa heads for the 17-mile bike ride after swimming 600 yards during the Possom Town Triathlon Satruday morning. Ginger received the award for second overall in the womens' division. Photo by: Deanna Robinson/Dispatch Staff
August 20, 2016 4:51:02 PM
By Caleb Garner
Special to The Dispatch
After four years of trying, Meridian native Tyson Pompelia finally tasted victory in the fifth-annual Possum Town Triathlon held near the Columbus Lock and Dam.
The race consisted of a 600-yard swim followed by a 17-mile bicycle ride and culminated with a 3.3-mile run to the finish line.
While Pompelia has had much resent success, crossing the finish line first at this event had proven impossible.
"This was my fourth year to do the Possum Town Triathlon," Pompelia said. "I finished in fourth, then second and now first. So I was counting it down. I am glad to finally get the overall win. It has been a great year but this win meant a lot more to me than the others combined."
A veterinarian at the Collinsville Veterinary Clinic, the 36-year old Pompelia previously won the Heart o' Dixie (Louisville/Philadelphia), Sunfish (Meridian) and King of the Hill (Tupelo) races, as well as a triathlon held in Livingston at the University of West Alabama.
This year's time of 1:12:35 topped the field, after a second-place finish in 2015.
Pompelia's father was in attendance to cheer him on, along with several of Pompelia's friends and others from Meridian that participated in the event. He attributed his win to being dedicated and incorporating training into his daily routines.
"It is just something I do nearly every day," Pompelia said. "I do some or all of it every day. To compete and be out front you have to make a lifestyle out of it."
In the ladies division, Birmingham, Alabama, native Lori Goldweber took home the top time--a course record of 1:20:18.
There was at least one thing that many of the racers had in common was how they described the course: flat and fast. Despite that, Pompelia still found some difficulty during the final phase.
"I really like this course," Pompelia said. "The main reason is because it is flat and you do not have to worry about any big hills. It is flat and fast. By the time you get to the run, you have already done two phases so you do not need to overdo the other two sports so you can get a good time on the run."
Ginger Spansel placed second in the women's competition. She has been racing since 1985 and was a swimmer in high school before lacing up the shoes and started running when she started college, which influenced her decision to start racing. While she has been racing for so long and as part of a team out of Tyler, Texas, this was her first time participating in the event. She stated that her favorite phase was the bicycle phase, and she found the run to be somewhat difficult. The Tuscaloosa, Alabama, native also described the course as flat and fast and enjoyed the event.
"I really enjoyed the cycling and had a great ride," Spansel said. "I always love the swim and the run is the part that always hurts the most."
Several locals notched top five times in their respective divisions, with Jack Rose of Caledonia and Ryan Lee of Columbus coming in third and fifth place in the men's division, respectively. On the ladies side, while Spansel finished second in her first-ever run in the event, Katie Huston (Mississippi State) and Elizabeth Henderson (Columbus) finished in the fourth and fifth spots, respectively. Huston competed for Mississippi State's cross country team from 2011 and 2014.
1. Putt leads Heritage Academy to come-from-behind victory HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
2. Fitzgerald leads No. 17 MSU back to Georgia COLLEGE SPORTS
3. Christmann makes most of his opportunity vs. Tigers COLLEGE SPORTS
4. Mitchell joins MSU's 'scooter gang' COLLEGE SPORTS
5. Ole Miss' Brown out with sprained knee COLLEGE SPORTS