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Monseau makes national team

by Mike Nutter

SPORTS WRITER

CLARKSBURG -- Vinnie Monseau didn't expect to finish third in the West Virginia 10K championship during Saturday's Greater Clarksburg 10K while competing against some of the state's top collegiate runners. Then again, his success in the sport of road racing is even more improbable.

Monseau, an emergency room physician at United Hospital Center, was a standout

wrestler at Wheeling

Park in the late '80s. He continued his success at Division II power West Liberty, where he was a three-time All-American. Monseau dabbled in cross country, but found that he needed another activity to maintain his

level of fitness. He began some swimming and biking programs, and everything fell into place.

Monseau will now represent the United States at the long-distance triathlon world championships in Nice, France in September.

"This is a huge thing," Monseau said. "I've been trying to qualify for the Ironman for about seven or eight years, and that hasn't worked out. I've come close. The swimming has always been a little tough for me.

"Now I'll be competing against the best in the world."

The team is made up of the top 16 athletes in the 30- to 34-year-old age group. Monseau said he'll also try to earn a berth in the short distance world championships at the trials at the end of August.

He said he became hooked on the sport after a surprisingly strong finish in his first triathlon.

Already an accomplished runner, Monseau found a triathlon event on accident. Deciding to give it a try, he rented a bike for $10 and fell in love with it.

His week is now filled with putting his body through a rigorous training regimen. Monseau swims three times a week -- at least a mile each session.

He rides three times a week and works in a combination of speed and distance training.

He said the combination keeps him virtually injury free and prevents maladies from interfering with his schedule.

"That's the good thing with cross-training," Monseau said. "It doesn't matter what skills you have. When you cross-train you tend not to be injured. "If I run one day and I get sore then I swim the next day. That's the benefit."

Monseau said it's likely his road racing is finished for the season. He participated in this year's Greater Clarksburg 10K when some of the emergency room staff at UHC decided to volunteer at the race's finish line. Prior to Saturday's race, Monseau last participated in a 10K three year's ago in Morgantown.

"It was just one of those things where I decided to do it because I knew some of the people who were working it," Monseau said. "I doubt if I run any more. I am pretty excited about getting ready for Nice and I'd like to have a shot at qualifying for the short-distance championship."

Sports writer Mike Nutter can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at mnutter@exponent-telegram.com

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