ROCK BRIDGE: Third grader competes in national triathlon championship Saturday

Friday, September 16, 2011 | 4:44 p.m. CDT
Brynna Williams, a third-grader at Rock Bridge Elementary School demonstrates her excitement before completing her second youth triathlon. She placed third in the event, held Aug. 27 in Columbia, and qualified for the Hy-Vee IronKids U.S. Championships in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Saturday.

COLUMBIA — Brynna Williams is confident that she could be a professional artist some day, but right now the third-grader is focused on the triathlon she is running Saturday.

The Rock Bridge Elementary School student has already competed in two triathlons in her eight years of life. The last one qualified her to compete in the Hy-Vee IronKids U.S. Championship in West Des Moines, Iowa, on Sept. 17. 

"Well, pretty much … I’m the fastest runner in my class," Brynna said, modest tones betraying her confident statement.

Brynna placed third in her division in the Hy-Vee IronKids triathlon in Columbia on Aug. 27. That placement is why Brynna spent several hours in a car with her parents, Troy and Heather Williams, and 5-year-old brother, Caden, on Thursday — a challenging task for the energetic 8-year-old.

"I like to run around a lot," Brynna said. "I have a lot of energy all the time." Brynna said she was "squirmy" during the six-hour car ride, but seemed excited about her upcoming race.

Her mother thought a triathlon would be fun for her kids and promote healthy habits, but was taken aback by Brynna’s enthusiasm after the first race. After the race, she asked her mother where she placed, and when Heather Williams told her, Brynna said:

"I wanna do it again, and next time I wanna win."

Brynna’s drive definitely paid off, not only for her, but also for her family. The triathlons have given the Williams something to do as a family, Heather Williams said. Brynna asked her parents about joining the Columbia Track Club and her mother thinks they are becoming healthier as a family.

Support has not only come from the Williams family, though. Brynna’s schoolmates and teachers at Rock Bridge Elementary School are backing her too, according to Brynna.

On the day that she left for Iowa, Brynna said she couldn’t even stand up from behind her desk without being greeted by cheers and raucous applause from her classmates.

For her race Saturday, Brynna will swim 50 yards, transition and bike two miles and then run 500 yards, her mother said. Brynna said she is a little nervous, because she has never been to a national race, but she is already enthusiastic about her future in triathlons.

Said Brynna, "I’m sort of getting ready to ask my parents if I can do the ones next year…"

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