06/30/13 10:14am
06/30/2013 10:14 AM

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Two-time Riverhead Rocks Triathlon winner Tim Steiskal speaks with the media after his victory in the race Sunday.

Tim Steiskal is making a habit of winning triathlons. Especially in Riverhead.

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead Rocks triathlon winner Tim Steiskal of Brookhaven as he crosses the finish line.

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Riverhead Rocks triathlon winner Tim Steiskal of Brookhaven as he crosses the finish line.

Steiskal, a 23-year-old Connecticut-native now living in Brookhaven, was the first athlete to cross the finish line Sunday morning at the Apple Honda Riverhead Rocks Triathlon. It was the second straight year he’s won the downtown event. He finished in 2:07.36, a full two minutes before second place finisher Stefan Judex of Port Jefferson, according to the official race results.

VIEW RACE RESULTS HERE

“It feels great,” Steiskal said afterward, a smile across his face on the overcast day. “I’ve been having a rough year. A lot of the races I’ve entered have been on really hot days. These were perfect conditions for me.”

Steiskal said having moved to Suffolk County in the past year — he’s now working as project director at the Patchogue YMCA — has made the Riverhead race even more special to him.

“A lot of the people I train came here to support me,” he said. “I work with a lot of young kids and it’s great that they came out today. That’s what it’s all about, to inspire the future generation.”

Steiskal said he’s not quite sure how many triathlons he’s won, but that he’s claimed more than a dozen in his young career, which has seen him compete in about 60 triathlons. His goal is to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Summer Games in Brazil.

“[Qualifying for the Olympics is especially] tough because they only take two [Americans],” he said. “I ultimately just want to be competing on that level.”

A more immediate goal for him is to run professionally by next year, a move that would allow him to compete in more races at no cost to himself.

BILL LANDON PHOTO | Meghan Newcomer was the first female finisher in Sunday’s Riverhead Rocks Triathlon.

Riverhead Rocks female winner Meghan Newcomer, 32, who placed sixth overall, knows a thing or two about turning pro. The New York City resident began competing professionally more than a year ago and she ran, biked and swam in Riverhead for the first time Sunday, finishing in 2:13.39.

“They did a great job with this,” Newcomer said. “It’s a good community race.”

Newcomer, a Kansas City native who moved to New York to attend grad school at Columbia University and now works as a research coordinator at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, has been competing in triathlons since 1999. A swimmer in high school, she took to the sport while cross training to rehab an injury.

Not only did she finish ahead of all the other females, three minutes ahead of second place  female Danielle Sullivan of West Islip, but she even hung with the best of the male competitors Sunday.

“It’s always fun to win,” she said. “I like to chase the boys. It’s always good to have someone to chase.”

Her long-term goal is to compete in a triathlon in all 50 states.

“I believe I have 12 more to go,” she said.

The top North Fork finisher was Ken Robins, 51, of Cutchogue, who crossed the finish line in 2:18.42, good enough for 13th overall and the top time of anyone over 50 years of age.

Not far behind him was David Gatz, who was the top Riverhead finisher for the second year in a row, coming in at 2:19.06

This year’s oldest competitor to finish was Ron Helin, 74, of Middle Island, who clocked 3:14.24. The youngest was 16-year-old Alex Pekoff of Bellmore, who finished at 2:53.59.

gparpan@timesreview.com

07/29/12 9:49am
07/29/2012 9:49 AM

GRANT PARPAN PHOTO | Tim Steiskal of Naugatuck, Conn. won the first ever Riverhead Rocks triathlon Sunday.

If you walked along Main Street in Riverhead Sunday morning you might have noticed a large contingency in yellow t-shirts with the words “Tim: This is War” on the back.

Well, if it was in fact a war, Tim won it.

Finishing in two hours, six minutes and 17 seconds, 22-year-old Tim Steiskal of Naugatuck, Conn. was the first winner of the Riverhead Rocks triathlon Sunday.

“It feels great,” Steiskal said. “Especially with the Olympics going on right now. That made this even more fun.”

Relatively young for a triathlete, Steiskal ran his first triathlon at the age of 14. To date, he’s run in 54 triathlons and he’s currently aiming to run in 12 to 15 events each year.

His long-term plan?

“I want to run in the Olympics in 2016 [in Brazil],” he said. And if he doesn’t make that one, he’d still be in his prime come 2020 — the prime years for a triathlete are between 28 and 38 years old.

On Sunday, the race wasn’t even close. Remarked one triathlete who finished in the top 5 to Steiskal, “I never even saw you out there.”

This is Steiskal’s third triathlon win of 2012 and he’s reached the podium in six of seven races this year. He says he doesn’t know exactly how many events he’s won in his career. “I think it’s in the teens now,” he said.

He plans to continue on and run the National Championships in Burlington, Vt. and the U.S. Open in Dallas, Texas later this year.

The “War” t-shirts were made by his girlfriend and her family and worn by a large group of friends and family that traveled across the Long Island Sound to see Steiskal claim victory Sunday. Naugatuck is northwest of New Haven.

“War” was the motto his coach used when Tim swam and ran cross country in high school before becoming captain of the swim team at Southern Connecticut.

Before every race Steiskal yells “This is war.”

“I compete for the thrill of it,” he said. “The inspiration that comes with being out there. A lot of people my age are partying and drinking lots of beer all the time. I’ll have some beers, but I’m also out there training.”

Steiskal said he trains up to 30 hours a week by biking, running and swimming.

On Sunday it all paid off.

Kristie Timmer, 32, of Merrick was the top female finisher, coming in at just over 2:20.

Read more on the race in Thursday’s issue of the Riverhead News-Review. You can also visit the event site for more information.

gparpan@timesreview.com