CHICAGO, ILL. – For Aleena Villani, hard work certainly has paid off.
On Thursday afternoon at the World Sprint Triathlon Championships in Chicago, Villani, a freshman at UWM, finished third, taking home a bronze medal. Her finish capped off a day in which Team USA took home all three medals. She finished the 750m swim in 11:41, the 20k bike race in 31:09 and the 5k run in 20:48 for a total time of 1:09:05, and will receive her well-deserved award on Friday at the award ceremony at 8 p.m. Villani spoke on her achievements and her satisfaction with being on the USA team.
“I’m really excited,” she said. “This is exactly what I was aiming for. It was a tough swim with a head wind the whole way, but I had a great transition and made up a lot of ground on the bike. It was a really strategic race. I came off the bike second overall with another girl right behind me. The run was really hard. It was windy and really hot, but I just gave it my all and was able to get it done. It’s extra special that I can celebrate with the USA girls, especially with this year’s race in America. I just couldn’t be more thankful.”
In addition, cross country coach Pete Corfeld lauded his rookie.
“This is a proud moment for UWM,” he said. “Aleena is the real deal when it comes to preparation, expectations and competitiveness. She’s big time. She said she wanted to represent the team, me and UWM and we couldn’t be more proud of her.”
The cross country team has its second meet of the season on Saturday: the Friendship Invitational at Cedarville, Ohio with a 10:30 a.m. start time.