I grew up in San Diego in the 70’s. One of my earliest memories was my father taking me to Pacific Beach for breakfast at a place called Tugs Tavern. During our meal, athletes would come in after their work out and start chowing down at the table next to us. They included Mark Allen, Mike Pigg, Julie Moss, Paula Newby Frasier and multiple future Ironman World Champions. They were great people, extremely nice to me and encouraged me to enter a triathlon someday. Unfortunately, an ankle injury prevented me from entering a triathlon for over 25 years. I watched from the sidelines for years until I finally got the courage to try a triathlon. I have been hooked ever since! I have done multiple sprint, Olympic and half ironmans. I am targeting IM Maryland in 2016 for my first full distance. Triathlon has changed my life and enriched it with some of the most incredible people I have been fortunate enough to meet along the way. I really wanted to give back to the endurance community so I jumped at the change to join the USAT Mideast council when asked. A tremendous amount of work goes into making the races and training a great experience for the participant. USAT does a great job of promoting the sport and making it fun and safe along the way. I look forward to serving on the USAT council and can’t wait to see you all out on a race course soon!
I have been racing triathlon since 2011. Like many others, I instantly was hooked on our sport. I wanted to give back to the sport that I enjoyed. I found that the Mideast Regional Council provided a perfect opportunity for me. I started serving on the Council in 2013 as a volunteer. I strive to make sure our sport provides fair opportunity for all members. I also look for ways to grow the sport. I think the best ways to achieve these goals is to reach out and gain feedback from our athletes. While on the council, I have served on several committees which have given me the chance to put these principles into action. I have had the chance to interact with many athletes across the region, and have gained a lot of knowledge from them. I look forward to continuing to work with the region, and being an advocate for the best interest of the athletes across the great Mideast Region.
Firstly, I would like to thank all my fellow USAT Mideast Regional Council members who I have had the pleasure of serving with over the years. In addition I would like to thank all the USAT members who continue participate in this great sport and lifestyle! Since beginning as a member at large to what was once called a regional board of directors, I was promoted to a board member, then to Indiana representative and then region vice president for three years. Currently Indiana representative to the now USAT Mideast Regional council. In all, I have served for over 13 years and have enjoyed every moment! In addition to serving on the council I have previously worked as a race official for a number of years progressing to head official in my last year. Primarily competing as a duathlete, this year I will attempt to obtain a dual national ranking as both a duathlete and triathlete. One of my goals is to compete in both our USAT Mideast Regional Duathlon Olympic Distance Championship (June 6th, Muncie Tri/Du Championships) and in the USAT Duathlon National Championships! Following the conclusion of each season I plan on continuing to donate at least one pint of blood. (So far I have donated 28 pints of whole blood.) Once again thank you for your continued support and I hope everyone enjoys a very successful multisport season! Go Team USA!
I have been involved in sports for most of my life starting with baseball as a boy and it grew into soccer, hockey, cycling, and running when I moved to Colorado for graduate school. Once I took on swimming, triathlon became a natural next progression. Some of the greatest joy I have with sports has been in giving back which started with coaching peewee hockey while in graduate school in Ft. Collins and later serving as the race director for the cycling team I raced with in Boulder, CO. From there, I have always gotten involved with giving back to the sports that have blessed me with good health and great friends. I am currently the Race Director Liaison for the Mideast Region organizing our ever growing Race Director Symposium the last two years and look forward to that event each year. In addition to that, I am a USAT Level 2 certified race director and host several races a year across the US. One of my favorite roles with USAT is serving as the Mideast Region Talent Identification Coordinator where I have the honor of interacting with so many passionate youth/junior coaches as well as their athletes. I also work as the Head Coach for the Purdue University Triathlon club team and bridging that development pathway from youth & junior to college and beyond is something I absolutely love. I’m a USAT Level 2 certified coach and love learning as much as possible through my interactions with other coaches, athletes, and all the programs that are offered out there. When I’m not spending my time thinking about triathlon, I work at a small pharmaceutical company as their Alliance Manager and Director of Chemistry, Manufacturing and Controls. My two four-legged girls often wonder where I’ve been with all the times I spend traveling around for both work and triathlon but they quickly forget when I get them outside for our long runs together.
Jeff Grady has been a participant, advocate, and promoter of triathlon for over 20 years. He has been a member of the USAT Mideast Council since 2011. His experience in triathlon includes race director of the Elkhart Lake Triathlon (since 1999), XTERRA Dairyland (since 2011), and numerous other endurance events. Jeff has earned credentials as a USAT Level 2 Race Director, former USAT certified official, and regularly attends the annual USAT Race Director’s Symposium. Jeff’s non-triathlon professional career spans the IT, corporate education, database marketing, and big data analytics industries. He attended the US Air Force Academy and earned a BS from the University of Illinois. Jeff also holds an MS in Computer Science from DePaul University Chicago and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Jeff currently is an adjunct faculty member of DePaul University Chicago. Jeff’s passion for triathlon goes back to 1982 when he did his first triathlon – no wesuits, no bikeracks, no helmets required! After being a competitive swimmer in high school and college, it was a quick move into triathlon once Jeff started running and cycling. He is an advocate of uniform application of the USAT Competitive Rules and through his events and example, seeks to educate athletes about them are every opportunity. Jeff says, “My goal is that each and every member gets to experience the camaraderie, competitive spirit, and sense of fulfillment I have enjoyed through triathlon and USAT membership”.
Michelle has served as the Mideast Regional Assistant since 2010. Her background includes thirty combined years of competitive Age Group, Collegiate, and Master’s swimming, Collegiate and Master’s rowing, and Age Group triathlon. A lifelong advocate of healthy lifestyles, Michelle holds an MA in Wellness Management and has served in various health promotion, data management, and marketing roles. She also helped form and establish her local Indianapolis Master’s Swim Team, Indy Aquatic Masters, and currently serves as the Controller. In her role as the Mideast Regional Assistant, she supports the Mideast Council in implementing all Regional initiatives and programs. She thoroughly enjoys working with every Council member and loves the passion and energy that each Council member brings to the USAT organization each year. When not working or training, she is busy shuttling her two beautiful daughters around to school and sports, watching them grow up way too fast!
Mindy Soranno started her journey into the triathlon world in May 1999 at the Columbia Triathlon. She did not have an athletic background but had already started road cycling and running events. She had been volunteering for this race for several years and thought, why not do it? Fifteen years later, she is still doing triathlons, from the sprint to the full iron distance, and even a few duathlons. In addition, she has also developed a passion for running marathons and ultra distance events. She has been involved in the creation of triathlon clubs in the communities she has lived in like Chicago and Alexandria, VA. She obtained her Level 1 Coaching Certification but decided that she was more of a mentor than a coach. She has successfully mentored many people with their first triathlon ever as well as helping several achieve their goal of the Iron Distance finish line. The sport has not only kept her healthy physically but more so mentally, teaching perseverance through any tough situation.
Dan works full-time as a Special Recreation Coordinator for the Chicago Park District where he specializes in Adaptive and Paralympic Sports for individuals with a primary physical disability or visual impairment. He is also a co-founder and coach of Chicago’s Dare2tri Paratriathlon Club, the first USAT sanctioned paratriathlon club in the country. Having played team sports growing up and throughout college, Dan decided to take on a different challenge and signed up for his first triathlon in 2005. He has been hooked ever since, competing in distances from Sprint to Ironman. Having had the opportunity to work with and guide numerous triathletes with disabilities, Dan is excited to see the growth of paratriathlon at the regional and national levels. In particular, Dan hopes to continue the success of paratriathlon in the Mideast Region. Dan is a USA Triathlon Level I, USA Triathlon Youth & Junior, USA Track and Field Level I, and USA Hockey Level III certified coach.
Paul has been a lifelong advocate for Healthy Lifestyles and helping many achieve their goals. Paul believes that anything is possible. He enjoys endurance sports and has completed several 70.3mi and 140.6mi distance triathlons as well as many shorter distance running and triathlon events. He has a wealth of experience and provides a unique perspective due to his background in program development, teaching at the college level, injury rehabilitation, working with endurance athletes and helping athletes return to elite levels of fitness. His energy, skill and attitude propel athletes to achieve their dreams. Additionally, Paul has assisted in the coordination and management of several major sporting events including the NCAA Cross Country National Championships and Pre-Nationals Races from 2003-2008, the Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Basketball Tournaments, the Big Ten Football Championships, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Midwest Regional Championships and both the Men’s and Women’s NCAA Basketball Final Four.
Paul is the owner and founder of PXP Endurance, LLC, a company with a manifest to make a difference in the lives, hopes and dreams of athletes, “Your Goals – Your Success”. Through PXP Endurance, Paul provides Athletic Training Rehabilitation Services, coaching and training for endurance athletes as well as sports specific training to improve performance and reduce risk of injury. He combines assessment of functional movement and detailed joint-by-joint evaluation to identify body efficiency, potential causes of injury and poor mechanics to create individualized training programs of flexibility, strength and mechanics to improve and enhance overall performance.
Paul Plummer is an Athletic Trainer with twenty-six years of experience, a leader, a teacher and a coach who is a Hall of Fame member in the Indiana Athletic Trainers’ Association, a Golden Pinnacle Award Recipient (equivalent to Hall of Fame) from the Great Lakes Athletic Trainers’ Association and a former member of the Board of Directors for the National Athletic Trainers’ Association Foundation. Paul has over seventeen years of experience within academia as Head Athletic Trainer or Director of Athletic Training Services where he developed curricula, managed and provided healthcare and rehabilitation for college athletes and consulted for several universities undergoing curriculum development.
Michael Wendorf has been on the regional council since 2008. He has served in a variety of positions and currently is Chair. Michael also helped create our youth development program and is the coordinator of our program. An active triathlete, Michael is a current year All-American. He has competed at all distances and finished 4th in his age group at Ironman Wisconsin in 2014 and earned a spot on team USA for long course worlds 2015. He is also an attorney.
Jim Weaver works full-time as a Certified Financial Planner Professional and Portfolio Manager with the McNamara-Weaver Group at Morgan Stanley in Chicago. He guides clients during their financial journey, which include successful endurance athletes, physicians, dentists, professionals, business owners, and retirees. His first experience with triathlon came during the cycling leg of a relay race. Shortly afterward he broke his hip winter cycling and as a part of “rehabbing”, joined a triathlon training program at the Leaning Tower YMCA in Niles, Illinois. He caught the bug and likens it to a “black hole” that has become a lifestyle, permeating a great deal of his social, volunteering, and professional life. Included is volunteering on the YMCA board in Niles, helping to coach the very class that introduced him to the sport. Another very active volunteering role involves USA Triathlon, first as a marketing position in 2005, then finally on to the election as Chairman for the Mideast Region since 2010, one of 10 regions within the organization; he also sits on the Age Group Committee. All of this involvement – and more –serves as a perfect and natural way to give back to the community in a way that many have helped in his past. All the great volunteers involved in the sport of triathlon – a lifestyle – know full well how much of a commitment the sport entails. Competing in short, medium, intermediate, or long course races, requires a commitment to complete a race successfully, and in such a way to come away knowing we gave it the time and energy available, along with life’s other more noble responsibilities, such as a spouse, family, career, and other obligations. Jim believes the Mideast Region has the most committed group of volunteers and athletes who have done an excellent job serving our client, the athlete, and the related initiatives of MERCRS, Duathlon, Age-Group Championship, Paratriathlon and Aquabike . Jim loves the experience of working with passionate individuals who like to compete and serve, which serves to keep a younger body and mind, including a killer VO2 max adjusted age!
Graham Wilson is a USAT Level III Coach, Past Chair of USAT National Coaches Commission, a USAT Certified Race Official, and contributing author to USAT publications. He has been racing and coaching for over 25 years and has completed over 200 triathlons including 8 Ironman Events, one of which was Ironman Kona. and Prior to moving to USA Graham was a member of the National British Triathlon Team. Graham’s coaching philosophy is really quite simple: He tries to assist each of his clients to reach their full athletic potential. He is most proud of his most senior client – who took up triathlon at the grand age of 72 and she has twice won World Champion medals at the Olympic Distance.