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Triathlon: Zaferes on top of the world after big win

World champion Katie Zaferes of USA reacts as she crossing the finish line during the women's race of the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)
World champion Katie Zaferes of USA reacts as she crossing the finish line during the women's race of the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP) (Laurent Gillieron/AP)

Katie Zaferes came back from a recent crash during a Toyko Olympics triathlon test event in a big way.

The North Carroll High School graduate, who two weeks ago suffered a broken nose and needed more than 20 stitches inside her mouth after the accident, won the World Series Grand Finale in Switzerland on Saturday and finished first in the overall final rankings.

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Zaferes, the No. 1-ranked triathlete in the world, needed to finish 12th or better in the Grand Finale to take the title.

“I don’t even know if it has hit me yet, I had a lot of emotions and doubts coming in to this race but I’m just really happy right now,” Zaferes told triathlon.org. “I worked really hard to get in the mental frame, I knew physically I was in the right frame, so I didn’t let it get to me too much. I’m just out there enjoying it and enjoying the process, and to do it on this course is amazing.”

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Zaferes, 30, won gold at the Grand Finale by completing the triathlon in 2 hours, 2 minutes, 45 seconds. Jessica Learmonth of Great Britain was second in 2:02.49.

Georgia Taylor-Brown, also of Great Britain, finished third (2:03.03).

World champion Katie Zaferes of USA, left, and Georgia Taylor-Brown of Britain react after crossing the finish line after the women's race of the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP)
World champion Katie Zaferes of USA, left, and Georgia Taylor-Brown of Britain react after crossing the finish line after the women's race of the 2019 ITU World Triathlon Grand Final in Lausanne, Switzerland, Saturday, Aug. 31, 2019. (Laurent Gillieron/Keystone via AP) (Laurent Gillieron/AP)

Zaferes is the first U.S. elite triathlon world champion since Gwen Jorgensen won in 2014 and 2015.

Zaferes starred in cross country, indoor track, and outdoor track at North Carroll (Class of 2007) and won a combined six Times player of the year awards.

She placed fifth in the ITU World Triathlon Series in 2015, fourth in 2016 — Zaferes competed in the Olympics that summer — third in 2016, and second in 2018.

Zaferes has five World Triathlon Series wins in 2019.

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