2018 USA Duathlon National Championships

Now that he's conquered the nation, Patton Sims is ready to take on the world.

Competing in the USA Duathlon National Championships on Sunday, April 8 in Greenville, South Carolina, Sims won the 19-and-under age group and placed second overall, only 22 seconds off the pace.

Sims had already qualified for this year's World Duathlon by finishing third in the 2017 USA Duathlon National Championships in Bend, Oregon. He will leave for Denmark in July.

As the 2018 national champion, Sims can add a trip to Spain for the 2019 World Duathlon to his travel plans.

A duathlon includes a 5-kilometer run, a 20k bike race and a 2.5k run (16.5 miles total).

Sims' composite time was 53:42. He set a personal record with a time of 16:13 in the 5k, followed by a 26:38 readout on the bike — tops among the entire field — and a 9:39 on the final leg. Sims' combined transition time (1:13) from running to biking and back to running was the fastest among the 298 contestants.

"The first run was three miles," said Sims, a junior at Sterlington High School. "I pushed hard, but held back because I knew I had to save my energy for the bike. Out of Transition 1, I was seventh on the road, but I caught and passed the first-place athlete 10k into the bike leg. I pushed hard in order to form a gap because I knew this athlete was a much stronger runner than myself.

"I was first into Transition 2 after putting up the fastest bike split by well over a minute. Exiting Transition 2, I had a 15-second lead. Unfortunately, this gap was not enough as I was caught with around 1:25k to go."

Competing in the non-drafting sprint category, Sims won the 19u age group by nearly five minutes. Jared Eytcheson of Cary, North Carolina was runner-up at 58:08; followed by Ethan Nordman of Hoschton, Georgia at 59.34; Seth Drexler of North Scituate, Rhode Island at 1:01.09; and Mac Howe of Atlanta, Georgia at 1:01.27.

Taylor Huseman, age 28, of Milford, Iowa was the overall winner with a time of 53:20. Rounding out the top 10 were Sims, David Luy of Brookfield, Wisconsin (53:49), James Duff of Carrboro, North Carolina (55:03), Todd Ricketts of Newark, Ohio (55:54), Eric Kirouac of Williamsburg, Massachusetts (56.26), Spencer Shellberg of Dewitt, Michigan (56:32), Sean Price of Herndon, Virginia (56:40), Todd Buckingham of Big Rapids, Michigan (56:40) and Ross Hartley of Pickerington, Ohio (56:47).

Sims and Richard Cottrell of West Monroe, who finished 93rd at 1:08.14, were the only contestants from Louisiana to place in the top 100.

Sims isn't sitting still as he left Friday for a weekend bike race in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

A distance runner for the Sterlington track team, Sims will run in the District 2-2A track and field meet at SHS on Wednesday.