Guts and glory on display at OBSE Triathlon

By on September 18, 2022

Olympic Triathlon competitors take to the water as the race begins.
Bikers crossing the Manns Harbor Bridge.
Overall top finisher Oreste Pesselato running along the Roanoke Island path.
Overall top finisher Oreste Pesselato with friends and family.
Top woman’s finisher in the Olympic Division Olivia Gonzalez of Milwaukee, WI crosses the finish line with a time of 2:31:29.
Noel Preston on the winner’s podium after taking first place in his division.
Triathlon sprint competitors take to the water at the beginning of the race.
Sprint top finisher Adam Burke of Raleigh, NC running along the Roanoke Island path.
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With competitors coming from as far away as Utah, Oklahoma and St. Louis, the 2022 Outer Banks Triathlon garnered widespread praise for the course and its organization by Outer Banks Sporting Events (OBSE).

“It was set up very well. It was a great course,” Oreste Pesselato said. Pesselato, from St. Louis, was the top finisher overall in the Olympic division, finishing the course in 2:11:08. Thomas Stracey of Greensboro was next across the finish line with a time of 02:23:43.

For Pesselato, the race was a long-planned get together with friends. Greg and Christin Evans of Southern Shores told him about the race and he and Joe Cuba, with Cuba’s wife and family, gathered for the race. “My friends told me about this. We started planning this six months ago,” he said.

The divisions in a triathlon can seem confusing. The OBSE course uses two of the seven generally recognized divisions. The Olympic format is a 1.5 km swim (.93 miles), a 40 km bike run (25 miles) and a 10 km (6.2 mile) run. The other division is the Sprint division and is half those distances.

The Olympic competitors hit the water at 7:15 a.m. at the Old Swimming Hole by the Dare County Regional Airport. The sun had just popped above to horizon as the starting horn sounded. “The water temperature was perfect,” former Kitty Hawk Elementary School principal Dr. Greg Florence said.

Florence, who said that he had more time to put into training since he retired at the end of June, finished fifth overall and first in his Masters division with a time of 2:30:51. He did discount his finish somewhat, pointing out that after two years of COVID restrictions, participation was down.

This year, slightly more than 200 competitors combined in the Olympic and Sprint divisions took up the challenge. In the past, 600 or more triathletes have competed on the Outer Banks course.

Florence and Pesselato felt one of the more challenging legs of the race was the 25-mile bike ride that crossed the Manns Harbor Bridge, passed through Manns Harbor and then back to old US 64.

“It’s funny. The bridge scares people, but it’s board flat. It has a little hill in it. The wind plays a role. It’s quite a nice little eight or nine (mph) head wind heading back over the bridge,” Florence said, adding, “Here the ride is always going to be challenging.”

Pesselato agreed, saying, “The bike was tough. I knew it was going to be hard, with [the] wind. I wasn’t concerned about the course with undulations, but I was concerned about the wind. Just how exposed you are. It did not disappoint.”

A triathlon is considered one of the more challenging distance races, and for quite a number of competitors, simply finishing is the reward. But for Martins Point resident Noel Preston, the Outer Banks Triathlon was a chance to come back from life-changing medical conditions. At almost 75 years of age, he was the oldest competitor in the Sprint division. Not quite two years ago, he was just completing treatment for cancer.

“I’ve had cancer twice, I’ve had open heart surgery,” he said. “I finished chemo in December of 2020.”

Preston has competed in a number of triathlons over the years; the last time he competed in the Outer Banks Triathlon was 2019. For him, the road back involved patience and a process.

“You exercise regularly anyway. The triathlon exercises different parts of your body,” Preston said. “It takes time. For me, the key is don’t push it like I did when I was younger because it takes so long to recover from an injury.”

Below is a list of the top three finishers in each division.

Men’s Olympic

Oreste Pesselato 02:11:08.3 St. Louis, MO

Thomas Stracey 02:23:43.3 Greensboro, NC

Eric Wetzel 02:26:26.7 Richmond, VA


Women’s Olympic

Olivia Gonzalez 02:31:29.3 Milwaukee, WI

Joni Johnson 02:32:23.5 Concord, NC

Nancy Placide 02:34:11.8 Midlothian, VA


Men’s Sprint

Adam Burke 01:13:03.3 Raleigh, NC

Stephen Fox 01:19:30.1 Raleigh, NC

Anders Jacobson 01:25:13.7 Raleigh, NC


Women’s Sprint

Kathryn Moeder 01:21:54.3 Chesapeake, VA

Danielle Foster 01:24:37.6 Kitty Hawk, NC

Emily Neuburg     01:26:21.0 Suffolk, VA

For more information about Outer Banks Sporting Events please visit





NOTICE TO CONTRACTORS:  BIDDER PRE-QUALIFICATION REQUEST:  Barnhill Contracting has been selected as the Construction Manager at Risk by Dare County and is seeking to pre-qualify construction trade and specialty contractors to submit bids for furnishing Labor, Material, Equipment, and Other for the new “Dare County – EMS 1 / Fire Station 14” (KDH) located in Kill Devil Hills, NC.  PROJECT DESCRIPTION: The scope of the project encompasses approximately 36,000 sqft of new construction and 18,000 sqft of demolition on a 3.5-acre site located at the 1630 N Croatan Highway, Kill Devil Hills, NC. The project includes masonry bearing walls supporting a Standing Seam Metal Roof over Light Gauge Trusses housing administrative, living and support spaces along with 6 apparatus bays. Principal trade and specialty contractors are solicited for the following Bid Packages: BP750 – Turnkey Siding. Additional Packages may be added and/or deleted at the discretion of the Construction Manager. Historically underutilized business participation is encouraged. Interested contractors should submit their completed prequalification submittals to Meredith Terrell by December 2, 2022, via email at or mail to PO Box 31765 Raleigh, NC 27622 (Office Location – 4325 Pleasant Valley Road, NC 27612). PREQUALIFICATION FORMS CAN BE OBTAINED from BuildingConnected through this Invite under the “File” tab or from BuildingConnected link on the Barnhill, Bidding Opportunities website at by selecting “Dare County – EMS 1 / Fire Station 14 – Prequalification”, or by contacting Meredith Terrell  (919-604-2367). Please submit completed prequalification forms A and B along with all required supporting documentation and with All Bid Packages you are Prequalified for Checked. Form B must be submitted for this project. Form A is good for 1-Year and if you have submitted one to Barnhill within the last year, it should still be valid. If you are unsure, please verify this with Meredith. Target Bid Date: January 2023



  • Glenn

    Congratulations to all!!!

    Sunday, Sep 18 @ 1:18 pm
  • Liz

    Anders Jacobson, who placed third in the men’s sprint, is a local “kid”, having graduated from FFHS in 2009. Congratulations!

    Monday, Sep 19 @ 6:28 am