Aside from a few "bonus baby" baseball players, not many county athletes can say they went professional right out of high school. But 18-year-old Kerry Classen can.
A year ago, Classen was an above-average cross-country runner and swimmer at Mission Viejo High. Today, Classen is making fast tracks as a professional triathlete.
On July 21, Classen surprised several top pros to win the Oxnard Triathlon and a prize of $2,000. As Classen sped out in front of the pack, many spectators confused him with the race's defending champion, Brad Kearns, even though Kearns lagged behind and finished second.
"Everybody was like, 'All right Brad. Way to go!' " Classen told Competitor magazine. "I'm thinking, 'I'm not Brad Kearns! Brad Kearns is back there!"'
Saturday, Classen will compete at the U.S. Triathlon Series national championships at Las Vegas. The prize money? A cool $200,000.