US Military Endurance Sports

USMES Elite Team Roster

Adam Popp


Motto:  “Every day is an opportunity to better yourself” Paratriathlete Adam Popp is driven to push himself past perceived limits. In 2007, Adam was injured by an IED in Afghanistan, resulting in the amputation of his right leg above the knee. At the time he was an Explosive Ordnance Disposal Team Leader and a 12-year combat veteran of the U.S. Air Force with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. … full profile »

Ben Payne


Motto:  “Whatever you are…be a good one!” After a successful 4-year running career at the Air Force Academy competing in NCAA Division I Cross-Country, Indoor and Outdoor Track, Ben continued running while on active duty as a pilot deployed to Africa and Afghanistan, while also logging 3,400 flight hours and 1,200 combat hours. “I think resiliency is something you have to have in the military, … full profile »

Davis Frease


Motto:  “Work hard, work quietly, and do something every day to become a better person and athlete.” Davis Frease’s stellar 2017 triathlon season included a 25-29 age group win at IRONMAN 70.3 Texas, and 2nd place at the 2017 IRONMAN 70.3 Superfrog. But the active-duty Navy officer and future military primary care physician was not always a lean, mean, triathlon racing machine. Davis logged a … full profile »

Jason Yannelli


The word “YUT,” painted in red, white and blue on the top tube of Jason Yanelli’s bike, will be familiar to anyone who has spent time around Marines. “YUT” is an expression of motivation and high enthusiasm, similar to the Army’s “Hooah” or the Navy’s “Hooyah.” Jason explains “since most Marines couldn’t pronounce my last name I earned the nickname Sergeant YUT, and it has stuck with me ever … full profile »

Jay ShalekBriski


Motto: “Never quit.” If there is one word to describe Jay ShalekBriski’s cycling career, it’s flexibility. Jay may be the only athlete in the world to podium at both the Okinawa Road Race Championships and the Oklahoma State Criterium Championships, both in the same year (2017). After a successful U23 racing career, winning the Collegiate A Conference Championship for the USAF Academy Cycling … full profile »

Jessica Lukasik


Motto:  “Just do it…and don’t whine about it!” Our 2017 Kona IRONMAN military division World Champion has adapted the Nike motto to describe her personal philosophy: “Just do it…and don’t whine about it!” Until recently, this 24-year-old Junior Lieutenant in the Coast Guard lived in Africa on a Fulbright Scholarship, where she worked on a sustainability plan for Mauritius. Analyzing conflicts … full profile »

Justin Widhalm


Motto:  “Adversity reveals character.” When he was growing up a Midwest kid with limited resources, Justin Widhalm’s mom used to tell him “adversity builds character.” But after his experiences in life, war, physical rehab, and racing, Justin has decided the real story is “adversity reveals character,” displaying the strength people already have within themselves. Today, Justin is the current US … full profile »

Justine Emge


Motto:  “May we run with endurance the race God has set before us.” Justine Emge is proud to represent the 2018 USMES Elite Team as a triathlete, and to represent USMES partner Boeing as an AH64 Apache pilot. “As a National Guardsmen, I typify a majority of the Force, the reserve component,” Justine says. “My participation in elite athletics sets the standard for other Reservists to follow, … full profile »

Marcus Farris


Motto:  “Beat the best!” After a strong 2017 season that included a 25-29 age group win at IRONMAN Canada (4th overall) and the completion of his third year serving as Alaska’s USMES Regional Coordinator, in 2018 Marcus Farris will serve a dual role at USMES: Triathlon Club Manager and member of the USMES Elite Team. Despite his current clear identification as a triathlete, Marcus’ competitive … full profile »

Melissa Tallent


Motto:  “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence.” (Calvin Coolidge) Conventional wisdom says that you can be a sprinter or a climber, a cyclist or a triathlete, focus on short course or long course. Melissa Tallent has refused to settle for such limiting ambitions. In 2017 this category 2 road racer won the Mid-Atlantic Bicycle Racing Association (MABRA) Cat 1/2/3 Criterium … full profile »

Mike Mouly


Motto:  “Sweat wipes off easier than regret.” “Waiting for something to happen or someone to tell you what to do is an easy habit to acquire,” says Mike Mouly. “In transitioning to civilian life, the mantra should be ‘Hurry up and do something.’” Mike’s advice comes from personal experience. After leaving the Marine Corps, Mike took care of the necessities of life, but didn’t develop any outside … full profile »

Spencer Johnson


Motto: “Be Excellent” Spencer Johnson discovered his love of running in basic training. He had been overweight in high school and had avoided running, just doing the minimum to pass gym class. In basic it became apparent he could really run, building his fitness over those eight and a half weeks until he outran about 200 trainees in the final PFT. This revelation changed his life, personally and … full profile »

Steven Peace


Motto:  “Nothing is impossible…try, try, try again.” Steven was a healthy Navy Officer who had deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan three times within five years, and a 200-mile per week cyclist, until he had a massive stroke that left him unable to speak, use his right arm and leg, or walk independently. Among the things he had to give up was the Navy, where he had served proudly for 16 … full profile »

Tristan Manderfeld


Motto:  “Take the risk or lose the chance.” When Tristan first started cycling, he was eager to compete with the best talent available, rather than cherry-picking races to achieve podium finishes. He believed this would push him to become a better rider. Tristan sums up this philosophy with the motto of “take the risk or lose the chance,” and his strategy has paid off. After discovering bike … full profile »