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A Journey Into Paradise

Cancun Challenge Basketball Tourney & Ironman Cozumel Wrap in Mexico

09 December, 2014

Two of the Riviera Maya’s favorite annual sporting events have wrapped in Mexico,as the Cancun Challenge once again brought 16 U.S. college basketball teams to compete in this Caribbean paradise Nov. 19-30,and the 2014 Ford Ironman Cozumel competition brought a record number of onlookers and participants to the race,which was held Nov. 30.

Cancun Challenge 2014 Wrap-Up

The Cancun Challenge was once again held at the Hard Rock Hotel Riviera Maya,which opened last year in the exclusive Caribbean beachfront community of Puerto Aventuras,which lies just south of Cancun in Mexico’s Riviera Maya. As the only Division 1 men’s basketball competition to be held in Mexico,the tournament is widely regarded as one of the preseason’s most exceptional competitions. Participants in this year’s event include Morgan State,North Florida,Liberty,Elon,Northern Iowa,Virginia Tech,Northwestern and Miami in the men’s field,along with Charlotte,Florida State,Furman,Hartford,Montana,Princeton,Wake Forest and Washington in the women’s field.

“The best part of the Cancun Challenge is that even if you lose,you can still spend time on your tan at the beach,” writes the Bleacher Report of this much-anticipated annual event. “In reality,all eight teams that enter this tournament are hoping to earn some resume-building wins and possibly a championship that the players will remember for a long time.”

Each program plays two games on campus either right before or immediately after the trip to Cancun and there are two separate brackets with a champion for each. In the end,the University of Northern Iowa Panthers took the Cancun Challenge crown in the men’s division by defeating the Northwestern Wildcats 61-42. In the women’s division,the University of Washington Huskies routed the Furman Paladins 101-69.

2014 Ford Ironman Cozumel

A record 2000 spectators and 500 triathletes from 62 countries gathered for this year’s Ironman Cozumel challenge,which was hosted on the gorgeous island of Cozumel,about 16 kilometers offshore from the thriving town of Playa del Carmen in the Riviera Maya,about 45 minutes south of Cancun. According to the website,this year the event offered 40 qualifying slots for the 2015 Ironman World Championship in Kailua-Kona,HI.

“The race starts with a single-loop swim in the protected waters of Chankanaab Park Beach,” writes Triathlon Magazine. “The three-lap bike course is flat and fast,following the coastline of beaches and resorts. The three-loop run is lined with local supporters and bands playing traditional Mexican music.”

Click here to read about the Top 4 Beaches of Cozumel according to USA Today.

In this year’s men’s race,American Michael Weiss took the number one spot in 8:12:16,followed by Australia’s Mat Chrabot in second at 8:29:50 and Spain’s Clemente Alonso McKernan,who took third with a time of 8:30:17. Olympic gold medallist Nicola Sprig won the women’s race in her debut Ironman,wowing crowds with a stellar final time of 9:14:07,followed by Denmark’s Michelle Vesterby in second at 9:17:30 and American Kelly Williamson,who took third at 9:24:41.

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