Third year student Mark A. Fretta wins Chicago Triathlon

Triathlon day in Chicago last Sunday was one of the hottest on record, but that didn't stop third-year law student Mark A. Fretta from winning in just under two hours.

It's the first time Fretta has won the event, which is the largest in the U.S. Fretta, 33, now is on track to qualify for the 2012 Olympic Games in London. With the temperature soaring past 90 degrees, Fretta said he was "dying out there. It was so hot and I was so tired. I just tried to keep putting one foot in front of the other. "There was a little bit of tailwind coming back and that gave a little bit of a psychological boost."

About 8,500 people competed in two races. Some complained about a lack of water and 20 people were taken to local hospitals, mostly due to hydration issues. Fretta finished 45 seconds ahead of his nearest rival. Oddly enough, Fretta's time last year was 10 minutes faster but he ended up in fifth place. That may have been because the temperature was 15 degrees cooler, he said.

Now it's back to his final semester at Willamette, where Fretta will graduate in December. He plans to use his law degree to become a sports agent. The 2010 Olympics, if he qualifies, will be his last. Although there has been a simplicity to his life - eating, sleeping studying, training -- Fretta said he's looking forward to leaving the grind behind.

Glancing around Rick's Café at students talking and studying, he said, "I don't know the first name of any person in this room. I've had some luck, enjoyed the ride, and I'm looking forward to focusing on a career."