Stephanie Jenks Youth Olympic GamesStephanie Jenks (left) with her silver medal (REUTERS/Aly Song)

Click here for the schedule of the Youth Olympic Games on Universal Sports.

NANJING, China — Junior triathlete Stephanie Jenks raced her way to a silver medal at Xuanwu Lake on Sunday morning, earning one of the first medals of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games.

Jenks (Aurora, Iowa), 17, posted a time of 1 hour, 33 seconds on the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run sprint-distance course for the silver medal. Jenks finished 37 seconds behind gold medal winner Brittany Dutton of Australia, who clocked in at 59:56, and was comfortably ahead of bronze medalist Emilie Morier of France, who finished in 1:00:55.

“I’m really happy with it,” said Jenks, who was celebrating her birthday along with her silver medal performance. “I went out and gave it my all. I raced with no regrets and I couldn’t have done any better.”

Jenks was the 10th athlete out of the water and was part of the second bike pack early on in the race. On the fourth and final lap of the 20k bike course, Dutton made a split from the lead pack for a solo break, and the chase pack, including Jenks, was able to catch the lead group heading into transition. Then Jenks used her run speed to her advantage, posting the second fastest run of the day to move into a medal-winning finish position.

“At the first lap, I was kind of wishing I could get some time but I maintained through the first lap,” said Jenks, who finished second in the 3,000 at the USA Track & Field Junior Outdoor Championships in July. “I kept working and pushing it, hoping I could get her.”

Triathlon was the opening medal event of the 2014 Youth Olympic Games, and Jenks’ silver medal is the fourth medal for the U.S. in the history of the Youth Olympic Games. At the inaugural Games in 2010 in Singapore, U.S. triathletes Kevin McDowell and Kelly Whitley earned silver and bronze, respectively, in the individual events, as well as bronze in the team relay.

Seth Rider (Germantown, Tenn.) will compete in the men’s triathlon event in Nanjing, set to take place Monday, Aug. 18 at 9 a.m. local time (9 p.m. ET on Aug. 17). Jenks and Rider may also represent the Americas in the Mixed Relay event, scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 21. Visit nanjing2014.org for more information.

(From USA Triathlon Press Release)