Women's Collegiate Triathlon Returning to Tempe
1 Nov, 2018
A record field of 96 student-athletes from 18 varsity and four club teams are set to compete this Sunday at the USA Triathlon Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships in Tempe, Arizona. The race will be held at Tempe Town Lake for the second consecutive year, in conjunction with the Ignite the Fork Triathlon hosted by Arizona State University.
Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January of 2014, and the first varsity National Championships were held in the fall of that year. The sport has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA level. Twenty-five schools currently sponsor varsity women’s triathlon, up from 18 at this time last year. Click here for the full listing of programs.
The National Championships course features a 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. Due to the field size, the race will be split into two waves for the first time. NCAA Division I and II schools will go off in the first wave at 8:45 a.m. MST, while DIII and club teams will race at 10:30 a.m. MST.
Awards will be presented to the top two varsity teams in Division I, II and III, and the top two individual varsity athletes in Division I, II and III.
All teams and individual athletes racing this weekend qualified for Nationals through one of three Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Regional Qualifiers held during the fall season. The Central Regional Qualifier took place Sept. 16 in Watauga, Tennessee, followed by the West Regional on Sept. 23 in Longmont, Colorado, and the East Regional on Oct. 20 in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia.
ASU, the two-time defending DI national champions, showed they are the team to beat once again this season by winning the DI title at the East and West Regional Qualifiers. East Tennessee State University took top honors for DI teams at the Central Regional Qualifier.
Queens University of Charlotte looks on form to defend its DII national title, as the Royals topped their division at both the East and Central Regional Qualifiers. The West Regional DII title went to Colorado Mesa University.
Defending DIII national champions North Central College have had another stellar season, grabbing team victories at the East and Central Regional Qualifiers. Northern Vermont University is also one to watch in the DIII race after claiming the West Regional title.
Other teams that have reached the podium in at least one Regional Qualifier this year include the University of South Dakota (DI), Drury University (DII), Black Hills State University (DII), Davis and Elkins College (DII), Transylvania University (DIII) and Milwaukee School of Engineering (DIII).
Top DI athletes to watch include ASU’s Hannah Henry, Charlotte Ahrens and Kyla Roy, who swept the top-three overall spots in that order at Nationals last year. The University of South Dakota also brings a strong team, with Leah Drengenberg, Samantha Whitting and Payton Ryz all earning top-10 overall finishes at the West Regional Qualifier.
Queens’ Anabel Knoll and Tereza Zimovjanova, who placed fourth and sixth respectively at Nationals last year, are the top returning DII athletes. Black Hills State University’s Mathilde Bernard is also one to watch, having placed 13th overall at Nationals in 2017 and grabbing an 11th-place finish at the West Regional Qualifier.
Transylvania’s Elizabeth Moore is one to watch from the DIII and club wave. Moore made history at the Central Regional Qualifier, becoming the first DIII athlete to win a varsity women’s collegiate race. The top returner representing a DIII school is North Central College’s Grace Miller, who took 23rd overall at 2017 Nationals. Kate Canfield of North Central is also a strong DIII contender, as she was the second DIII athlete across the line at Nationals last year.
An age-group draft-legal race will be held on Sunday prior to the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Athletes will cover the same sprint-distance course as the collegiate women, and the first wave is set to go off at 7 a.m. MST.
Live updates from the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships will be available on Twitter @USATLive, and a race recap and photo gallery will be published at usatriathlon.org. For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa. Event details and course maps are available at thesundevils.com.
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships
Tempe Town Lake North Shore
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
EVENT SCHEDULE (All Times MST)
7 a.m.: Age-Group Draft-Legal Triathlon Start
8:45 a.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships Wave I (DI and DII) Start
9:30 a.m.: Age-Group Draft-Legal Triathlon Awards Ceremony
10:30 a.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships Wave II (DIII and Club) Start
1:15 p.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships Awards Ceremony
About USA Triathlon: USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors – as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation – USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).