CLEMSON, S.C. — Penn State’s Jason West and UCLA’s Kelly Kosmo clinched the first wins of the weekend on Friday at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships, posting the fastest times of the day in the sprint-distance Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships at Campus Beach.
West clocked in at 56 minutes, 33 seconds on the 750-meter swim, 20.8-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course to win his first Collegiate Club National title and the first for Penn State in the last decade. West posted a 14:37 5k split to move into the lead after trailing on the bike. William Jones from UCSD was second out of the water and held his position through the finish to cross the line in 56:52, and Andrew Nielsen of Wisconsin was third in 57:01.
After exiting the water near the front of the field, Jones and Nielsen combined forces to ride out front on the 20.8k bike leg. West was in a chase pack with Collin Chartier of Marymount, Greg Harper from Cal, Michael Poole from University of Southern Florida, Brian Gorman of Minnesota, Michael Arishita of Texas A&M and Stanford’s Andrew Roos and Thomas Roos. Though the chase was trailing by about 1 minute entering the second transition, West unleashed his unmatched run speed to win by nearly 20 seconds.
“I was just really confident in my run. I know it’s my strength and I know if I keep clawing back I’ll get there,” said West, who is a senior at Penn State and competing in his last Collegiate Club Nationals. “Being able to run down the finish line and really take it all in … it’s hard to describe how much hard work has gone into it. Since I was 16 years old, this is a race I’ve wanted to win. To come across the line first and have my parents at the finish line, it’s definitely special for me. It’s the last time I’ll put on a Penn State uniform so it couldn’t end any better.”
Kosmo, who finished third in 2014, made her move on the last 2.5k stretch of the run to post a finishing time of 1:06:33. Like West, Kosmo posted the fastest run of the day and set UCLA on an early pace to defend their women’s team title from 2014. Brittany Warly of Colorado had the second-fastest run of the day to set herself into position as the women’s runner-up in 1:06:43, and Molly Supple of Arizona took third by 1 second over Emily Dingman of Colorado State, finishing in 1:07:01.
Clare LeGuyader from UCSD, who swam collegiately at William & Mary as an undergraduate, led the women out of the water. Out on the bike, Cal’s Jocelyn Vides, Marymount’s Brooke Saunders and Supple powered ahead to lead a chase pack of 11 women, but it all came down to the run. Dingman was the first out of transition with Kosmo close behind, and led until after the start of the second lap. Then Kosmo surged ahead to take the tape.
“I know I’ve put in a lot of hard work, but I know there are a lot of people who go through a lot harder things in life, and really it’s their inspiration that makes me feel like I can run myself into the ground,” said Kosmo, the winner of the first-ever Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships, held in November following triathlon’s approval as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women. “I have some pretty incredible teammates, so I’m excited to see what we can do [tomorrow]. We’ve all been working hard and I’m proud of everyone, no matter what happens, but we could have what it takes.”
The Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships is in its third year on the Collegiate Club Nationals program and more than 110 athletes toed the line on Friday morning to kick off the weekend of collegiate action in Clemson.
Races will continue Saturday as more than 1,250 collegiate triathletes, including Friday’s champions West and Kosmo, duke it out for valuable points in the Olympic-distance championship event. Covering a 1,500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run, the race will help teams secure men’s, women’s and overall team titles. The men’s race will start at 7:30 a.m. ET, followed by the women at 10:40 a.m. ET. A paratriathlon wave will also be held for the first time, beginning at 9:45 a.m. ET.
A live blog from Clemson will be available on usatriathlon.org/usatcn15coverage beginning at 7:15 a.m. ET.
The Mixed Team Relay at 4:15 p.m. will close out the weekend. Each four-person team must consist of two females and two males who will complete a super-sprint triathlon before tagging their teammate. All athletes will complete a 250m swim, 6k bike and 1.25k run.
Visit usatriathlon.org/usatcn15 for more information on Collegiate Nationals.
USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships
750m swim, 20.8k bike, 5k run
Complete results will be available here
Men's Top 5
1. Jason West (Penn State), 56:33
2. William Jones (UCSD), 56:52
3. Andrew Nielsen (Wisconsin), 57:01
4. Mike Meehan (Penn State), 57:20
5. Brian Primeaux (Navy), 57:27
Women's Top 5
1. Kelly Kosmo (UCLA), 1:06:33
2. Brittany Warly (Colorado), 1:06:43
3. Molly Supple (Arizona), 1:07:01
4. Emily Dingman (Colorado State), 1:07:02
5. Melanie Rabino (Minnesota), 1:07:56