COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is set to welcome more than 1,300 triathletes from 120 collegiate clubs and more than 100 high school triathletes next month, for the 2017 USA Triathlon High School and Collegiate Club National Championships from April 21-22.
USA Triathlon was last in Tuscaloosa for Collegiate Nationals in 2011 and 2012, as well as for Age Group Nationals in 2009 and 2010.
The two-day collegiate event, which is expected to draw its largest-ever field, will kick off at 8:15 a.m. ET on Friday, April 21, with the fifth-annual USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships. Up to 75 men and 75 women who qualified for spots through their respective collegiate club teams and USA Triathlon’s 10 collegiate conferences will be on the start list. Athletes will cover a 750-meter swim in Black Warrior River, followed by a 20.5-kilometer, five-lap draft-legal bike leg and ending with a 5-kilometer run. The draft-legal format is similar to what is contested at the Olympic Games and ITU World Triathlon Series races.
April 21 will also see the second annual High School National Championships, added to the program in 2016. The event will be in a non-drafting format with a 750m swim, three-lap 21.45k bike and 5k run. The High School Program is designed to expand opportunities in the sport for young athletes ages 13-19 and grow triathlon clubs at the high school level. Awards will be presented to the top individual finishers as well as the top three clubs. Taylor Knibb (girls’) and Jake Baugher (boys’) were the inaugural high school national champions in 2016, while Sammy’s Fox Valley Region Club earned the high school club title.
The weekend continues with a larger field for the Olympic-distance Collegiate Club National Championships race on Saturday, April 22. The course, which covers a 1,500m swim, 40k bike, 10k run, is centered around the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater and travels in and around Jack Warner Parkway. The men will start at 7:30 a.m. ET, and the first women’s wave is scheduled for 10:20 a.m. ET. For the third straight year, the race will also feature a paratriathlon open wave going off at 9:30 a.m. ET and following a sprint-distance course.
The sixth annual Mixed Team Relay event will also be contested on April 22, with more than 50 relay teams set to compete. The relay will start at 4:15 p.m. ET. Teams are comprised of four athletes (two men and two women), with each athlete covering a 300m swim, 5.9k bike, 1.6k run course. This year’s relay will also feature up to 10 alumni teams for the first time. Mixed team relay events are gaining popularity in the U.S. and worldwide, as the ITU pushes for the format to be added to the program at future Olympic Games.
Qualified athletes may compete in both the draft-legal and Olympic-distance Collegiate National Championship events, and both races will count toward the overall team scores. Winners of individual races, as well as all team standings, will be announced at the award ceremony, scheduled for 8 p.m. ET on April 22 at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater.
The University of Colorado earned its seventh consecutive overall team title in 2016, and returns as the defending champion. Colorado also earned the men’s team title in 2016, while UCLA picked up the women’s team title for the third straight year. Colorado’s Brittany Warly (women’s) and Penn State’s Mike Meehan (men’s) topped the field of more than 100 athletes in the Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships. Erica Clevenger of the University of Arizona earned the women’s Olympic-distance collegiate title, while Meehan made it two wins in two days in the Olympic-distance event. Led by 2015 Collegiate Nationals champion Kelly Kosmo, UCLA took home the Mixed-Team Relay title.
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 races and connects with nearly 500,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, 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).