TEMPE, Arizona — USA Triathlon today announced Davis & Elkins College in Elkins, West Virginia, as the 19th school in the nation and the first in West Virginia to offer women’s triathlon as a varsity sport. The Division II school announced its commitment at a reception on Friday night in Tempe ahead of this Sunday’s Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship.
Davis & Elkins is the ninth Division II school to add triathlon to its varsity sport offerings. The Senators join five other East Coast-based varsity programs: Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C., DII), Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y., DII), Marymount University (Arlington, Va., DIII), St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y., DII) and Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C., DII). Click here for the full listing of current varsity programs.
“The NCAA triathlon movement is gaining momentum as we welcome the Davis and Elkins Senators to our family on the weekend of our third official Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship,” said USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris. “With four new varsity programs announced in the last month, we are nearly halfway to our goal of committing 40 schools by 2024. As the sixth varsity program on the East Coast, Davis & Elkins will benefit from competitive racing opportunities regionally while raising the game for our Division II teams nationwide.”
The Senators plan to open competition in the fall of 2018 with at least five student-athletes competing in four events, with the eventual goal of expanding the team roster to 16.
"Our continued commitment to inclusivity and offering unique opportunities with emerging sports for women were the driving forces behind our decision to add women’s triathlon. We are proud to join 18 other institutions who are committed to providing young women opportunities to use their outstanding athletic gifts and apply their passion for sport competing in NCAA intercollegiate athletics in pursuit of their undergraduate degrees,” said Jamie Joss, Director of Athletics at Davis & Elkins College. "To become the first program in West Virginia to take advantage of access to outstanding training environments in Elkins and throughout the Appalachian region is a great honor. The opportunity to join other NCAA programs in the region, along with accessibility to hundreds of sprint triathlons within West Virginia and the neighboring states, provides an excellent platform for an outstanding student-athlete experience for our future triathletes."
The addition of the Senators’ women's triathlon program is made possible through a $70,000 grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women's Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women's triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level.
Davis & Elkins has begun a national search for a head women’s triathlon coach and immediate recruitment of student-athletes. Once a head coach is hired, the school will pursue partnerships in the community to assist with the development of its varsity program.
Triathlon received overwhelming approval through a voting process in Jan. 2014 at the NCAA Convention in San Diego by Division I, II and III colleges and universities to be included as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, and has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA sport option by recruiting at least 40 schools to offer the sport at the varsity level.
The varsity season, which is composed of three regional qualifiers and the Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championship, features sprint-distance races covering a 750-meter open water swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike, and 5-kilometer run.
For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa. For questions regarding varsity collegiate women’s triathlon events and programming, contact Jessica Welk at Jessica.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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).