TEMPE, Arizona — Three Arizona State University women swept the individual podium on Sunday at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship at Tempe Town Lake, as the Sun Devils successfully defended their team title on home soil.
Freshman Hannah Henry took the individual win, followed by sophomore Charlotte Ahrens in second and freshman Kyla Roy in third. Eighty-one women hit the start line, a record field for the third official National Championship since triathlon became an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January of 2014. In total, 11 varsity teams and 10 club teams were represented at all three divisions.
Athletes covered a sprint-distance course featuring a 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. Emily Cameron of the University of Georgia was first out of the water with a gap of several seconds, while a group of seven women followed behind her. Cameron rode alone at the front of the field for the first lap, but was eventually reeled in by a strong chase pack of four including Henry, Ahrens, Roy and Queens University of Charlotte’s Anabel Knoll.
The four leaders stayed together through the rest of the bike course, and had a gap of more than a minute and a half on Cameron and the rest of the field by the time they hit the second transition. The podium spots would come down to the run, and Henry had what it took to break away from the field. She broke the tape in 1 hour, 3 minutes, 34 seconds, earning an individual title in her first National Championship as a Sun Devil.
Ahrens came through 22 seconds later in 1:03:56, followed by Roy in 1:04:40 to complete the ASU sweep. Knoll maintained her spot in the top four, crossing the line in 1:04:47, and Kaitlyn Kramer of North Carolina State University rounded out the top five individuals in 1:05:01.
“It’s awesome that we all came top-three and that our whole team did so well,” Henry said. “This sport is so new at the collegiate level, and it’s great that we were able to finish strong and have this much support. There were definitely some strong girls here, so I’m happy.”
“I felt great the whole race. I don’t know where I got the energy, but it must have been all the support from my family and friends that came here to cheer us on today,” Ahrens said. “I’m so proud of my coaches, Cliff English and Erin Densham, for what they’ve been able to do the past few years.”
The team awards were scored based on the finishing placements of the top three finishers on each team, similar to cross-country scoring. ASU took the team title for the second consecutive year with six points, followed by Queens (17), the University of California at Berkeley (39), the University of Colorado at Boulder (46) and North Central College (83).
“As a team, I think we worked really well. It’s been a long season for all of us,” said Caitlin Roper of Queens, who placed ninth overall as an individual. “We’re a relatively new team with a lot of young athletes, so I think coming back next year we’ll have an even better formation and we’ll be looking to claim our title back from 2015. We also have such an international team — I’m from England, Anabel is from Germany and we have another girl from the Czech Republic, so I think with the cultures we come from, we’re only going to benefit from our different experiences.”
Awards were also presented to the top individual and team finishers in each division. ASU was the top Division I school, Queens earned the Division II title, and North Central College claimed the Division III crown. The individual division champions were Henry of ASU (DI), Knoll of Queens (DII) and Grace Miller of North Central College (DIII).
“It’s an honor to be competing against girls in all three divisions,” said Hannah Blystone of Trine University, the Division III runner-up team. “Some of them have competed in world championships and some could possibly be future Olympians, so it’s a privilege to be here and be able to compete against everyone.”
Serving as announcers for the race were 2016 U.S. Olympian Ben Kanute and USA Triathlon National Team Member Renée Tomlin. Tomlin, who ran cross-country and track at Georgetown University and wasn’t familiar with triathlon until after college, said the opportunities available to collegiate women today are a huge step forward for the sport.
“It’s definitely full-circle for me to be here. I competed at a number of NCAA championships in track & field and cross-country for Georgetown University, but now to be able to contribute in the sport of triathlon, it means a lot to me,” Tomlin said. “To be able to watch this sport grow and see what these women are now able to do, it’s just really cool. Maybe not all of these girls are thinking that they’ll go compete in the Olympics someday, but slowly over time, opportunities will present themselves that otherwise wouldn’t.”
Nineteen schools currently offer women’s triathlon as a varsity sport, with four new programs announced in the last month. For the full listing of varsity teams and to learn more 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.
2017 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run — Complete Results
1. Arizona State University, 6
2. Queens University of Charlotte (club program), 17
3. University of California at Berkeley (club program), 39
4. University of Colorado at Boulder (club program), 46
5. North Central College, 83
6. University of West Alabama, 91
7. Black Hills State University, 96
9. East Tennessee State University, 123* (tie)
10. University of Minnesota (club program), 123* (tie)
11. Colorado Mesa University, 139
12. Trine University, 151
13. Concordia University Wisconsin, 178
1. Hannah Henry, Arizona State University, 1:03:34
2. Charlotte Ahrens, Arizona State University, 1:03:56
3. Kyla Roy, Arizona State University, 1:04:40
4. Anabel Knoll, Queens University of Charlotte (club program), 1:04:47
5. Kaitlyn Kramer, North Carolina State University (club program), 1:05:01
Team Champions by Division
Division I: Arizona State University, 6
Division II: Queens University of Charlotte (club program), 17
Division III: North Central College, 83
Individual Champions by Division
Division I: Hannah Henry, Arizona State University, 1:03:34
Division II: Anabel Knoll, Queens University of Charlotte (club program), 1:04:47
Division III: Grace Miller, North Central College, 1:10:00
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).