SARASOTA, Florida — Arizona State University earned its second team victory of the varsity women’s collegiate triathlon qualifying season on Saturday, taking top honors at the East Regional Qualifier held at Nathan Benderson Park. The race served as the final opportunity for teams and individuals to earn berths to the Women’s Collegiate National Championship, set for Nov. 5 in Tempe, Arizona.
The competition was held in a duathlon (run-bike-run) format after algae levels in the lake due to recent weather conditions forced a cancellation of the swim leg. Athletes completed a 2.5-kilometer run, draft-legal 18.3-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. Forty-five athletes hit the start line in total, representing 15 different universities.
The first athlete across the line was Jocelyn Bonney (Long Beach, Calif.) in 1 hour, 4 minutes, 22 seconds. Emily Cameron of the University of Georgia finished second to Bonney in 1:04:33, but was declared the race champion due to Bonney’s ineligibility for awards as an athlete racing unattached. Cameron also earned the Division I individual title.
Queens University of Charlotte’s Caitlin Roper earned the Division II individual title with a time of 1:05:46, and Trine University’s Hannah Blystone was the Division III individual champion in 1:11:05.
Though racing unattached on Saturday, Bonney was enthusiastic about the progress of the varsity women’s triathlon movement.
“Every single year these races grow and get more competitive, and it’s so much more fun,” Bonney said. “Now we have this giant field with a whole bunch of world-class athletes, and it’s just amazing. There are great race opportunities now in the United States, close by, and with really high-level competition. It’s irreplaceable.”
ASU took home the team title, less than a month before the squad races on home turf at Nationals. The Sun Devils’ effort was led by Kyla Roy, who was second overall (third across the line behind Bonney and Cameron) in 1:04:47. Sarah Quintero and Rebecca Naughton also raced for ASU, placing fourth and sixth as individuals.
Queens University of Charlotte took the team runner-up spot, with Roper (3rd), Phelan Purnell (8th) and Caroline Condon (9th) scoring for the team. East Tennessee State University was third as a team, led by Morgan James (11th), Sarah Zimmer (12th) and Annika Cotner (15th).
Roy, who was the first finisher from a varsity program in Saturday’s race, said the ASU squad came to Sarasota prepared to race in the near-90-degree heat.
“In Arizona it’s also very hot, even if it’s not as humid,” Roy said. “We just use cooling techniques and remember to drink lots of water.”
A freshman at ASU, Roy said competing on the triathlon team has been a highlight of her first year as a Sun Devil.
“Our team is like a family,” Roy said. “We train together every day, and we see each other outside of training too. It’s awesome.”
Saturday’s East Regional Qualifier was the third and final regional race of the season, as collegiate athletes now look ahead to Nationals on Nov. 5 in Tempe. ASU was also victorious at the Central Regional Qualifier, held in Naperville, Illinois, on Sept. 4.
The University of California at Berkeley took top honors at the West Regional Qualifier, held on the Golden Bears’ home turf in Berkeley on Sept. 30.
Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January of 2014, enabling collegiate women to compete as varsity student-athletes and race in a competitive draft-legal format. For more information, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa or click here to view the full listing of current varsity programs.
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon East Regional Qualifier
2.5k run, 18.3k bike, 5k run
1. Arizona State University (varsity program)
2. Queens University of Charlotte (club program)
3. East Tennessee State University (varsity program)
Division I: Emily Cameron, University of Georgia (club program)
Division II: Caitlin Roper, Queens University of Charlotte (club program)
Division III: Hannah Blystone, Trine University (varsity program)
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).