COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced that St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkill, N.Y., is the sixteenth school in the nation to add a varsity women’s triathlon program. The Division II women’s triathlon team will begin competing in the fall of 2018.
St. Thomas Aquinas is the second school in New York to add the sport to its varsity athletic offerings, joining Daemen College in Amherst.
The addition of the women’s triathlon program was 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.
“USA Triathlon is proud to welcome St. Thomas Aquinas College as the newest varsity women’s triathlon program in the nation, and we look forward to seeing the Spartans on the race course in 2018,” said USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris. “The program will benefit from the outstanding leadership and support of the St. Thomas Aquinas Athletic Department, and I have no doubt the team will find success in its inaugural season.”
“The addition of women’s triathlon is a great opportunity for St. Thomas Aquinas College,” said Gerald Oswald, Athletic Director at St. Thomas Aquinas College. “We are excited to be the first university in the New York Metropolitan area to offer the sport. There are so many great local events throughout the tri-state area, and we look forward to being a part of the triathlon community.”
St. Thomas Aquinas graduate George Erazo was named the team’s head coach, and alumna Gina Funaro will serve as assistant coach. Erazo was a national competitor for the Spartan men's track & field team, and as a senior advanced to the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship for the 400-meter event. Erazo is a member of the El Salvador National Track & Field Team.
Funaro is a regional admissions coordinator for the St. Thomas Aquinas College admissions department. As a Spartan, she was a captain and competitor for the women’s track & field team.
St. Thomas Aquinas joins eight other women’s collegiate triathlon programs competing at the Division II level, including Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.), Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.), Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.), Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.), Daemen College (Amherst N.Y.), Drury University (Springfield, Mo.), Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C.) and the University of West Alabama (Livingston, Ala.).
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.
For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women and to view the current list of varsity programs, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa. For questions regarding varsity collegiate women’s triathlon events and programming, contact Jessica Welk at Jessica.email@example.com.
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).