COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — A record field of more than 80 student-athletes representing 11 varsity and 10 club teams will compete at the USA Triathlon Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship, to be held this Sunday in Tempe, Arizona.
The race is set for 10:30 a.m. MST at Tempe Town Lake, and features a sprint-distance 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.
Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January of 2014, and the first official Women's Collegiate National Championship was held in 2015. The sport 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. Eighteen schools currently sponsor varsity women’s triathlon; click here for the full listing of programs.
Both varsity and club teams had the opportunity to qualify for Nationals through one of three Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Regional Qualifiers held throughout the fall season. Arizona State University earned victories at both the Central Regional Qualifier in Naperville, Illinois, on Sept. 4, and the East Regional Qualifier in Sarasota, Florida, on Oct. 7. The University of California at Berkeley, a club program, earned the title at the West Regional Qualifier in Berkeley on Sept. 30.
At the National Championship, awards will be presented to the top five teams overall, the top-placing Division I, Division II and Division III teams, and the top-placing Division I, II and III individuals.
ASU took home the overall and Division I titles last year, with four Sun Devils finishing in the top 10. Charlotte Ahrens, Sarah Quintero and Delaney Bucker return to the start list for ASU after placing seventh, ninth and 14th respectively in 2016. Last year’s overall runner-up, Katie Gorczyca, is sidelined with an injury.
Ahrens has had a strong 2017 season, earning the individual win at September’s West Regional Qualifier, while newcomers Hannah Henry and Kyla Roy have also reached the podium individually this year. Henry won the Central Regional Qualifier, and Roy placed third at both the East and Central Qualifiers.
The University of West Alabama was the top-placing varsity Division II school at Nationals in 2016. The young team is led by Caitlyn Muncher, who placed 30th in 2016, while junior Julia Bergmann also returns to the National Championship squad.
North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) is the defending Division III champion, and top-30 finishers Grace Miller and Jennifer Hufnagle both return to the start list.
Other strong teams this season include East Tennessee State University, a Division I program that took third overall at the East Regional Qualifier, and Trine University, whose standout Hannah Blystone placed top-15 at both the Central and East Regional Qualifiers.
Serving as announcers at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship are 2016 U.S. Olympian Ben Kanute and USA Triathlon National Team Member Renée Tomlin. Kanute and Tomlin will take part in a meet-and-greet that is open to the public prior to the race from 9-9:30 a.m. MST.
An age-group draft-legal race, the Ignite the Fork Triathlon, will be held on Sunday prior to the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship. Athletes will cover the same sprint-distance course as the collegiate women, and the first wave is set to go off at 7 a.m. MST.
Live coverage of the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship will be available at usatriathlon.org and on Twitter at @USATLive. For more information about women’s triathlon as an Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa. Event details and course maps are available at thesundevils.com.
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship
Tempe Town Lake North Shore
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
7 a.m.: Age-Group Draft-Legal Triathlon Start, Wave 1 (Men)
7:15 a.m.: Age-Group Draft-Legal Triathlon Start, Wave 2 (Women)
9 a.m.: Meet-and-Greet with 2016 U.S. Olympian Ben Kanute and USA Triathlon National Team Member Renée Tomlin
10:30 a.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship Start
1:15 p.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship Awards | Tempe Mission Palms Hotel, 60 E. 8th St.
• Live Coverage
• 2016 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship Results
• 2017 Regional Qualifier Results
• Event Details and Course Maps
• About Triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women
• List of Varsity Programs
EVENT HASHTAG: #ncaatri
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).