TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — The 2018 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships kicked off Friday morning in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, as Hannah Koski (University of California, Berkeley) and Daniel Lloyd (U.S. Naval Academy) claimed victories in the draft-legal races.
The draft-legal competition is the first of three collegiate races happening over the next two days in Tuscaloosa. In addition to crowning individual champions, national titles will be awarded to the top men’s, women’s and overall (men’s and women’s combined) clubs based on combined results from all three races.
All races at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club & High School National Championships were changed from triathlons (swim-bike-run) to duathlons (run-bike-run) due to strong currents in the Black Warrior River that were deemed unsafe for swimming. Athletes in Friday morning’s race instead completed a 2.5-kilometer run, followed by a draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and another 2.5-kilometer run.
In the women’s race, Koski finished up the first run in 8 minutes, 57 seconds, a 5:46 mile pace. Kaitlyn Kramer (North Carolina State Unviersity), Hannah Grubbs (University of California, Los Angleles) and Tereza Zimovjanova (Queens University of Charlotte) were all within a minute of Koski heading onto the bike. The foursome formed a hard-charging lead pack, riding together for nearly the entire four-lap course. As they headed into the second transition, they had about a minute’s gap on the large chase group.
The podiums would come down to the run, and Koski once again was able to pull ahead. She crossed the line in 51:36, 14 seconds ahead of runner-up Kramer. Grubbs crossed third in 52:02, followed by Zimovjanova in fourth in 52:19.
“I’m overwhelmed. I played soccer my first three years at Cal,” Koski said. “And then somehow, I met Dean Harper (head coach of Cal Triathlon). I was telling him after the race that I’ve never wanted to win for anyone but myself, and he’s the first person I’ve wanted to win it for. He’s so passionate, and he’s the reason I did this sport. “
In the men’s race, Maximillian Sperl (Queens University of Charlotte) led the first run with a time of 7:36. Lloyd was in second after the run, but it was a close race with 12 athletes all within 10 seconds of each other. That led to a large lead pack forming on the bike, with about 15 men staying together for most of the course. As they headed into the second transition, the national title was anyone’s to claim.
As they rounded the halfway point of the final run, Justin Lippert of Clemson had an eight-second advantage on Thomas Sonnery-Cottet (Liberty Univeristy), Lloyd and Sperl — but with a fast final 1.25k, Lloyd and Sperl kicked their way to the front. In an all-out sprint down the finish chute, Lloyd claimed the title in 44:13, and Sperl took second just 0.72 seconds behind him. Jonathan McKinley (University of California, Berkeley) sprinted his way up to third in 44:14, while Devin Volk (California Polytechnic State University) took fourth in 44:16.
“We had to get some points today to start it off,” said Lloyd, whose win put Navy in a strong position heading into tomorrow’s Olympic-distance race. “(My teammates are) the hardest-working and best friends I could ever ask for. I don’t do it because of triathlon. I do it because of them.”
The action continues tomorrow with the Olympic-Distance Collegiate Club Championships, in which athletes will cover a 5.2k run, 40k bike and another 5.2k run. Then on Saturday afternoon, teams of four athletes (two men, two women) will compete in the Mixed Team Relay event. Each athlete will cover a 1.07k run, 5.9k bike and 1.2k run before handing off to the next teammate, with the fastest combined time winning the race.
Results from both the draft-legal and Olympic-distance races will factor into men’s and women’s club scores, while the Mixed Team Relay will factor into overall (combined men’s and women’s) team scoring for the first time this year. Final club standings will be announced at the Awards Ceremony, which is set for 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Sellers Auditorium in the Bryant Conference Center.
The USA Triathlon High School National Championships were also held Friday in Tuscaloosa, with Drew Shellenbeger (Indianapolis, Ind.) and Gillian Cridge (Indianapolis, Ind.) earning the boy’s and girl’s national titles respectively.
Athlete tracking, event shedules and more are available on the USA Triathlon Events App, available now for free download on iPhone and Android devices. Athlete tracking is also available in a web-browser-based version of the app, available by clicking here. All events will also be covered live on Twitter @USATLive.
For more information about the 2018 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club & High School National Championships, visit usatriathlon.org/ccnc2018.
2017 USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships
2.5k run, 20k bike, 2.5k run | Complete Results
1. Hannah Koski (University of California, Berkeley), 51:36
2. Kaitlyn Kramer (Noth Carolina State University), 51:50
3. Hannah Grubbs (University of California, Los Angeles), 52:02
4. Tereza Zimovjanova (Queens University of Charlotte), 52:19
5. Melissa Mazzo (University of Colorado, Boulder), 52:59
1. Daniel Lloyd (U.S. Naval Academy), 44:13
2. Maximillian Sperl (Queens University of Charlotte), 44:13
3. Jonathan McKinley (University of California, Berkeley), 44:14
4. Devin Volk (California Polytechnic State University), 44:16
5. Thomas Sonnery-Cottet (Liberty University), 44:20
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 events and connects with more than 400,000 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).