TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Stephanie Murphy of the U.S. Naval Academy and Sean Harrington of the University of California, Santa Barbara claimed Olympic-distance titles at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships on Saturday in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.
The marquee race of Collegiate Club Nationals weekend featured nearly 1,300 collegiate athletes from 120 club teams. 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. The Olympic-distance course instead featured a 5.2-kilometer run, followed by a 40-kilometer bike and another 5.2-kilometer run.
In the women’s race, Georgetown University’s Toria Sullivan was in the lead after 5.2k of running. Hannah Grubbs from the University of California, Los Angeles took the lead from Sullivan on the bike, averaging nearly 23 miles per hour through the 40k course. Murphy was coming for her, though, and the Navy athlete was only eight seconds behind Grubbs by the time they hit the second run.
“I felt like I could (catch up), but I didn’t know what was up with the girls behind us,” Murphy said. “I just kept going because I knew my teammates were counting on me, and I was counting on them.”
Murphy ran the final 5.2k in 20 minutes, 12 seconds, passing Grubbs and breaking the tape with a total time of 1:49:54. Sullivan ran back up to second place, crossing the line in 1:50:10, and Grubbs ended up third in 1:50:23. Murphy’s win gave Navy its second individual title of Collegiate Club Nationals, after Daniel Lloyd claimed the win in the men’s draft-legal race Friday morning.
The women of University of California, Berkeley had an especially strong day, with all four scoring athletes finishing inside the top 10. Sophia Steffens, Katherine Hoolihan and Friday’s draft-legal champion Hannah Koski took fourth through sixth respectively, while Tara Gallant placed 10th.
On the men’s side, 2017 Olympic-distance runner-up Sean Harrington of UCSB grabbed his first national title. Cal Berkeley’s Jonathan McKinley was the leader after the first run, with a 38-second gap on the rest of the field heading into transition. McKinley, however, dropped down the leaderboard over the course of the 40k bike while Harrington moved up. By the halfway point, Harrington had pulled into the lead — but Timothy Winslow of Colorado was not far behind.
By the time they hit the second transition, it was Winslow in front with just one second on McKinley. The national title would come down to the run, and Harrington’s 17:32 split was enough to reclaim the top spot with a total time of 1:33:58. Colorado’s Roy Madrid ran his way from fourth to second place with a total time of 1:34:18, and his teammate Winslow took third in 1:34:46.
“I can hardly even say what it meant to me, to be the first across that finish line,” Harrington, a graduate student, said. “It’s something I’ve visualized so much this last season, just trying to put myself in that moment. It’s nothing compared to what it actually feels like when you cross that line. And then to see my coach, (Matt Ison) — he’s a grown man in tears. It really shows you how much it means to him, to me and to my whole team. They’ve been there for the whole thing.”
Two collegiate athletes raced in the Paratriathlon Open division, completing a 5.2k run, 20k bike and another 5.2k run. Ryan Porteus of UCSB, using a racing wheelchair for the run and a handcycle for the bike, was the first paratriathlete across the line in 1:42:45. Ashley Eisenmenger of North Central College, a visually-impaired athlete competing with guide Jennifer Hufnagle, finished in 1:48:41.
“It’s so nice that para has an opportunity to compete here, because nothing beats a National Championship’s feel,” said Eisenmenger, whose guide is also her teammate on the North Central varsity women’s triathlon team. “We are really killer on the bike together. Getting to go out and train (with my teammates) every day — it’s just really great to have a core group of school friends who I can train and race with. We’re like a family.”
Racing wraps up this afternoon with the Collegiate Club Mixed Team Relay event. Relay teams are comprised of four athletes (two men, two women), with each one covering a 1.07k run (for athlete No. 1, that distance will be 0.87k), 5.9k bike and 1.2k run before handing off to the next teammate.
The Collegiate Club National Championships club titles — men’s, women’s and overall — will be announced after the Awards Ceremony, set for this evening at 8 p.m. CT. 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.
For more information and results from the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club & High School National Championships, visit usatriathlon.org/ccnc2018.
USA Triathlon Collegiate Club Olympic-Distance National Championships*
5.2k run, 40k bike, 5.2k run
*Complete results will be available at usatriathlon.org/ccnc2018 after Saturday night’s Awards Ceremony.
1. Stephanie Murphy (U.S. Naval Academy), 1:49:54
2. Toria Sullivan (Georgetown University), 1:50:10
3. Hannah Grubbs (University of California, Los Angeles), 1:50:23
4. Sophia Steffens (University of California, Berkeley), 1:51:12
5. Katherine Hoolihan (University of California, Berkeley), 1:51:56
1. Sean Harrington (University of California, Santa Barbara), 1:33:58
2. Roy Madrid (University of Colorado, Boulder), 1:34:18
3. Timothy Winslow (University of Colorado, Boulder), 1:34:46
4. Thomas Sonnery-Cottet (Liberty University), 1:34:51
5. Jonathan McKinley (University of California, Berkeley), 1:35:07
5.2k run, 20k bike, 5.2k run
1. Ryan Porteus (University of California, Santa Barbara), 1:42:55
2. Ashley Eisenmenger (North Central College) and guide Jennifer Hufnagle, 1:48:41
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).