Women's NCAA Triathlon Season Gets Underway with First Two Regional Qualifiers

By USA Triathlon | Sept. 24, 2018, 7:58 p.m. (ET)

The women’s varsity NCAA triathlon season kicked off this month with the first two of three Regional Qualifiers, allowing teams and individual athletes to punch their tickets to the 2018 USA Triathlon Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships.

Kicking off the season was the Central Regional Qualifier in Watauga, Tennessee, on Sept. 26. The event was held as part of the Beware the Bear Triathlon hosted by East Tennessee State University (ETSU).

ETSU was the top-placing NCAA Division I program, with overall runner-up Lane McDonald and fifth-place finisher Morgan James leading the Bucs. The top DII program was Queens University of Charlotte, led by third-place finisher Marilena Swidrak. Taking top honors for DIII programs was North Central College, and Amelia Feltz was the top Cardinal finisher in 26th.

The Central Regional Qualifier was the first showing for three new varsity programs: Transylvania University, Millikin University and Milwaukee School of Engineering. Transylvania’s Elizabeth Moore was the first overall finisher.

The West Regional Qualifier was held in Longmont, Colorado, on Sept. 23, as part of the Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon. The West Regional marked the season debut for defending national champions Arizona State University (ASU), and the Sun Devils placed seven athletes in the top nine to take the win for DI programs. Defending individual national champion Hannah Henry took the tape, followed by Charlotte Ahrens in second place and Katie Gorczyca in third. 

The University of South Dakota had three athletes in the top-10 overall, with Leah Drengenberg placing fourth, Samantha Whitting eighth and Payton Ryz 10th. The Coyotes took second place for DI schools. 

The top DII school was Colorado Mesa University, and Anna Lausch was the first Maverick across the line with a 13th-place finish. Northern Vermont University claimed the DIII win, led by Margaret Connely in 23rd.

Northern Vermont University, Wagner College and the University of South Dakota fielded teams for the first time at the West Regional Qualifier. 

Wrapping up the qualifying season will be the East Regional Qualifier, set for Oct. 20 in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. The event will be held as part of the Liberty Triathlon Festival. For complete results for all regional qualifiers, click here

The Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships will return to Tempe, Arizona, on Nov. 4, as part of the Ignite the Fork Triathlon hosted by ASU.  

The NCAA named triathlon an Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, a designation that gives the sport a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA level. USA Triathlon is more than halfway to its goal of recruiting 40 schools by 2024. For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa.

Women's Collegiate Triathlon Central Regional Qualifier | Watauga, Tenn.
350m swim, 8.1k bike, 2.5k run

Individual Awards by Division

Division I

1. Lane McDonald (East Tennessee State University)
2. Morgan James (East Tennessee State University)

Division II 
1. Marilena Swidrak (Queens University of Charlotte)
2. Amber Custodi (Daemen College)

Division III
1. Elizabeth Moore (Transylvania University)
2. Naomi Hill (North Central College)

Team Awards by Division

Division I
1. East Tennessee State University, 19

Division II
1. Queens University of Charlotte, 17
2. Drury University, 45

Division III
1. North Central College, 29
2. Transylvania University, 53

Women's Collegiate Triathlon West Regional Qualifier | Longmont, Colo.
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run

Individual Awards by Division

Division I
1. Hannah Henry (Arizona State University)
2. Charlotte Ahrens (Arizona State University)

Division II
1. Mathilde Bernard (Black Hills State University)
2. Anna Lausch (Colorado Mesa University)

Division III
1. Margaret Connely (Northern Vermont University)
2. Ellery Keifer (Northern Vermont University)

Team Awards by Division

Division I
1. Arizona State University, 6
2. University of South Dakota, 21

Division II
1. Colorado Mesa University, 45
2. Black Hills State University, 48

Division III
1. Northern Vermont University, 84