King University in Bristol, Tennessee, Adds Women's Triathlon as Varsity Sport

By USA Triathlon | Jan. 25, 2019, 10:07 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today announced that King University in Bristol, Tennessee, has added women’s triathlon as a varsity sport. The NCAA Division II program is the second in the state of Tennessee, joining East Tennessee State University (DI) in Johnson City. The team will begin competition in the fall of 2019.

“USA Triathlon proudly welcomes King University to the women’s varsity triathlon family, and we look forward to the increased opportunities this addition will bring young athletes in the Mideast Region,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “The university leadership at King has been engaged and enthusiastic throughout this initial process, and I am confident they will build a strong and sustainable program over the next year.”

King is the seventh school in USA Triathlon’s Mideast Region to add the sport at the varsity level, providing close proximity to Region competitors Belmont Abbey College (DII, Belmont, N.C.), Davis & Elkins College (DII, Elkins, W.V.), ETSU, Hampton University (DI, Hampton, Va.), Queens University of Charlotte (DII, Charlotte, N.C.), and Transylvania University (DIII, Lexington, Ky.). 

King’s Athletic Director, David Hicks, will serve as the team’s head coach. Hicks is an avid age-group triathlete, having completed a variety of triathlons from sprint to ultra-distance over the past five years.

“I’m excited about this opportunity,” said Hicks. “I’ve followed collegiate triathlon since it received Emerging Sport status in 2014, and feel like now is the perfect time to launch the sport at King. I have developed a passion for the sport, and am eager to begin recruiting and preparing for our first season.”

ETSU head coach Janine Pleasant, who serves on the board of the College Triathlon Coaches Association, played a key role in helping King’s women’s triathlon program become a reality. 

“ETSU is very excited to have King University join us in representing the Tri-Cities Region,” said Pleasant. “It is a testament to our strong triathlon culture here to have two teams in the same Region. David Hicks is a competitive triathlete himself as well as a good friend. I look forward to working together to promote the sport and develop incredible athletes.”

King was awarded the USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant, which provides funding to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level. King will receive $70,000 from the USA Triathlon Foundation to offset startup costs and supplement funding for the program’s first three years.

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. King is the 27th school in the nation to add the sport, bringing USA Triathlon closer to its goal of recruiting 40 schools by 2024.

Women’s triathlon is a fall sport, and the varsity season includes three Regional Qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Races are sprint-distance, featuring a 750-meter open-water swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. 

For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa. For questions regarding women’s collegiate triathlon events and programming, contact Jessica Welk at Jessica.welk@usatriathlon.org

Women’s Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs (as of Jan. 25, 2019):

NCAA Division I 

Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.) 
East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.) 
Hampton University (Hampton, Va.)
University of San Francisco (San Francisco. Calif.)
University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.)
Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.) 

NCAA Division II 
American International College (Springfield, MA)
Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.) 
Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.) 
Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.) 
Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y.) 
Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, W.V.) 
Drury University (Springfield, Mo.) 
King University (Bristol, Tenn.)
Montana State University Billings (Billings, Mont.)
Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.) 
Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C.) 

NCAA Division III 
Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.) 
Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.) 
Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis.) 
North Central College (Naperville, Ill.) 
Northern Vermont University-Johnson (Johnson, Vt.)
Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.) 
Trine University (Angola, Ind.)
Willamette University (Salem, Ore.)

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 — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation —  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).