COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon today confirmed the four events that will be contested as part of the 2019 women’s varsity collegiate triathlon season, including three regional qualifiers in the fall and a return to Tempe, Arizona, for the fifth annual Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships on Nov. 16.
Each race on the 2019 schedule will follow the competition structure implemented in 2014 for the inaugural season, with a maximum field of 75 women racing on a draft-legal, sprint-distance course (750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run).
The season begins Sept. 1 with the Central Regional Qualifier in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, hosted by race management company Experience Triathlon. The West Regional Qualifier will be held Sept. 15 at Belle Fourche Reservoir in Butte County, South Dakota, hosted by women’s NCAA triathlon institution Black Hills State University. The East Regional Qualifier is set for Oct. 19 at Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, as part of the Kinetic Cup Triathlon Festival hosted by Kinetic Multisports.
“The 2019 women’s collegiate triathlon season is set to be the most competitive yet, as we continue to expand opportunities for female student-athletes with each passing year,” said Jon Metz, President of the College Triathlon Coaches Association. “Schools across all three divisions are consistently recruiting individuals who bring not only top-level talent, but also integrity and sportsmanship, to the women’s NCAA triathlon family.”
All varsity teams that field athletes in at least one 2019 regional qualifier, and that are recipients of the USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Triathlon Emerging Sport Grant, will automatically qualify five athletes for the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships on Nov. 16. The top two NCAA varsity teams in each division at each regional qualifier will qualify up to seven athletes.
In addition, a minimum of the top five individual women in each event who are not already on a qualifying NCAA varsity team will earn pending qualification.
Teams and individual athletes may only qualify once. If a team or individual athlete finishes in a qualifying position at a second or third event, that spot will roll down to the next eligible team or athlete.
The National Championships field will be limited to 75 women representing NCAA varsity programs, and, dependent on the number of registered athletes, USA Triathlon-registered collegiate club athletes. More information on invitation criteria is available at usatriathlon.org/ncaa.
At the 2018 National Championships in Tempe, Arizona, North Central College secured a three-peat victory in the Division III competition. Queens University of Charlotte earned the DII title in its first year as a varsity program, and host Arizona State University won its third consecutive title in the DI competition.
Deemed an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, triathlon has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA Championship sport option. To date, 29 schools offer triathlon at the varsity level for women, including six at the NCAA Division I level, 12 in Division II and 11 in Division III.
“Since May of 2018, six colleges and universities have added women’s triathlon to their varsity sport portfolios — each one offering a unique experience for prospective student-athletes,” Jessica Welk, USA Triathlon’s High School, Collegiate Club and Women’s NCAA Coordinator. “USA Triathlon is enthusiastic about both the quantity and quality of schools that have expressed interest in adding the sport, as we move closer to achieving full-fledged NCAA Championship Sport status.”
In the last year, USA Triathlon has implemented several initiatives focused on adding depth and diversity to the women’s collegiate triathlon field. The organization is working with high schools and colleges nationwide — including a specific focus on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) — to identify potential collegiate multisport talent. Last fall, Hampton University became the first historically black college (HBCU) to add the sport at the varsity level for women.
For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa. For questions regarding events and programming, as well as invitation requests for women’s collegiate triathlon season competitions, contact Jessica Welk at Jessica.Welk@usatriathlon.org.
2019 Event Schedule
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Central Regional Qualifier
Date: Sept. 1
Location: Pleasant Prairie, Wis.
Host: Experience Triathlon
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon West Regional Qualifier
Date: Sept. 15
Location: Belle Fourche Reservoir, Butte County, S.D.
Host: Black Hills State University
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon East Regional Qualifier
Date: Oct. 19
Location: Smith Mountain Lake, Va.
Host: Kinetic Multisports
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships (qualification required)
Date: Nov. 16
Location: Tempe, Ariz.
Host: Arizona State University
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 at the grassroots level 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).