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Women’s Collegiate, Age Group Draft-Legal National Championships Head to Tempe Saturday

By USA Triathlon | Nov. 12, 2019, 11:01 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — Tempe, Arizona, will welcome hundreds of the nation’s top triathletes from the collegiate and age group ranks this Saturday at the USA Triathlon Women’s Collegiate Triathlon and Age Group Draft-Legal National Championships. The races are held as part of the Sun Devil Draft-Legal Classic, hosted by Arizona State University at Tempe Town Lake North Shore.

A record field of 126 student-athletes from 25 varsity teams are set to compete at the sixth annual women’s collegiate championships, which return to Tempe for the third consecutive year. Nearly 400 athletes from 42 states will contest the second annual age group draft-legal championships, which head to Tempe for the first time after being held in Sarasota-Bradenton, Florida, last year.

The course for collegiate athletes consists of a 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run. The collegiate races will be split into two waves, with NCAA Division III teams starting at 11:30 a.m. MST and DI and DII teams going off at 1:30 p.m. MST.

A free livestream of both collegiate races will be available at triathlonlive.tv, with four-time U.S. Olympian Hunter Kemper and Sun Devil Triathlon senior Sarah Quintero serving as race commentators. 

Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, and the first varsity National Championships were held in the fall of 2015. The sport has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA level. Thirty-one schools currently sponsor varsity women’s triathlon, up from 26 at this time last year. Click here for the full listing of programs.

All collegiate teams and individuals qualified for Nationals through one of three Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Regional Qualifiers held during the fall season. The Central Regional Qualifier took place Sept. 1 in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, followed by the West Regional Qualifier Sept. 15 in Belle Fourche Reservoir, South Dakota, and the East Regional Qualifier Oct. 19 in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia. 

ASU is the favorite in the DI competition, having won the DI team title the last three years. The Sun Devils have shown no signs of slowing down in 2019, sweeping all three Regional Qualifiers. The squad is led by two-time defending individual national champion Hannah Henry, who took the win at the East Regional Qualifier, and Kyla Roy, who won both the Central and West Regional Qualifiers.

Queens University of Charlotte has been the DII program to beat since the first National Championships in 2015, when the Royals were the top team overall. Natalie Bash has been the top Queens athlete this season, finishing second in the DII race at the East Regional Qualifier. 

Three up-and-coming DII teams are prepared to challenge the Royals. Colorado Mesa University, Davis & Elkins College and Drury University have each claimed one Regional Qualifier DII team victory this year. CMU’s Mazzy Jackson took the DII individual title at the West Regional Qualifier, Davis & Elkins’ Natalia Hidalgo Martinez took the East Regional title, and Drury’s Jayme-Sue Vermaas took the Central Regional win.

North Central College is the three-time defending champion in the DIII competition. The Cardinals have continued to dominate in 2019, winning the East and Central Regional Qualifiers (there was no DIII competition at the West Regional event). Madelyn Scopp has been North Central’s top performer this year, claiming the DIII individual East Regional Qualifier victory. Amira Faulkner of Trine University was the DIII individual champion at the Central Regional Qualifier, and Ellery Kiefer of Northern Vermont University-Johnson took top honors at the West Regional Qualifier.

For more information about triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa.

The Age Group Draft-Legal National Championships, set for 7 a.m. MST, will also feature a 750m swim, draft-legal 20k bike and 5k run. Top finishers in each age group earn the chance to represent Team USA at the 2020 ITU Age Group Sprint Triathlon World Championships in Edmonton, Alberta, which are also draft-legal. 

Colin Wilson (Coral Gables, Fla.) and Brooke Kessler (Harpers Ferry, W.V.) were the overall champions at the 2018 Age Group Draft-Legal National Championships in Sarasota-Bradenton.

Four defending age group champions from 2018 return to defend their titles: Samatha Downey (McLean, Va., aging up to F25-29), Nicholas Seeber (Wayland, Mass., M20-24), Alicia Caldwell (Denver, Colo., F55-59) and Ron Gierut (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, M60-64).

To learn more about Team USA, comprised of the top amateur triathletes who represent the United States at ITU Age Group World Championships, visit usatriathlon.org/teamusa.

For complete event information for the USA Triathlon Women’s Collegiate Triathlon and Age Group Draft-Legal National Championships, visit the event page at usatriathlon.org.

EVENT SCHEDULE (All Times MST) — Tempe Town Lake North Shore
7 a.m.: Age Group Draft-Legal National Championships Start
11 a.m.: Age Group Draft-Legal National Championships Awards Ceremony
11:30 a.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships Division III Start
1:30 p.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships Division I and II Start

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 & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).