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Wingate University in North Carolina Adds Women’s Triathlon as Varsity Sport

By USA Triathlon | June 08, 2020, 8 a.m. (ET)

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — USA Triathlon, along with Wingate University Vice President and Director of Athletics Steve Poston, today announced that Wingate University in Wingate, North Carolina, will add women’s triathlon to its varsity sport offerings. The school is the 36th in the nation, and the 14th at the NCAA Division II level, to add the sport at the varsity level.

The inaugural team will begin competition in the fall 2021 season, and a national search for a head coach will commence this summer.

“USA Triathlon is proud to welcome Wingate University to the women’s NCAA triathlon family — especially at a time when colleges and universities nationwide are facing unique and significant challenges,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “We commend the university and athletic leadership for maintaining their commitment to adding competitive opportunities for women at the varsity level, and we look forward to seeing the inaugural team on the race course next fall.”

“I am very excited that Wingate athletics will be adding another varsity women's sport to our program,” Poston said. “After much research, we determined that women's triathlon would be an excellent fit to our robust athletic offerings. Providing an additional competitive opportunity for women has been a part of our strategic plan, and we believe the time is right to launch this growing sport. We are very appreciative of the support and encouragement that we continue to receive from USA Triathlon. Without their help, it would have been very difficult to begin women's triathlon at this time.”

The addition of women’s triathlon as Wingate’s 23rd intercollegiate sport is made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the varsity level.

The school is the fifth in North Carolina to add the sport. The Bulldogs will benefit from nearby competition with state rivals Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C., DII), Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C., DIII), Lenoir-Rhyne University (Hickory, N.C., DII) and defending DII national champions Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.). 

In addition to the North Carolina-based schools, Wingate joins eight other varsity programs located in USA Triathlon’s Mideast Region: Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, W.V., DII), Delaware State University (Dover, Del., DI), East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn., DI), Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va., DIII), Hampton University (Hampton, Va., DI), King University (Bristol, Tenn., DII), Mary Baldwin University (Staunton, Va., DIII) and Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky., DIII).

The NCAA named triathlon an Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, a designation that gives USA Triathlon a 10-year window to demonstrate the sport’s sustainability at the NCAA level by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs. The governing body is quickly approaching that goal with momentum on its side, as 28 schools have added the sport since January of 2017, and 36 schools have done so since 2014.

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. Interested in helping to identify and recruit the next women’s varsity collegiate triathlon program? Inquiries may be directed to Tim Yount, USA Triathlon Chief Sport Development Officer, at Tim.yount@usatriathlon.org.

Women’s Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs (as of June 8, 2020): 

NCAA Division I 

Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.) 
Delaware State University (Dover, Del.)
East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.) 
Hampton University (Hampton, Va.) 
Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, Texas)
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, Mass.)
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.) 
Lenoir-Rhyne University (Hickory, N.C.)
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.) 
Wingate University (Wingate, N.C.)

NCAA Division III 
Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.) 
Central College (Pella, Iowa)
Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.) 
Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.)
Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C.)
Mary Baldwin University (Staunton, Va.)
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 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).