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Varsity Womens Collegiate Triathlon Season Heating Up at Smith Mountain Qualifer

By USA Triathlon | Oct. 18, 2021, 8:32 a.m. (ET)

SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE, Va. — The Kinetic Cup Triathlon Festival hosted by Kinetic Multisports welcomed top student athletes from across the nation on Saturday to compete in the second National Qualifier race of the 2021 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon season.

Athletes completed a sprint-distance 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer draft-legal bike and 5-kilometer run. Awards were presented to the top-two teams and the top-two individuals in each NCAA Division (DI, DII and DIII).

Finja Schierl of Wingate University earned the overall win, crossing the line in 1 hour, 1 minute and 54 seconds, also seizing the Division II individual victory. Following in second was DII athlete Natalia Hidalgo Martinez (Davis & Elkins College) who finished in 1:02:08. Completing the overall podium was Clara Normand (Wagner College) in third at 1:02:20, earning the DI individual title on the day.

Earning the DIII individual win was Trine University’s Amira Faulkner, who finished in 1:07:55.

In the team awards, University of Denver came out on top for the DI schools, earning 51 points with three athletes finishing in the top 10. Freya McKinley led for the Pioneers, finishing fourth overall across divisions. The University of South Dakota was the next standing DI team, finishing with 97 points.

In the DII category, Queens University of Charlotte was the leading team, ending the day with 76 points, followed by Colorado Mesa University with 105 points.

Team DIII honors were a close battle. Millikin University earned the top spot with 34 points, led by Hope Roderick, who finished fifth overall in the division. In second, there was a tie between North Central College and Trine University, which both earned 38 points. Ultimately, second place was awarded to North Central College as tiebreakers go to the fourth fastest finisher on the team, which was Natalie Grolmes, who finished just 27 seconds ahead of the fourth finisher for Trine University.

The final qualifying stop of the women’s collegiate triathlon season before November's Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships will be the St. George National Qualifier on Oct. 30 in St. George, Utah hosted by Intermountain Tri.

Following that event, the top eight teams from the season's three qualifiers, as well as the top 20-ranked individual athletes in each division will head to Tempe, Arizona, on Nov. 13 for the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships, hosted by Arizona State University. 

Deemed an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, triathlon has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA Championship sport by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs by 2024. To date, 37 schools offer triathlon at the varsity level for women, including nine at the NCAA Division I level, 15 in Division II and 13 in Division III. Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania (DII), was the latest school to earn its varsity status in June.

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

Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Smith Mountain Lake National Qualifier 
Smith Mountain Lake, Va. | 750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run | Complete Results 
 
Individual Champions by Division 
Division I: Clara Normand (Wagner College), 1:02:20 
Division II: Finja Schierl (Wingate University), 1:01:54 
Division III: Amira Faulkner (Trine University), 1:07:55 
 
Team Champions by Division 
Division I:  University of Denver, 51 points 
Division II: Queens University of Charlotte, 76 points 
Division III: Millikin University, 34 points