Women Leaders: Emily Ridgeway - Balancing College and Triathlon

By brenda barrera | Oct. 10, 2014, 9:38 a.m. (ET)
This past summer at the 2014 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships in Milwaukee, Wisc., the USA Triathlon Women’s Committee hosted a booth inside the expo and many female triathletes stopped by to share their success stories and express excitement about the recent NCAA Emerging Sport for Women status. We had a raffle with some neat USA Triathlon swag and the lucky winner was Emily Ridgeway, President of the Mizzou Triathlon Club (University of Missouri-Columbia). On November 2, 2014, she will be competing at the first Women's Collegiate National Championship in the draft-legal sprint distance event.

Let’s get to know this young leader a little better:

 
Emily Ridgeway, 21
University of Missouri-Columbia
Major: Health Sciences; Minor: Psychology
Mizzou Triathlon Club, President (2013-current); Member (2011-current)

 
Emily Ridgeway grew up in a very small town, New Bloomfield, Mo. (population

 Emily Ridgeway and her new USA
Triathlon gear courtesy of the USA
Triathlon Women's Committee raffle.

669), and was just two years old when her parents divorced. She was introduced to the sport of triathlon during summer visits with her father, who ran road races and participated in triathlons. During middle school and high school, she played basketball and ran on the track and field team.
 
New Bloomfield High School did not have a cross country team. So what did she do? During her senior year, she helped organize a way to race cross country.

“I wasn’t the team superstar,” admits Emily via an email exchange, but as the team captain she took her role seriously.
 
“I had to keep people motivated to continue coming to practices and not quit,” she said.  “We came up with themes for each day of the week: Headband Mondays, Tube Sock Tuesdays, Wacky Wednesdays (purple t-shirt), Retro Thursdays and Super Hero Fridays.”
 
In 2011, Emily began her freshman year at the University of Missouri-Columbia and wanted to become more involved in campus life so she joined the triathlon and rugby clubs, and also trained for her first half marathon all while tackling a full course load.
 
A confident runner, Emily had seen her running times drop and worked to improve her swimming and cycling before tackling the Emporia State Triathlon in 2012. Not only was this her first venture into the sport, but it also happened to be the Midwest Collegiate Conference Championship race and a qualifier for the following month’s USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships. She finished that race sixth out of ten women.
 
This year — in addition to her busy race schedule — she is taking five classes plus an internship, serves on the campus Club Sports Executive Committee, works part-time at a running/multisport store and is involved in the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
 
Being a college club president involves juggling many responsibilities: working
 
Emily Ridgeway sports her Team USA
polo at the Mizzou Triathlon Club's
first team meeting of the school year
which had more than 60 students in
attendance.

with multiple sponsors, fundraising, budgeting and finances, setting up practice schedules and organizing travel to races. These skill sets are certain to fill out any new graduate’s resume and she is the first to admit it’s a team effort with the other club officers.
 
This past summer they organized a triathlon beach volleyball tournament to raise funds to send the team to national events. The club also hosts an indoor triathlon and training clinic during winter to raise funds for the team to attend the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships.
 
Over the past several years, Emily has developed a passion for the sport and learned many lessons including anything is possible when you put your mind to it, stick to your faith and work hard everyday.
 
Emily Ridgeway’s Triathlon Accomplishments:
  • ​2012 USA Triathlon Long Course National Champion (19 and under); earned a spot on Team USA for the half Ironman distance.
  • 2014 USA Triathlon Long Course National Championships fourth place (20-24 age group); earned a spot on Team USA for the half Ironman distance.
  • 2014 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships 33rd place (20-24 age group); earned a roll-down spot on Team USA for the Olympic-distance.
  • 2014 USA Triathlon Age Group National Championships 15th place (20-24 age group); earned a spot on Team USA for the sprint distance.
  • 2014 USA Triathlon Club National Championships:​
    • Super sprint: first place (20-24 age group); second overall female.
    • Olympic-distance and sprint distance: first place (20-24 age group).
    • Triple Challenge (all three races combine): second overall female
For more information on the Mizzou Triathlon Club.

About the USA Triathlon Women’s Committee
The USA Triathlon Women’s Committee is focused on creating a resource for female athletes of all levels and socioeconomic backgrounds by mentoring professional growth for women in the sport of triathlon. The Women’s Committee is concentrating on the quality of training as well as opportunities available for women in positions of authority and decision-making within associations that govern the sport. The WC is a national committee of women from all over the U.S. with a variety of professions and diverse levels of participation in triathlon.

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