Hannah Henry, ASU Dominate Women’s Collegiate Nationals

Photo: Nils Nilsen/USA Triathlon

Arizona State University’s Hannah Henry and the rest of the Sun Devils dominated Sunday’s Women’s Collegiate World Championships on their home course in sunny Tempe, Ariz.

Georgia’s Emily Cameron—a former Olympic Swim Trials finalist—led the women out of the fast-paced 750-meter swim. She was followed by a pack that included several pre-race favorites, including Henry. From there, the athletes took on the draft-legal three-lap 20K bike ride up and down the roads surrounding Tempe Town Lake. The group behind Cameron got organized pretty quickly and were able to catch her by the midway point of the bike. Arizona State’s Charlotte Ahrens was the pace maker in that newly-formed front pack, putting her into T2 in the top position with teammates Henry, Kyla Roy, and Queens University of Charlotte’s Anabel Knolls right behind. Cameron was the next into transition at about 1:30 back, with a bigger group 1:42 back. With only 5K to run, it appeared the winner would come from those front four, and that’s exactly how it played out.

Henry, who has competed on the ITU circuit as a Junior representing Canada, posted a fast run to cross the finish line in first at 1:03:34, with her teammates Ahrens and Roy following in second and third, respectively.

The podium sweep guaranteed ASU the overall team championship on its home course. The Sun Devils are led by well-known head coach Cliff English and assistant coach Erin Densham—the 2012 London Olympic bronze medalist. In its second season of existence, they have established themselves as the frontrunner in collegiate triathlon—both in performance and as a model of what a triathlon program at the NCAA level can look like.

Women’s triathlon was established in 2014 as an emerging sport in the NCAA and was given 10 years to prove it can be successful as a full-fledged NCAA sport. By 2024, at least 40 NCAA Division I, II and II institutions must adopt the sport at the varsity level.

This year’s national championship still included both NCAA and club programs to ensure there was enough competition, but with the 19th program being added last week it’s likely we’ll see an NCAA-only championship in the near future.

The team awards were scored based on the finishing placements of the top three finishers on each team. ASU took the team title for the second consecutive year with six points, followed by Queens (17), the University of California at Berkeley (39), the University of Colorado at Boulder (48), and North Central College (86).

See our interview with Henry, as well as the top results, below.

2017 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run

Overall Team
1. Arizona State University, 6
2. Queens University of Charlotte (club program), 17
3. University of California at Berkeley (club program), 39
4. University of Colorado at Boulder (club program), 48
5. North Central College, 86

Overall Individual
1. Hannah Henry, Arizona State University, 1:03:34
2. Charlotte Ahrens, Arizona State University, 1:03:56
3. Kyla Roy, Arizona State University, 1:04:40
4. Anabel Knoll, Queens University of Charlotte (club program), 1:04:47
5. Kaitlyn Kramer, North Carolina State University (club program), 1:05:01

Team Champions by Division
Division I: Arizona State University, 6
Division II: Queens University of Charlotte (club program), 17
Division III: North Central College, 86

Individual Champions by Division
Division I: Hannah Henry, Arizona State University, 1:03:34
Division II: Anabel Knoll, Queens University of Charlotte (club program), 1:04:47
Division III: Grace Miller, North Central College, 1:10:00