The USA Triathlon Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships will be held at Tempe Town Lake for the second consecutive year.
Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January of 2014, and the first varsity National Championships were held in the fall of that year. The sport has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA level. Twenty-six schools currently sponsor varsity women’s triathlon, up from 18 at this time last year. (See the complete list here.)
The national championships course features a 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike, and 5-kilometer run. Due to the field size, the race will be split into two waves for the first time. NCAA Division III and club teams will go off in the first wave at 8:45 a.m. MST, while DI and DII teams will race at 10:30 a.m. MST.
Awards will be presented to the top two varsity teams in Division I, II and III, and the top two individual varsity athletes in Division I, II and III.
All teams and individual athletes racing this weekend 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. 16 in Watauga, Tenn., followed by the West Regional on Sept. 23 in Longmont, Colo., and the East Regional on Oct. 20 in Smith Mountain Lake, Va.
ASU, the two-time defending DI national champions, showed they are the team to beat once again this season by winning the DI title at the East and West Regional Qualifiers. East Tennessee State University took top honors for DI teams at the Central Regional Qualifier.
Queens University of Charlotte looks on form to defend its DII national title, as the Royals topped their division at both the East and Central Regional Qualifiers. The West Regional DII title went to Colorado Mesa University.
Defending DIII national champions North Central College have had another stellar season, grabbing team victories at the East and Central Regional Qualifiers. Northern Vermont University is also one to watch in the DIII race after claiming the West Regional title.
Other teams that have reached the podium in at least one Regional Qualifier this year include the University of South Dakota (DI), Drury University (DII), Black Hills State University (DII), Davis and Elkins College (DII), Transylvania University (DIII) and Milwaukee School of Engineering (DIII).
Top DI athletes to watch include ASU’s Hannah Henry, Charlotte Ahrens, and Kyla Roy, who swept the top-three overall spots in that order at Nationals last year. The University of South Dakota also brings a strong team, with Leah Drengenberg, Samantha Whitting and Payton Ryz all earning top-10 overall finishes at the West Regional Qualifier.
Queens’ Anabel Knoll and Tereza Zimovjanova, who placed fourth and sixth respectively at Nationals last year, are the top returning DII athletes. Black Hills State University’s Mathilde Bernard is also one to watch, having placed 13th overall at Nationals in 2017 and grabbing an 11th-place finish at the West Regional Qualifier.
Transylvania’s Elizabeth Moore is one to watch from the DIII and club wave. Moore made history at the Central Regional Qualifier, becoming the first DIII athlete to win a varsity women’s collegiate race. The top returner representing a DIII school is North Central College’s Grace Miller, who took 23rd overall at 2017 Nationals. Kate Canfield of North Central is also a strong DIII contender, as she was the second DIII athlete across the line at Nationals last year.
Live updates from the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships will be available on Twitter @USATLive.
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships
Tempe Town Lake North Shore
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
Event Schedule (All Times MST)
7 a.m.: Age-Group Draft-Legal Triathlon Start
8:45 a.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships Wave I (DIII and Club) Start
9:30 a.m.: Age-Group Draft-Legal Triathlon Awards Ceremony
10:30 a.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships Wave II (DI and DII) Start
1:15 p.m.: Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships Awards Ceremony