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Colorado Wins Collegiate Club Nationals For Seventh Straight Year

It was a busy weekend of racing in Clemson, S.C.

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The Buffaloes from the University of Colorado made it seven in a row on Saturday, earning the combined team title by a margin of 21 points at the 2016 USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships, and also earning the men’s team title. UCLA picked up their third-straight women’s team title and won the Mixed Team Relay.

Look back on the entire weekend from Clemson, S.C. with recaps from USA Triathlon:

Overall Team, Combined and Mixed Relay Results

Colorado scored 4,033 points in the combined team event, thanks to top-five finishes in back-to-back days from Brittany Warly and Dan Feeney. The Buffaloes have won the team title every year since 2010 and own a total of 17 combined team titles. UCLA was second overall after finishing third last year, earning a combined 4,012 points in large part through their women’s team win. The U.S. Naval Academy finished third overall, and also won the Armed Forces team award.

Colorado’s men scored 2,048 to best the rest of the men’s teams in the event, and Navy finished second with 2,020 points with Brian Primeaux leading the way. The UCLA men finished third with 1,958 points after finishing outside of the top three last year. The UCLA women held on to their team title with a total of 2,054, with a solid lead over second place Queens University of Charlotte, who earned 1,987 points, and Colorado, who finished with 1,985 points.

Mike Meehan represented Penn State as the winner of the men’s combined award with his two individual championship titles, scoring 600 points for a perfect score. Feeney was the men’s combined silver medalist with 594 points, and Texas A&M’s Michael Arishita was third with 590 points.

Erika Ackerlund notched a win for Montana with 596 points, ahead of Colorado’s Brittany Warly in a tie-breaker (based on Olympic-distance race finish position). The pair finished just one point ahead of last year’s combined women’s champion Kelly Kosmo, who picked up 595 points in the closest combined individual race in the event’s history.

Kosmo was also a member of the winning Mixed Team Relay team, along with her UCLA teammates Hannah Grubbs, Matt Stewart and Zach Jaeger. The UCLA team finished in 1:08:17, just 5 seconds ahead of the Arizona TriCats in second. Navy was third.

“It’s sort of just a close of the weekend, and I was really happy with my races earlier today and yesterday. This was an opportunity to close out my final year as an undergraduate at UCLA,” Kosmo said. “We’ve been through a lot this year as a team, so we were out there doing it for Coach Brady and for the team. I wanted to not let anyone down, and it’s short enough you can really just go for it, not put too much thought into it and just go.”

Overall, the Mixed Team Relay event included 66 teams, the most in the relay’s five year history. Between all three collegiate races, a record 132 schools were represented over the weekend.

Overall Team Standings
1. Colorado, 4,033
2. UCLA, 4,012
3. Navy, 3,995
4. Texas A&M, 3,867
5. California, 3,855

Women’s Team Standings
1. UCLA, 2,054
2. Queens University of Charlotte, 1,987
3. Colorado, 1,985
4. Navy, 1,975
5. California, 1,961

Men’s Team Standings
1. Colorado, 2,048
2. Navy, 2,020
3. UCLA, 1,958
4. Texas A&M, 1,935
5. West Point, 1,922

Mixed Team Relay
1. UCLA, 1:08:17
2. Arizona, 1:08:22
3. Navy, 1:08:54

Men’s Combined Award
1. Mike Meehan (Penn State), 600
2. Dan Feeney (Colorado), 594
3. Michael Arishita (Texas A&M), 590

Women’s Combined Award
1. Erika Ackerlund (Montana), 596*
2. Brittany Warly (Colorado), 596
3. Kelly Kosmo (UCLA), 595

Armed Services Team Champions: Navy
Team Spirit Award: Oregon State

Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships Recap

(Friday, April 22)

The first collegiate titles were awarded on Friday at Campus beach as Mike Meehan from Penn State and Brittany Warly from Colorado topped the field of more than 100 athletes who toed the line of the USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships.

Covering a 750-meter swim, 19.6-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course that featured draft-legal tactics on the bike, Meehan clocked in at 53 minutes, 16 seconds to earn the men’s title. It is Meehan’s second USA Triathlon national title and first collegiate triathlon title, and it is the second-straight men’s Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships title for Penn State, coming on the heels of Jason West’s win last year. Colorado’s Dan Feeney took second in 53:32, and John Felix picked up the bronze for Clemson in 53:45.

The draft-legal bike made all the difference for Meehan, who came out of the water in 15th place after California’s Greg Harper set the pace. Though Meehan trailed by roughly 10 seconds at the start of the bike, he was part of a pack that worked to reach the leaders, and the front pack swelled to more than 15 athletes. By the second transition, Meehan was up by a few seconds on the field and never lost his advantage as he ran his way to victory.

“My training has been going really well,” Meehan said. “I knew that I was in good form, I just had to make sure that I came into T2 first because that’s where a lot of people make the mistake coming in too far back. I thought it was within reach, but I knew everything had to be executed perfectly.”

In the women’s race, Warly surged ahead on the run to clinch the women’s title in 1:00:34 after finishing second in this event last year. It is Warly’s first individual USA Triathlon national title, though she has been a member of the six-time national champion University of Colorado Buffalos Triathlon Team. Erika Ackerlund of Montana was second after a gutsy solo ride on the bike, finishing in 1:01:12, and UCLA’s Kelly Kosmo was third in 1:01:47.

Warly was within reach of the lead at the early part of the race, coming out of the water in eighth as Shelly Harper from Duke led the charge. While Ackerlund made a break on the bike to enter the second transition with a nearly 40 second advantage, Warly hung in the chasing group and made her move on the early part of the run. Her run split was the fastest of the day and gave her a solid margin of victory to set Colorado on track to defend their team title.

“I don’t really go into races expecting to win,” Warly said. “It’s more like executing and having a good swim. It’s amazing [to help Colorado earn points]. It’s huge. It was really nice to have back up this year. I had Heidi [Stimac] doing the race — a freshman on our team. That was really nice because last year I had to race alone. Being able to contribute and doing well the first day puts our team in a good position for the second day.”

Men’s Overall
1. Mike Meehan (Penn State), 53:16
2. Dan Feeney (Colorado), 53:32
3. John Felix (Clemson), 53:45
4. Dylan Morgan (West Point), 54:03
5. Michael Arishita (Texas A&M), 54:11

Women’s Overall
1. Brittany Warly (Colorado), 1:00:34
2. Erika Ackerlund (Montana), 1:01:12
3. Kelly Kosmo (UCLA), 1:01:47
4. Melissa Rios La Luz (Webber International), 1:02:44
5. Melissa Teeple (Marymount), 1:02:53

Collegiate Club National Championships (Olympic-distance) Recap

(Saturday, April 23)
Erica Clevenger from the University of Arizona made her move on the last lap of the run to claim her first collegiate triathlon title, while Mike Meehan from Penn State picked up his second title in two days at the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships, held Saturday at Campus Beach.

Clevenger finished the 1,500-meter swim, 40-kilometer bike, 10-kilometer run course in 2 hours, 15 minutes, 50 seconds to best the field. Clevenger finished seventh last year, and plans to return in 2017 to defend her title as a senior for the Arizona TriCats. Kelly Kosmo of UCLA returned to the race course to earn her second medal in two days of racing with a time of 2:16:10 after taking the bronze Friday, and Montana’s Erika Ackerlund also earned her second medal of the weekend to pick up bronze in 2:16:31.

Shelly Harper from Duke led the women out of the water for the second-straight day, while Clevenger had a gap of 4 minutes to close on the bike and the run. Clevenger posted one of the fastest bike splits of the day, riding 40 kilometers in 1:07:34 to close in on the lead as athletes headed out on the run. Kosmo was in the middle of the field on the swim, and after making up time on the bike, she and Clevenger were within 15 seconds of each other at the start of the run. In the final 10 kilometers, Kosmo could not match Clevenger’s run speed, and Clevenger crossed the line with a 20 second advantage.

“I wouldn’t really ever say that I knew [I could win], but I knew I had to give it a shot. I’d be mad at myself if I didn’t give it a try,” said Clevenger, who credits her cycling prowess to her win. “Kelly’s beat me in a sprint before, so I knew I’d have to make a move if I wanted to win. This is the closest I’ve been to a team sport, and it’s unreal – there’s no way I could get to the level I’m at without my team.”

In the men’s race, Meehan had a monster bike to put him in prime position to win his second title in two days in 1:58:24. Meehan is the first athlete to win both races since 2013 when Arizona’s Ben Kanute won the double. Sean Harrington with UCSB had the fastest time over 10k to move his way into second place with a final time of 1:59:11, and Michael Arishita from Texas A&M was third in 1:59:50.

It was another fastest swim of the day for Greg Harper of California, who led out of the water with Seth Rider from Queens. After the first of two bike laps, Rider was in the lead with Harper just behind him, but Meehan and a number of other athletes, including Christopher Douglas from Georgia Tech and Joel-Tyler Rogers from San Diego State, had moved into the lead at the end of the bike leg. Once out on the run, Meehan opened a huge gap to finish nearly 50 seconds ahead of the rest of the field.

“Honestly, I knew that there were a lot of fast guys with fresh legs. Yesterday the guys were really close to me and I knew that I had to have an awesome race if I wanted to come in first again,” said Meehan, who was feeling the effects of the rising temperature at the finish. “It hasn’t hit me yet. Ask me in a couple of hours, and I’ll know how special it really is.”

Newton Nguyen of California also raced on Saturday, returning as the sole paratriathlete to finish a sprint-distance course in 1:22:08.

Men’s Overall
1. Mike Meehan (Penn State), 1:58:24
2. Sean Harrington (UCSB), 1:59:11
3. Michael Arishita (Texas A&M), 1:59:50
4. Collin Chartier (Marymount), 1:59:53
5. Dan Feeney (Colorado), 2:00:41

Women’s Overall
1. Erica Clevenger (Arizona), 2:15:50
2. Kelly Kosmo (UCLA), 2:16:10
3. Erika Ackerlund (Montana), 2:16:31
4. Laura Haley (Arizona), 2:18:40
5. Brittany Warly (Colorado), 2:18:47

Collegiate Paratriathlon National Champion

1. Newton Nguyen (California), 1:22:08

Recap the entire weekend at Usatriathlon.org/usatcn16coverage.