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Kelly Kosmo of UCLA raced to victory on Sunday, earning the first-ever Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships title.
See the recap from USA Triathlon below:
The inaugural women-only championship was established as one of the early steps in recognizing triathlon’s status as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women. Held at Lake Louisa State Park, a field of women ages 16-25 competed on a draft-legal 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run course.
Kosmo clocked in at 1:05:03 to capture the title, crossing the finish line nearly one minute ahead of the field. Kosmo also finished third earlier this year at the Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships, held as part of the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships. Bria Edwards of Penn State was second with a time of 1:06:01, and Kosmo’s UCLA teammate Ella Eser was third in 1:06:47.
“It’s fun to be out there with my teammates,” said Kosmo, who studies astrophysics. “It was definitely worth the trip. I feel like it means a lot for the future of triathlon and the sport has really given a lot to me. It’s become an awesome lifestyle, so I’d like to promote that and help other people get into it.”
Kosmo was trailing after the swim, exiting the water in sixth place behind Eser and Edwards. With the second-fastest bike split and the third-fastest run split, Kosmo moved up through the field with the help of the draft-legal tactics to become the champion.
Though Kosmo had competed in a draft-legal event before, athletes like Edwards were experiencing the format for the first time.
“It means a lot to compete here,” Edwards said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and it’s going to be cool when it’s an NCAA sport. If this event can build, I think it’ll get a lot of notoriety and recognition. I know I myself am going to try to promote this race, because it’s awesome. If we want to see this as a pipeline for the U.S. and for Olympic hopefuls, and we want the U.S. to be on the podium, I think this is the first step to it.”
Triathlon received overwhelming approval through a voting process this past January at the NCAA Conference in San Diego by Division I, II and III colleges and universities to be included as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, and has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA sport option.
“Just hearing that the sport could be an NCAA sport, I really wanted to be part of that,” Eser said. “Being on the UCLA team for a while, seeing what a great sport it is and the potential it has, I wanted to come out and do this for the people after me.”
For more information on triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit usatriathlon.org/ncaa.
2014 Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships
750m swim, 20k bike, 5k run
1. Kelly Kosmo (UCLA), 1:05:03
2. Bria Edwards (Penn State), 1:06:01
3. Ella Eser (UCLA), 1:06:47
4. Rachel Mann (Georgia Tech), 1:07:08
5. Savannah Deardon (UCSB), 1:07:42
6. Megan Howard (Navy), 1:08:19
7. Hannah Meadows (Navy), 1:08:56
8. Jocelyn Bonney (Unattached), 1:09:09
9. Allison Light (UCLA), 1:09:38
10. Stephanie Murphy (Navy), 1:09:48