For the fifth year in a row, the Arizona State University women’s triathlon team won the NCAA DI championship—though the competition is getting tighter as the collegiate sport grows. At the championships held on home turf at Tempe Town Lake in Arizona this past weekend, the Sun Devils again won the team title, while Queens University of Charlotte its winning streak as well with their sixth straight DII national championship. The DIII team title went to a new champion, as Trine University took home its first national title.
Women’s collegiate triathlon is the latest emerging sport for women, and is hoping to hit the 40 school mark by the end of the year. The NCAA would then vote on if it becomes an official NCAA championship sport—and this national championship race would be taken over and run by the NCAA (instead of USA Triathlon). In the seven years since it was announced as an emerging sport, the competition at the national event has grown and new athletes and teams have begun to emerge.
This weekend, as part of the Sun Devil Draft–Legal Classic, age-group draft-legal national titles were awarded before the main collegiate event. The 159 college athletes from 34 collegiate programs, then, competed on a sprint-distance course, with a 750m swim, draft-legal 20K bike, and 5K run.
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Athletes await the starting gun at the 2021 NCAA Women’s Triathlon Championships.
Chara Hinds of Delaware State University exits T1 to begin the 20-kilometer bike leg of the race.
The NCAA collegiate races are draft-legal, and team dynamics were evident throughout the bike, as athletes worked to secure the best position possible for their team members.
159 athletes from 34 collegiate programs raced across the three divisions for DI, DII, and DIII.
Kira Gupta-Baltazar, of the University of San Francisco, earned the overall DI win, crossing the line in 1:04:20. This was the second win of the season for Gupta-Baltazar, as she also won the St. George National qualifier in October.
The ASU trio of Amber Schlebusch, Kyla Roy and Alexandrine Coursol finished sixth-seventh-eighth to help propel the Sun Devils to the team title.
Athletes from Queens University of Charlotte huddle with their coach before the start of the DII race. The team had a strong showing, with five athletes breaking into the top ten.
In the DII race, Wingate University’s Finja Schierl earned the top honor after a grueling battle on the course. In the pack in the swim and bike, Schierl stood out on the run, running the fastest 5K split of the day to earn the win with a 1:06:15 overall time. This is Schierl’s second win of the season after she claimed victory at Smith Mountain Lake in October.
After a successful season, where she won two of the three qualifying races, Hailey Poe of North Central College earned the individual championship honor in the DIII race. She secured her title right out of the gate, leading on the swim and never faltering until she crossed the finish line at 1:12:01 to claim the victory.