Individual and team national titles on the line in Tempe, Ariz.
A field of nearly 1,250 men’s and women’s collegiate triathletes from 119 clubs will race for individual and team national titles at this weekend’s 2014 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships in Tempe, Ariz.
The second annual USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships will open the weekend’s festivities at Tempe Town Lake, which include three events over two days of competition. Nearly 130 athletes will participate in the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run sprint-distance event, which features athletes who qualified to compete within their collegiate conferences. The men’s race begins at 9 a.m. PT, and the women will race at 11 a.m. PT.
Also on Friday from 2-4 p.m. PT, USA Triathlon will be hosting its first-ever NCAA Triathlon Summit following the January 2014 decision to include triathlon as the next NCAA Emerging Sport for Women. Over 70 triathlon coaches and athletic administrators are currently signed up to attend the summit, which serves as an informational session on the next steps for the sport as an NCAA program.
The traditional Olympic-distance championship event is set to begin with the women on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. PT, followed by the men at 10:30 a.m. PT. More than 1,200 athletes are currently registered for the 1,500m swim, 36k bike and 10k run event, which has been an annual showcase for collegiate triathletes since the event was first held in 1992 at the Wildflower Triathlon.
Race day action will conclude with the Mixed Team Relay, slated to begin at 4:05 p.m. PT. Held for the third time at Collegiate Nationals, each four-person team must consist of two females and two males who will complete a super-sprint triathlon before tagging their teammate. All athletes will complete a 250m swim, 5k bike and 1.2k run.
The Olympic-distance Collegiate National Championships race will once again be streamed live online for free at usatriathlon.org/usatcn14coverage. Live coverage will begin at 10:15 a.m. ET (7:15 a.m. locally in Tempe), and multisport fans are encouraged to follow all the action on the live video stream, as well as USA Triathlon’s live blog through the Olympic-distance National Championship event. A live blog will also be available during Friday’s draft-legal event, beginning at 9 a.m. PT.
The top five overall teams from the 2013 event will return, including the University of Colorado, which is the four-time defending overall team champion. The Buffalos earned their fourth consecutive title by two points over the University of California, Berkeley last year in Tempe. Colorado claimed the men’s team title, while Cal earned honors in the women’s team division.
Eight athletes who finished in the combined men’s and women’s top 10 in 2013 are on the start list for the Olympic-distance event, including Erika Erickson from Cal, who finished second in both individual events one year ago. Also returning from the women’s top 10 are Lindsey Ryder (eighth) from Arizona State and Kelly Kingma (ninth) from West Point. Rodolphe Von Berg of Colorado is the top returning finisher for the men, having finished fourth last year. Other top-10 finishers from 2013 are Colorado State’s Steve Mantell (fifth), William Jones of UC San Diego (seventh), Chris Leiferman from Colorado State (ninth) and Cal’s Yoni Doron-Peters (10th).
In the draft-legal sprint, 11 combined men’s and women’s top-10 finishers from 2013 are on the start list, including podium finishers Erickson (second) and Doron-Peters (third). Other athletes returning from last year’s event include Jessica Clay (West Point, seventh), Kelly Kosmo (UCLA, eighth), Lauren Lewis (Texas A&M, fifth), Allison Nuovo (Ohio State, sixth), Summer Ohlendorf (Wisconsin, ninth), Ryan Petry (Arizona State, sixth), Andrew Roos (Stanford, fifth), and Christian Ryan (West Point, 10th).
The USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships have been a springboard to success for some of the nation’s top up-and-coming triathletes in recent years, including current elite athletes Ben Kanute, Kaitlin (Shiver) Donner, Caitlin Snow, Barrett Brandon, Kevin Collington, Ben Hoffman, Nicole Kelleher, Michelle Mehnert and Steven Sexton, all of whom captured individual collegiate titles.
Visit usatriathlon.org/usatcn14 for more information on Collegiate Nationals and a complete schedule of events.