COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (March 12, 2009) -- With just over one month remaining before they toe the line in Lubbock, Texas, college triathlon teams across the country are making their final preparations and team selections for the 2009 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship.
This year's event is set for April 18 at Buffalo Springs Lake, near the campus of Texas Tech University, and includes a new scoring format designed to create more equitable competition among the 86 teams and more than 830 athletes who have already registered for the championship race.
Among the changes to the 1.5k swim, 40k bike, 10k run event is limiting each full co-ed team to 14 athletes (seven men, seven women) as compared with 20 athletes at past events. Awards will still go to the top men's team, the top women's team and the top co-ed team, but the scoring has expanded to include the top four male and female finishers from each team. In addition, an Armed Forces Award has been added to honor the top military school.
"We have some very large teams and some teams with just a handful of athletes," said USAT National Events Director Jeff Dyrek. "We've incorporated these changes to level the playing field a bit, give some of the smaller schools a chance to win, and add some excitement to race day."
Athletes who aren't among a team's top 14 still can participate in the weekend's competition, thanks to a new sprint race, which already has surpassed 150 registered participants. Another 68 athletes have signed up for the second ever Twenty-12 Talent ID Invitational, an event that will give competitors experience in draft-legal competition. The sprint distance, draft-legal, multiple-loop course consists of a 750m swim, 20k bike and 5k run. This race is open to athletes aged 16 to 34. More details on the race and athlete eligibility can be found at the USAT website.
Here is what a few members of the Texas Tech Triathlon Team are saying about the venue and race course:
-- "Buffalo Springs Lake provides breathtaking scenery in addition to a challenging triathlon course. Nestled in an almost secret canyon running through the West Texas flatlands, the Buffalo Springs course provides a good mix of tough climbs, flat areas, and fast downhills."
-- "Great bike course; killer downhills and climbs, even though it's the flatland of West Texas."
-- "Not many people think of Lubbock as a triathlon-friendly place, but those people have never experienced West Texas before. If you thought Lubbock was flat, think again. Buffalo Springs is a hidden gem to a lot of the triathlon world, with a mix of breathtaking climbs, lots of flat land and great downhills for crazy speeds. If you want a race that has it all, Buffalo Springs is the place to go."
Registration for Collegiate Nationals closes March 31. Eligibility information for all registered athletes and teams is due April 1.
Find out more about the weekend festivities.
Check out the video of the championship bike course.
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the national governing body for triathlon - the fastest growing sport in the U.S. - as well as duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. USAT sanctions 2,500 races and connects with more than 115,000 members each year, making it the largest multisport organization in the world. In addition to its work with athletes, coaches, and race directors on the grassroots level, USAT provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including World Championships, Pan American Games, and the Olympic Games.