COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -- Nearly 60 women are set to compete this Saturday in the Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championship in New Orleans, Louisiana, while top age-groupers will compete in draft-legal world championship qualifiers on Saturday and Sunday.
Nearly 60 athletes will compete for individual and team titles at the Women's Collegiate Triathlon Nationals in New Orleans. (Karen Hunt/Florida Swim Network)
The Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championship race features a draft-legal 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run, beginning at 1 p.m. CT. The draft-legal competition structure and rules have been proposed for use at the collegiate level when triathlon is granted official NCAA sport status.
Athletes earned their spots to compete in New Orleans based on individual and team finishes at three regional qualifiers. The top two finishers at the Central, East and West Regional Qualifiers punched their tickets to the National Championship, along with the top teams based on scoring at each event. Invitations were also extended to top performers.
Twelve schools are fielding teams of three or more athletes, including eight schools with established varsity training programs: Arizona State University, Black Hills State University, Centenary College of Louisiana, Concordia University Wisconsin, Daemen College, East Tennessee State University, North Central College and University of West Alabama.
Four athletes who finished in the top 10 at last year's Women's Collegiate Triathlon Nationals are returning to the start line on Saturday, including Jocelyn Bonney (Queens), Katie Gorczyca (ASU), Melissa Teeple (Ferrum) and Jessica Tomasek (Queens).
All regional qualifier winners will be represented, including Charlotte Ahrens (ASU), Tereza Zimovjanova (Queens) and Gorczyca.
Other athletes to watch include Erika Ackerlund (Montana), who placed second at the 2016 USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships and third in the non-drafting championship in April, and regional qualifier podium finishers Amy Darlington (ASU), Darby Middlebrook (Michigan) and Ashley Cheff (Daemen).
Read more about these athletes and this weekend's event at USATriathlon.org.
Triathlon received overwhelming approval through a voting process in January 2014 at the NCAA Convention in San Diego by Division I, II and III colleges and universities to be included as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women with a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA sport option. For more information on triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, visit USATriathlon.org.
Following the Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championship event, age-groupers will compete on Saturday and Sunday in hopes of earning a spot on Team USA, USA Triathlon's amateur world championships team for various ITU World Championships.
The Triathlon Draft-Legal Qualifier on Nov. 5 begins at 8 a.m. Top athletes will earn a spot for the 2017 ITU Sprint Triathlon World Championships in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. The Duathlon Draft-Legal Qualifier will take place on Nov. 6, beginning at 7:30 a.m. Top run-bike-run athletes may earn a spot for the 2016 ITU Sprint Duathlon Worlds, set to take place in Penticton, Canada.
The draft-legal world qualification races emphasize the option for a community field to compete alongside future NCAA events. Read more on the Triathlon and Duathlon Draft-Legal Qualifiers at USATriathlon.org.
||About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 races and connects with nearly 500,000 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, USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic Committee (USOC).