Feature image: Hannah Koski led Cal Berkeley to the women’s team title in 2018. Photo by Jonathan Norris.
Races set for April 5-6 at Tempe Town Lake
The USA Triathlon Collegiate Club and High School National Championships are set to return to Tempe, Arizona. For the first time since 2014, the race runs April 5-6. The event typically draws approximately 1,400 collegiate club and high school athletes.
A city rich with triathlon history, Tempe hosted Collegiate Club Nationals in 2013 and 2014. It also welcomed the USA Paratriathlon National Championships in 2014, and the varsity Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships in 2017 and 2018.
The city has also hosted multiple ITU Pan American Cup events, the Major League Triathlon series, non-drafting triathlons such as IRONMAN Arizona and many other local races.
Race to Tempe
The two-day collegiate event kicks off at 8:15 a.m. MST on Friday, April 5, with the seventh annual USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships.
Up to 75 men and 75 women who qualified for spots through their respective collegiate club teams and USA Triathlon’s 10 collegiate conferences will be on the start list.
Athletes will cover a 750-meter swim, 21-kilometer bike and 5.1-kilometer run. The fast-paced draft-legal format is similar to what is contested at the Olympic Games and elite International Triathlon Union races.
High Schoolers Toe the Line
On Friday afternoon starting at 12 p.m., up-and-coming young athletes will toe the line in the fourth running of the USA Triathlon High School National Championships.
The event will be in a non-drafting format, covering the same distance as the collegiate draft-legal race. The USA Triathlon High School Program, which features state championships in addition to Nationals, is designed to expand opportunities in the sport for athletes ages 13-19 and grow triathlon clubs at the high school level. The high school awards ceremony will take place at the finish line following the races at 3:15 p.m.
Gillian Cridge (Indianapolis, Ind.) was the girls’ high school in champion in 2018, while Drew Shellenberger (Indianapolis, Ind.) earned his second consecutive title in the boys’ race. In the club standings, Sammy’s Fox Valley Region Club swept the boys’, girls’ and overall victories for the second year in a row.
Follow the Action
The action continues Sunday, April 6, with the entire field of collegiate triathletes competing in the Olympic-distance Collegiate Club National Championships.
The course covers a 1,500m swim, 41k bike and 10k run. The first wave of men will start at 7:30 a.m., and the first women’s wave is set for 10:20 a.m. The race will also feature a paratriathlon open wave going off at 9:30 a.m. that follows a sprint-distance course.
Qualified athletes may compete in both the draft-legal and Olympic-distance collegiate events.
The eighth annual Mixed Team Relay event will be contested on April 5, with up to 55 relay teams set to compete. The relay will start at 4:15 p.m. Teams are comprised of four athletes (two women and two men), each covering a 250m swim, 5k bike and 1k run before tagging off to the next teammate.
Triathlon mixed relays are growing in popularity worldwide. As the International Olympic Committee announced last year, that the discipline will be added to the program of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Concluding the weekend is the collegiate awards ceremony, set for 8 p.m. on Saturday at the Tempe Marketplace District Stage. The awards ceremony honors the top individual finishers in each race including the men’s, women’s and overall team standings.
Results from the draft-legal sprint race and the Olympic-distance race will factor into the men’s, women’s and overall team scores. The Mixed Team Relay counts toward the overall team score, though it will not affect the men’s or women’s team scores.
The U.S. Naval Academy took the overall title in 2018, breaking the University of Colorado’s historic eight-year winning streak. Navy also earned the men’s team victory, while the University of California at Berkeley earned the women’s title.
Individual champions included Cal Berkeley’s Hannah Koski and Navy’s Daniel Lloyd in the draft-legal race. Navy’s Stephanie Murphy and UC Santa Barbara’s Sean Harrington in the Olympic-distance race. Ryan Porteus of UC Santa Barbara won the paratriathlon open division. Queens University of Charlotte raced to the Mixed Team Relay title.