Triathlon Celebrates 2019 National Championship at Ring Ceremony
TEMPE, Ariz. – The Sun Devil Triathlon program celebrated the 2019 National Championship team with a physically-distanced ring ceremony last Thursday at Mona Plummer Aquatic Center.
Due to the unprecedented circumstances, Sun Devil Triathlon did not hold their typical end-of-season banquet. However, this did not stop the coaching staff from making time to honor the 2019 team. Prior to a swim practice on Thursday, the team was surprised with their National Championship rings.
— Sun Devil Triathlon (@sundeviltri) September 28, 2020
Head Coach Cliff English addressed the team and raved about the group's spirit and competitiveness, which was on full display during their impressive title run.
"You guys are incredible," Coach English expressed. "You have been doing it extremely well at every level; on the practice field, when competing, and in the classroom. We are very proud of you."
He also recognized the community that has supported the team and contributed to their success.
"Sun Devil Triathlon appreciates the support from the donors and the fans," Coach English mentioned in his speech. "We wouldn't be doing what we are doing at this level without you as a part of this journey."
Two special guests added to the surprise festivities, as recent graduates Sarah Quintero and Charlotte Ahrens attended the ceremony. Quintero and Ahrens were foundational pieces of the program, leading by example in competition and in the classroom.
"It was awesome to have Charlotte and Sarah back in town to experience this with us," Coach English pointed out in his speech. "We are fortunate to have them as part of the Sun Devil Triathlon family."
After graduating from Arizona State, Quintero got a job with Dell, working full-time with them since June. Ahrens recently accepted a position with Mercedes-Benz in the Netherlands. She is also a Top-30 nominee for NCAA Woman of the Year, with the Top-9 finalists to be announced in mid-October.
ARIZONA STATE WINS THEIR FOURTH-STRAIGHT NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP
The Sun Devils dominated on their way to the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship, taking first at all three regional qualifying events. Despite not being tested during the regular season, Coach English's squad still managed to raise their level for the final event of the campaign.
In front of the home fans at Tempe Town Lake, Arizona State won the team national title, with Sun Devils finishing 1-2 in the individual race. With a time of 1:05:22, junior Kyla Roy took home the individual crown, edging out her teammate. Audrey Ernst finished a close second, just 30 seconds behind Roy (1:05:52) to secure Silver for the Maroon & Gold.
Roy was the third woman out of the water among Division I triathletes, moving into second place after the bike portion. The Winnipeg native used the run portion to her advantage, earning a victory to cap off an incredible junior season. Roy competed in three events and finished in first place at each. Ernst followed closely behind Roy, with the duo motivating each other until the end.
Rebecca Naughton (1:08:02) and Liberty Ricca (1:08:17) finished not far behind in fifth and sixth place, respectively, with Ricca's performance resulting in her receiving the USA Triathlon Division I Freshman of the Year honor. The recognition marks the third-straight season in three seasons of coaches voting on the award in which a Sun Devil was named Freshman of the Year.
Catherine Giuseffi (13th) and Kira Stanley (16th) rounded out the finishing Sun Devils today, with their places securing the team win for ASU.
One common theme among the contributors to the 2019 National Championship run is youth. Each participant returns to the program, giving Sun Devil Triathlon fans and Coach English plenty to be excited about.
"Really looking forward to the future," Coach English remarked. "Obviously this is a lot of fun, but we are looking forward to competing down the road."
HOW TO FOLLOW
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— Sun Devil Triathlon (@sundeviltri) November 16, 2019
We are glad to be a part of the #Pac12VotingChallenge! ??
— Sun Devil Triathlon (@sundeviltri) September 23, 2020