Sun Devil Triathlon Back in Action
SARASOTA, Fla. – For the first time in over a year, Sun Devil Triathlon was back in their element, racing at the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon.
The hard work put in the offseason by Head Coach Cliff English's squad was on full display, as six Sun Devils traveled to South Florida for the weekend to test their skills at the USA Triathlon-sponsored event. Racers of all skill levels congregated to participate in several elite international and amateur/collegiate events over the course of four days.
"I am very pleased and proud of the teams' efforts this weekend," Coach English remarked. "It's been a lot of work and a big process just to get here with what everyone around the world has been dealing with during the pandemic."
Competing amongst international stars and Olympic hopefuls in the Elite Women race on Saturday, Kyla Roy, Liberty Ricca, Kira Stanley, Rebecca Naughton, and Audrey Ernst proved they belong.
Two Sun Devils finished in the Top-20, beating out some high-level competition. Senior Kyla Roy (58:15.8) led the way with a gutsy 14th-place finish, with her 27:54 split on the bike matching the best time of anyone in the field. Sophomore Liberty Ricca (58:38.1) put together a very strong race to end in 17th, including the fourth-best swim split (9:32) of anyone in the field.
"The team had a good showing in a strong International field on day one in the elite open race." Coach English reflected.
Kira Stanley got off to a fast start on the swim leg, while Audrey Ernst and Rebecca Naughton finished strongly over the final two legs. All five Sun Devils gained valuable experience and were able to compare themselves against some of the top triathletes on the planet.
The following day, Olivia Jenks completed in the open Amateur/Collegiate Wave and enjoyed an impressive Top-5 finish. She finished 20th overall in the Age Group Draft Legal race, defeating 29 male competitors. Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon valued the health and safety of the athletes and executed a fantastic event.
"We are incredibly grateful to have the opportunity to compete again and while the competitive fire has not dwindled it's certainly been lit even greater coming out of this weekend," Coach English added.
In the Junior Women race, class of 2021 signee Camille Buchannan finished in seventh, while her future Sun Devil teammate Evan Welch was right behind her in eighth.
HOW TO FOLLOW
For the latest updates and information on the Sun Devil Triathlon program, follow our Twitter/Instagram accounts (@SunDevilTri), like our Facebook page (facebook.com/sundeviltri), and visit our website (thesundevils.com).
CATCHIN' UP WITH COACH
Rapid fire questions answered by Sun Devil Triathlon Head Coach Cliff English:
Was the team excited to race? Yes.
Was the team a little nervous? Yes.
Were we a little rusty? Yes.
Did the team make a few mistakes? Yes.
Did the Team have a lot of fun competing again? Yes.
Will we get back to some hard work and look to make big gains? Yes!