Triathlon Schedule Set As Squads Hosts National Championships in November
The four-time national champion Sun Devil Triathlon team had to sit out last year, but it is ready to go in 2021 as its schedule is set and it will again -- for the fourth straight year -- host the USA Triathlon National Collegiate Championships on Nov. 13. The National Championships have been hosted by Arizona State University in Tempe every year since 2017, with the exception of the 2020 season that was canceled due to COVID-19.
USA Triathlon also has announced the dates and locations for the three events that will serve as National Qualifiers for the 2021 Women's Collegiate Triathlon season.
"Speaking for myself and the entire ASU Women's Triathlon Team we are just so READY to compete!" says Sun Devil head coach Cliff English, who was named Sun Devil head coach on Nov. 13, 2015. "It's been a long wait to return to competition during the pandemic and having our season canceled last fall I know this team like most of the collegiate teams can't wait to kick off this 2021 collegiate season."
"We have a very strong line up this year with thirteen athletes and two seniors returning for a fifth year of eligibility. We have 2017 and 2018 collegiate national champion Hannah Henry and 2019 collegiate national champion Kyla Roy and four incoming freshmen. We are looking to kick off where we left off in 2019."
"The 2021 season has been long-awaited for our entire women's collegiate triathlon family. When collegiate racing was put on pause in 2020, adaptability became the name of the game — and many teams took those challenges as an opportunity to become stronger and more cohesive," said Tim Yount, Chief Sport Development Officer at USA Triathlon. "Several new NCAA programs will make their debut this season, and we can't wait to welcome them as we approach the finish line for full NCAA Championship inclusion."
The 2021 season begins Sept. 4 with the first national qualifier in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin, hosted by race management company Experience Triathlon. The second qualifier is set for Oct. 16 in Smith Mountain Lake, Virginia, as part of the Kinetic Cup Triathlon Festival, hosted by Kinetic Multisports, and the third and final qualifier will take place Oct. 30 in Lake George, Utah, hosted by TMB Ventures.
"ASU is honored to return to its hosting duties for the 2021 Women's Collegiate National Championship. To once again have the opportunity to host hundreds of competitors, staff and volunteers here in Tempe and to continue to advocate for the emerging sport is a privilege," said Ray Anderson, Vice President for University Athletics at ASU. "We plan to build on the success and lessons learned from our previous hosting duties to deliver a first-class experience for our all participants on and off the course."
"This is an exciting time in women's collegiate triathlon. We are approaching the precipice of becoming an NCAA Championship sport, and our athletes are more eager than ever to race after persevering through the challenges of 2020," said Jenny Garrison, President of the College Triathlon Coaches Association. "We look forward to experiencing a new host city in Lake George, Utah, while returning to the beautiful venues of Pleasant Prairie and Smith Mountain Lake."
Deemed an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, triathlon has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA Championship sport by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs by 2024. To date, 37 schools offer triathlon at the varsity level for women, including nine at the NCAA Division I level, 15 in Division II and 13 in Division III. Alvernia University in Reading, Pennsylvania (DII), was the latest school to earn its varsity status in June.
Each race on the 2021 schedule will follow the competition structure implemented in 2014 for the inaugural season, with a maximum field of 75 women racing on a draft-legal, sprint-distance course (750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run).
The top eight NCAA varsity teams in DI, DII and DIII, based on team rankings at the end of the regular season, will earn an automatic National Championships qualification for a maximum of seven athletes. The top 20-ranked individual varsity athletes per division, who are not already qualified as part of a team, will also earn a spot at Nationals. More information on invitation criteria is available at usatriathlon.org/ncaa.
At the most recent National Championships in Tempe, Arizona, in 2019, North Central College secured a four-peat victory in the Division III competition. Queens University of Charlotte earned the DII title for the fifth consecutive year and second year as a varsity program, while host ASU took its fourth consecutive title in the DI competition.
2021 Women's Collegiate Triathlon Season Schedule
Pleasant Prairie National Qualifier
Location: Pleasant Prairie, Wis.
Host: Experience Triathlon
Race Director: Kurt Woodward
Smith Mountain Lake National Qualifier
Location: Smith Mountain Lake, Va.
Host: Kinetic Multisports
Race Director: Greg Hawkins
Lake George National Qualifier
Location: Lake George, Utah
Host: TMB Ventures
Race Director: Nat Harward
Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championships (qualification required)
Location: Tempe, Ariz.
Host: Arizona State University
Race Director: Craig Hanken