Triathlon Set to Compete in First Race Since 2019
PLEASANT PRAIRIE, Wisc. -- After hanging up their gear last season due to COVID-19, Sun Devil Triathlon is back on their feet this weekend for the Pleasant Prairie National Qualifier on Saturday, Sept. 4.
Seven triathletes return to their maroon and gold uniforms in Wisconsin including two-time individual National Champions, Hannah Henry and Kyla Roy.
"With the team we have a lot of excitement, probably a little bit of fear because some people haven't done races and some people haven't raced in 18 months," head coach Cliff English said. "As coaches we've tried to do a very good job preparing them for racing with race stimulations and specific training. It's like Christmas Day, everyone's excited, but they don't know what they're going to get."
Also racing in the Midwest are Katy Clausen, Olivia Jenks, Kira Stanley, Amber Schlebusch and Liberty Ricca.
Roy, Stanley and Ricca traveled to South Florida in the spring to test their skills amongst international stars and Olympics hopefuls at the Sarasota-Bradenton Triathlon event to prepare them for the 2021 season.
In the USA Triathlon-sponsored event, two Sun Devils finished in the Top-20, beating out some high-level competition. 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. Rica (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.
This weekend's racers weren't random, but carefully selected for ultimate team and individual success as the program attempts to reach their fifth National title.
"For selection we wanted all the returners who have been voluntarily training all summer long. It made a lot of sense since we had a new freshman class of four student-athletes coming in and it would be a lot of pressure to put on them while they're getting used to their new environment," English stated. "It's a logical decision and it allows the freshmen to prepare for the next race."
The Sun Devils will be back in action on Sat., Oct. 16 in Huddleston, Virginia for the Kinetic Cup Triathlon Festival.
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).
Previous Pleasant Prairie National Qualifier Results:
Kyla Roy -- Placed 1st Overall in 2019/20
Olivia Jenks -- Placed 6th Overall in 2019/20
Kira Stanley -- Placed 3rd Overall in 2019/20