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Triathlon Announces 2022 Schedule Ahead of Tempe National Championships

Aug 30, 2022

Tempe, Ariz. – Five-time national champions Sun Devil Triathlon will begin their road to the USA Triathlon National Championship in Tempe with back-to-back events in Colorado to open their 2022 season.

Head Coach Cliff English announced that the program will participate in two races at the end of September before the NCAA Qualifier race in mid-October, followed by the National Championships on Nov. 12.

"We are very excited to get the 2022 season underway as we have a very young, yet experienced team with four freshmen joining us this fall and four sophomores to give us underclassmen representing two thirds of the team," Coach English said. "It's certainly a rebuilding year and one that will be important to ensure our Sun Devil strength and depth in future years. We are very happy to have strong veterans on the team with Audrey Ernst, Liberty Ricca and Amber Schlebusch to mentor and lead the team."
 
"As always, we are focused on the process of being consistent day in and day out with our preparation in training for the Championship as the team is strong and the team culture is strong. Onward to Victory!"

Arizona State will travel to Longmont for the Collegiate Invitational, a part of the Oktoberfest Triathlon event on Sept. 24. The following day the program will make a short drive to Denver for the Denver Collegiate Relay meet.

The Sun Devils were previously scheduled to take part in the two-day Americas Triathlon Cup St. George event on Sept. 24-25 at Quail Creek State Park in Hurricane, Utah, but those races have since been canceled.

For the second-consecutive year under the new postseason format, triathletes will have to qualify for the NCAA National Championships at a NCAA National Qualifier race. This year, the Sun Devils will try to punch their tickets to the postseason at the NCAA National Qualifier, held in Stockton, Mo. on Saturday, Oct. 15 at 8 a.m. local time.

If the Sun Devils qualify, they have the opportunity to race at Tempe Town Lake. Like last season, there will be an open race for non-qualifiers along with the national championships.

The Sun Devils graduated their top finisher from the 2021 National Championship, Hannah Henry, who crossed the line in second. Race veterans Amber Schlebusch (1.06.05.1), Alexe Coursol (1:06:23.4), Audrey Ernst (1:08:14.5) and Liberty Ricca (1:15:42.2) have the chance to improve on their 2021 DI race time.

In 2021, Coursol was named the DI Freshman of the Year Award, voted on by the head coaches. 

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.

Current Status of Collegiate Women's Triathlon
On February 16, 2022, USA Triathlon announced that 40 schools have officially signed on with women's varsity triathlon teams thanks to California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt. Women's triathlon was first approved in 2014 as an NCAA emerging sport for women, a program that creates an easier pathway to NCAA status in an effort to grow women's sports, USAT has been steadily funding and working towards the deadline of 40 schools by 2024. 

As of August 22, USA Triathlon, along with University of Arizona Athletics Director Dave Heeke, announced the University of Arizona in Tucson, Arizona, will become the 12th NCAA Division I program to offer women's triathlon at the varsity level. A member of the Pac-12 Conference, it will begin competing in fall 2023.

NCAA only counts programs that are up and running (and two of the schools won't have their programs off-the-ground until next year), so USAT is in the process of getting two more schools through the last steps in their recruitment pipeline too to get the vote moving faster. Once there are officially 40 schools with girls training, racing, and competing, triathlon still has to get approved by the committee on women's athletics, considered by a legislative council, voted on by each of the collegiate divisions, and then have a budget drafted and approved by a different championship committee.

Each race on the 2022 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.

Current 40 Collegiate Varsity Triathlon Programs
NCAA DI 
Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)
Delaware State University (Dover, Del.)
East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.)
Hampton University (Hampton, Va.)
Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, Texas)
University of Denver (Denver, Colo.)
University of San Francisco (San Francisco. Calif.)
University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.)
Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.)

NCAA DII
American International College (Springfield, Mass.)
Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.)
Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.)
California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt (Arcata, Calif.)
Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.)
Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y.)
Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, W.V.)
Drury University (Springfield, Mo.)
Emmanuel College (Franklin Springs, Ga.)
King University (Bristol, Tenn.)
Lake Superior State University (Sault Ste. Marie, Mich.)
Lenoir-Rhyne University (Hickory, N.C.)
Montana State University Billings (Billings, Mont.)
Newberry College (Newberry, S.C.)
Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.)
Wingate University (Wingate, N.C.)

NCAA DIII
Alvernia University (Reading, Pa.)
Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Central College (Pella, Iowa)
Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.)
Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.)
Greensboro College (Greensboro, N.C.)
Guilford College (Greensboro, N.C.)
Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.)
North Central College (Naperville, Ill.)
Northern Vermont University-Johnson (Johnson, Vt.)
Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.)
Trine University (Angola, Ind.)
Willamette University (Salem, Ore.)