USA Triathlon (USAT) has announced that Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, Colorado, is the first university in the state to add varsity women’s collegiate triathlon.
The NCAA Division III women’s triathlon team will begin competing this autumn/fall at races throughout the region, including at the USA Triathlon West Regional Qualifier on 30 September in Berkeley, California. At the regional qualifier, athletes will have the chance to qualify as a team and individually for the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships organized by USAT on 5 November in Tempe, Arizona.
“USA Triathlon is pleased to see the CMU Mavericks join our family of women’s collegiate triathlon schools,” said USA Triathlon Chief Operating Officer Tim Yount. “It’s exciting to see the sport offered at the varsity level in Colorado for the first time, and we know CMU will build an excellent program.”
CMU expects an initial roster of six to eight student-athletes, with a goal of growing the team to 15 or more. USA Triathlon has awarded the university with funding to assist in developing the new women’s program.
“As a progressive institution, we are always interested in providing students the ability to experience life-long healthy habits while working toward an academic degree,” said CMU Director of Athletics Tom Spicer. “Due to our location and the increase in multisport athletes in secondary education, we felt it was the next best fit for programming in the athletic department at Colorado Mesa.”
CMU’s triathlon program will be the 14th NCAA Emerging Sport women’s program in the US and the first in Colorado. Fellow Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference member Black Hills State University in Spearfish, South Dakota, also sponsors triathlon at the NCAA level.
Current CMU head swimming and diving coach Geoff Hanson will serve as the women’s triathlon head coach.
Triathlon received overwhelming approval through a voting process in January 2014 at the NCAA Convention in San Diego by Division I, II and III colleges and universities to be included as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women, and has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA sport option.
For questions regarding varsity collegiate women’s triathlon events and programming, contact Jessica Welk at Jessica.welk[at]usatriathlon.org.