USA Triathlon has announced that Johnson State College in Johnson, Vermont, will add women’s triathlon as an NCAA varsity sport beginning in the 2018-19 season. Johnson becomes the 22nd school nationwide, the eighth at the NCAA Division III level and the first in the New England area to offer the sport at the varsity level.
The addition of women’s triathlon as Johnson’s 15th varsity sport was made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation, which will help fund the operating expenses of the program for its first three years. This grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement, grow and sustain varsity women’s triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level.
“USA Triathlon is proud to welcome Johnson State College as the newest member of the NCAA triathlon family,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “As the first college in New England to offer the sport, Johnson’s commitment to taking on new challenges and increasing opportunities for female student-athletes is admirable. We look forward to seeing the Badgers out on the race course this fall.”
The school will undergo a name change to become Northern Vermont University – Johnson in July 2018.
“The transition to become Northern Vermont University – Johnson will provide more opportunities to our students,” said Jamey Ventura, Johnson’s Director of Athletics and Recreation. “Adding triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in fall 2018 is a perfect example of a new opportunity for our students to explore. The Green Mountains lend a perfect setting to the sport of triathlon, and our campus facilities, including our SHAPE pool and network of trails, will provide a top-notch atmosphere for training.”
A national search for a head coach will begin soon.
The NCAA named triathlon an Emerging Sport for Women in 2014. This designation gives triathlon a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA sport option. USA Triathlon recruited its 20th and 21st schools — the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, SD) and Wagner College (Staten Island, NY) — in November, officially passing the halfway point in its goal to reach 40 schools by 2020.
The collegiate triathlon season, held in the autumn/fall, includes three regional qualifiers and the National Championship hosted by USA Triathlon; and all races cover a sprint-distance course featuring a 750m open water swim, draft-legal 20K bike and 5K run.