USA Triathlon today confirmed the four events that will be contested as part of the 2018 women’s varsity collegiate triathlon season, including three regional qualifiers in the autumn/fall and a return to Tempe, Arizona, for the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship on November 4th. The National Championship, the fourth such event since triathlon became an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, will be held on and around the campus of two-time defending national champions Arizona State University.
The National Championship and three regional qualifiers will follow the competition structure and rules implemented in 2014 for the inaugural season, with a maximum field of 75 women racing on a draft-legal sprint-distance course (750m swim, 20K bike, 5K run).
The season begins on September 16th with the Central Regional Qualifier in Watauga, Tennessee, hosted by NCAA women’s triathlon institution East Tennessee State University. The West Regional Qualifier will be held on September 23rd in Longmont, Colorado, in conjunction with the Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon hosted by Without Limits Productions. The East Regional Qualifier is set for October 20th in Huddleston, Virginia, as part of the Liberty Triathlon Festival hosted by Kinetic Multisports.
“The 2018 women’s collegiate triathlon season will see record numbers of varsity competitors, with the depth of talent in all three divisions growing at a rapid pace,” said Jon Metz, President of the College Triathlon Coaches Association. “Ten colleges and universities have added women’s triathlon to their varsity sport portfolios in the last year, providing historic opportunities for female student triathletes across the country.”
“USA Triathlon is thrilled with the expansion of the women’s varsity collegiate triathlon movement over the last 12 months,” said Jessica Welk, USA Triathlon’s High School, Collegiate Club and Women’s NCAA Coordinator. “At the same time, we are continuing conversations with a long list of schools to add the sport in the coming years, paving the way to inclusion as a full-fledged NCAA Championship sport.”
At each regional qualifier, the top three five-woman NCAA varsity teams overall and the top NCAA varsity team in each division (if not already in the top three varsity teams overall) will automatically qualify for the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship on November 4th. In addition, a minimum of the top five individual women in each event who are not already on a qualifying NCAA varsity team will earn pending qualification. Teams and individual athletes may only qualify once. If an athlete or team finishes in a qualifying position at a second or third event, that spot will roll down to the next eligible athlete or team.
The National Championship field will be limited to 75 women representing NCAA varsity programs; and, dependent on the number of registered athletes, USA Triathlon-registered collegiate club teams.
At the 2017 National Championship in Tempe, Arizona, host Arizona State University (Division I) successfully defended its 2016 overall team title and swept the top three spots individually. Hannah Henry came away with the individual victory, followed by Sun Devil teammates Charlotte Ahrens in second and Kyla Roy in third. Queens University of Charlotte’s club team claimed the Division II title, and North Central College took top honours for Division III programs.
2018 Event Schedule
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Central Regional Qualifier
Date: September 16
Location: Watauga, Tenn.
Host: East Tennessee State University
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon West Regional Qualifier
Date: Sept. 23
Location: Longmont, Colo.
Host: Oktoberfest Sprint Triathlon — Without Limits Productions
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon East Regional Qualifier
Date: October 20
Location: Huddleston, Va.
Host: Liberty Triathlon Festival — Kinetic Multisports
Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship (qualification required)
Date: November 4
Location: Tempe, Ariz.
Host: Arizona State University
Deemed an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, triathlon has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability as an NCAA Championship sport option. To date, 23 schools sponsor triathlon at the varsity level for women, including five at the NCAA Division I level, nine in Division II and eight in Division III.