USA Triathlon has announced Coe College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, as the first school in the state to offer women’s triathlon as a varsity sport. Coe is the 29th school nationwide across the US, and the 11th at the NCAA Division III level, to add women’s triathlon to its varsity offerings.
“As the first women’s varsity program in the state of Iowa — a hub for triathlon in the US — Coe College makes a strong addition to our NCAA triathlon family,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “I look forward to welcoming the new squad to the race course at the club level this fall, and in varsity competition in 2020.”
The addition of women’s triathlon to Coe College’s varsity sport offerings is made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the varsity level.
“We have been exploring sport expansion at Coe College,” said Sonny Travis, Coe Director of Athletics and Recreation. “Adding women’s triathlon became a reality with a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. I want to thank USA Triathlon for their support in bringing women’s triathlon to Coe College.”
Iowa regularly produces some of the United States’ top up-and-coming triathletes, thanks to the Z3 High Performance Triathlon Team based in Des Moines and popular youth races including the RipRoar Kids Triathlon Series and the Flatland Tri. The state has also played host to elite International Triathlon Union (ITU) events and other professional triathlon races over the last decade.
Coe joins 11 other varsity programs located in USA Triathlon’s North Central Region: Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D., DII), Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich., DIII), Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo., DII), Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis., DIII), Drury University (Springfield, Mo., DII), Millikin University (Decatur, Ill., DIII), Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis., DIII), Montana State University Billings (Billings, Mont., DII), North Central College (Naperville, Ill., DIII), Trine University (Angola, Ind., DIII) and the University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D., DI).
Kris Tiedt, Head Coach of the women’s tennis team at Coe, will also serve as Head Coach of the new women’s triathlon squad. Tiedt is an accomplished age-group triathlete, having competed in races from sprint- to IRONMAN distance over the past 20 years.
Tiedt has been the instructor for triathlon training, a class offering at Coe, since the class first launched in the spring of 2014. She is in the process of obtaining a USA Triathlon Level I coaching certification.
“I am thrilled to take on such a large role in the building of a foundation for women’s triathlon at Coe College,” Tiedt said. “I consider this a humbling opportunity for myself, and yet another opportunity on campus for the many future Kohawk members of this program. I am excited to navigate the waters, bike paths and running trails ahead.”
The NCAA named triathlon an Emerging Sport for Women in 2014. The designation gives USA Triathlon a 10-year window to demonstrate the sport’s sustainability at the NCAA level by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs.
Women’s triathlon is an autumn/fall sport, and the varsity season includes three Regional Qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Races are sprint-distance, featuring a 750m open water swim, draft-legal 20km bike and 5km run.
Women’s Varsity Collegiate Triathlon Programs (as at March 21, 2019):
NCAA Division I
Arizona State University (Tempe, Ariz.)
East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, Tenn.)
Hampton University (Hampton, Va.)
University of San Francisco (San Francisco. Calif.)
University of South Dakota (Vermillion, S.D.)
Wagner College (Staten Island, N.Y.)
NCAA Division II
American International College (Springfield, Mass.)
Belmont Abbey College (Belmont, N.C.)
Black Hills State University (Spearfish, S.D.)
Colorado Mesa University (Grand Junction, Colo.)
Daemen College (Amherst, N.Y.)
Davis & Elkins College (Elkins, W.V.)
Drury University (Springfield, Mo.)
King University (Bristol, Tenn.)
Montana State University Billings (Billings, Mont.)
Queens University of Charlotte (Charlotte, N.C.)
St. Thomas Aquinas College (Sparkill, N.Y.)
Southern Wesleyan University (Central, S.C.)
NCAA Division III
Calvin College (Grand Rapids, Mich.)
Coe College (Cedar Rapids, Iowa)
Concordia University Wisconsin (Mequon, Wis.)
Eastern Mennonite University (Harrisonburg, Va.)
Millikin University (Decatur, Ill.)
Milwaukee School of Engineering (Milwaukee, Wis.)
North Central College (Naperville, Ill.)
Northern Vermont University-Johnson (Johnson, Vt.)
Transylvania University (Lexington, Ky.)
Trine University (Angola, Ind.)
Willamette University (Salem, Ore.)