SARASOTA, Fla. (Oct. 7, 2017) –ETSU’s triathlon team is used to dealing with change.
Last month, the Bucs found out an event they were scheduled for was canceled. So instead of going to Oak Ridge, Tenn. for the Anchor Splash Triathlon, they traveled to Scottsboro, Ala. for the Frantic Frog Age Group Triathlon, and despite having a short-handed roster, did pretty well.
Saturday, ETSU was in Sarasota, Fla. for the Eastern Regional Qualifier. The Bucs went in knowing that they’d already qualified for the National Championship meet next month, thanks to their showing at the Central Regional on September 4, but found themselves having to adapt again.
Instead of the traditional swim/bike/run triathlon, the Bucs found themselves in a “duathlon” – a two-sport event – in three segments. Algae levels in the lake used for swimming became unsuitable on Thursday, leading organizers to replace the 750-meter swim with another running race, of 2.5 kilometers.
In the end, ETSU wound up placing 2nd among NCAA varsity teams, with three athletes in the top 15 in a field of 43 athletes, on Saturday at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota, Fla.
Morgan James (Clovis, Cal.) and Sarah Zimmer (Knoxville, Tenn.) respectively finished 11th and 12th with an overall time of 1:12:52, and were ultimately separated by the narrowest of margins. Both posted a time of 9:51 in the first run and 26:20 in the final run, and Zimmer’s time in the 18.3-kilometer bike race (35:17) was a second quicker than James’.
The ultimate difference between the two Bucs was in the transition stages. James one second faster in the transition from the first run to the bike segment, and again in the change from the bike to the second run.
Annika Cotner (Muskegon, Mich.) was 15th overall at 1:13:27. She went 10:07 in the first run, 35:06 on the bike and 26:52 in the second run.
“Morgan and Sarah had Annika on their heels,” said ETSU head coach Janine Pleasant. “They were in the third pack in the bike race and were able to catch up to the second pack. They continued to gain ground in the second run.”
Hope Zimmerman (Crown Point, Ind.) crossed the line in 26th, at 1:23:20. Her times were 11:40 (first run), 39:49 (bike), and 30:43 (second run).
“Hope made a valiant effort,” Pleasant said. “She battled all day after missing three weeks of training due to injury.”
ETSU had its entire team competing for the first time this season. and Marie Tipton (Mount Carmel, Ind.) and Carly Brewington (Coral Springs, Fla.) took part in the first run and put up times of 12:49 and 13:37, respectively.
“Marie and Carly were lapped out late in the bike segment and so were unable to complete the race,” Pleasant said. “It was Marie’s first-ever draft-legal (bike) race and she learned a lot that’ll pay off at Nationals. Carly had a great cheering section of friends and family who came across Florida to see her.”
Defending national champion Arizona State won the team title. ASU will host the National Championships on Sunday, November 5 in Tempe, Ariz.
For more information on ETSU’s women’s Triathlon throughout the 2017 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the Triathlon link.