JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Nov. 4, 2017) – ETSU’s women’s triathlon team is heading to Tempe, Ariz. for the USA Triathlon Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championship, scheduled at 12:30 pm Eastern time.
This is just the second year of triathlon at ETSU. The Bucs were national runners-up among NCAA Division I varsity teams in 2016, which presents both benefits and challenges.
“In some ways it’s easier and some ways it’s harder, said ETSU head coach Janine Pleasant. “Being there before means going back is a lot less intimidating. We know what to expect and we know what the format of the race is going to be. On the other hand, we did well last year so we have the expectations to continue to do well. And the level of competition in NCAA women’s triathlon has increased from last year to this year, and we have to respond.”
Indeed, more than 80 triathletes from 21 college teams (varsity and club) are expected to compete in Tempe. Last year’s field consisted of 48 athletes from 10 teams.
ETSU qualified for the 2017 championship meet by finishing second in the season-opening Central Regional Qualifier in Naperville, Ill. on September 4.
Arizona State University is hosting the National Championships at Tempe Town Lake. The triathlon will consist of a 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike race (on a three-lap loop through downtown Tempe) and 5-kilometer run.
ETSU hasn’t competed since the Eastern Regional, leaving a month of training before Nationals.
“We had one week of recovery, then two weeks of building our endurance and doing drills to build very specific skills,” Pleasant said. “We’ve had one week of ‘taper’ leading into the race – a maintenance week. I’ve been at the site where the Nationals will be held, which allowed us to incorporate more drills specific to that race.”
Freshman Morgan James (Clovis, Calif.) has posted the best performances in the Bucs’ two regional meets this season, finishing 10th at the Central and 11th at the Eastern. Senior Sarah Zimmer (Knoxville, Tenn.) was a slim one second back of James at the Eastern Regional.
Freshman Annika Cotner (Muskegon, Mich.) was 16th at the Central and 15th at the Eastern. Fellow freshman Hope Zimmerman (Crown Point, Ind.) finished 25th and 26th, respectively.
ETSU has worked through a changing schedule this season, specifically the cancellation of Anchor Splash Triathlon in Oak Ridge, Tenn. on September 17. The Bucs found a replacement -- the Frantic Frog Age Group Triathlon in Scottsboro, Ala. on September 16 -- but the move left some triathletes unavailable to compete. The Bucs’ six-person squad, which also includes freshman Carly Brewington (Coral Springs, Fla.) and senior Marie Tipton (Mount Carmel, Ind.), saw its entire team take part in the same event for the first time at the Eastern Regional.
For more information on ETSU’s women’s Triathlon throughout the 2017 season, visit ETSUBucs.com and click on the Triathlon link.