MEET ANNIKA COTNER....
How did you get started doing triathlons?
When I was in 7th grade. I’ve been a swimmer and a runner my whole life. My dad got me into the biking and we did our first race together.
What made you decide to come to ETSU?
Because of the great opportunities I was being provided. Being on the triathlon team was my main draw towards ETSU. A few factors that helped me make this decision were the size of the school, the wide variety of programs they offer, and the dedication Coach Pleasant has to this sport and her team.
What do you like most, and least, about triathlon?
I dislike the early mornings … every morning … but getting stronger each day makes all the early mornings worth it. My favorite part about triathlons is all the training I get to do with my dad.
Did you participate in triathlon in high school? Did you participate in other sports in high school? If you have, which ones? Did you earn honors like all-conference, all-region, all-state, qualify for Nationals, Worlds, etc.?
My high school doesn’t have a triathlon team, so I competed in triathlon as an individual and was part of my school’s cross country, track and swim teams. I lettered in each of those sports four times and was the first person in my high school’s history to graduate with 12 varsity letters. I was captain of the swim team as a junior and a senior and captain of the cross country and track teams as a senior. My cross country team was all-conference my junior and senior year, I qualified individually for all-conference my senior year, and ran at regionals all four years.
In swimming, I qualified for MISCA all four years, state my junior year, and was all-conference my senior year. In track I ran at regionals and conference all four years. I was awarded the Sailor Classic Athletic Scholarship for being the recognizable female athlete of the class of 2017. I also was given the opportunity to race at USAT Nationals my junior and senior year.
Do you have an athletic role model? If you do, whom?
Definitely my parents. Both of them have always been phenomenal athletes and encouraged me through all of my athletic career. My dad was the one that got me into this sport. My mom and my dad have always been there for me to look up to and have support from. I wouldn’t be racing at ETSU if it wasn’t for them.
Triathlon is considered an “emerging sport.” What do you see as the future of triathlon as a college sport?
I see it growing to be something BIG. It will be a challenge, but I know in the future there will be a lot more competition.
What’s your major, and your plans for after college?
I am currently undecided.
What’s your most memorable moment in triathlon?
All the training I did this summer with my dad to prepare myself for this season. We were able to spend lots of time together before I moved so far away from home by going on multiple long bike rides, run workouts, and open water swims in Lake Michigan and Mona Lake. It is where I learned the most, and I have to say that’s not something most kids get to do.
2017: Finished 16th overall, and 9th in the swimming event, at Central Regional Qualifier in Naperville, Ill., September 4 ... won 15-19 age group and finished 20th overall at Frantic Frog meet in Scottsboro, Ala., September 16 ... finished 15th overall in Eastern Regional Qualifier in Sarasota, Fla., October 7 ... crossed finish line in 48th place out of 81 competitors at National Championship meet in Tempe, Ariz., November 5