2015 Collegiate Triathlon Nationals Wrap Up

Collegiate Nationals puts the Team in Triathlon

Images by  Ken Scar/USA Triathlon

It is pretty awesome to see where Collegiate Triathlon is heading after watching the 2015 USA Triathlon Collegiate Nationals in Clemson, South Carolina this weekend.  In 2009 736 athletes representing 95 schools raced in Texas and it is awesome to see the race grow to 1133 athletes, representing 119 schools toeing the line looking to race the best college triathletes in the country at this year’s nationals.  This is no easy feat considering the majority of the teams travelled at least hundreds of miles for the race and nearly everyone of these programs is self funded through local sponsorships, fundraising efforts, and the generosity of donors.

USA Triathlon and NCAA started the weekend off by announcing nearly $1,000,000 in grant money for 8 women’s programs for the upcoming school year.  The USA Triathlon Foundation announced an Emerging Sport Grant to help establish the NCAA Varsity sport of women’s triathlon.  The schools receiving donations included Arizona State University and East Tennessee State University, both Division 1 schools.

Out on the race course, Friday’s Draft Legal sprint race saw Jason West of Penn State and Kelly Kosmo from UCLA take the victories, foreshadowing their later overall wins after both posted top 10 finishes in the Olympic distance race with Kosmo finishing 6th and West 2nd.  Kelly Kosmo improved from 3rd place in 2014, while Jason West bested his 7th place spot in the 2014 Olympic Distance race in Tempe, AZ.

While Friday was a perfect day for racing, Saturday’s Olympic Distance race was rain soaked.  Despite the weather and maybe using it to their advantage, Colorado’s Rudy Von Berg defended his title while his teammate, Rachael Lenz, improved from 6th place in 2014 to claim the top of the podium for the women.  This year marked the first year that 2 Paratriathletes, Mary Kate Callahan from the Arizona Tri Cats, and Newton Nguyen of Cal Triathlon competed in the event.

But what makes this event unique for triathlon, is the team aspect of the races.  The athletes are racing for the name on the front of the jersey, not just the one on the back. Not only are individuals awarded for their awesome efforts, but the schools earn points based on these finishes, making every effort count.  This scoring method drives team spirit and unity and as Katy Thellman from Colorado told RaceMill.com earlier this week “the team concept is crucial for each event. We treat our team as if it's a family. A big, fast family.” 

To close out the two day event, schools entered team into the overall Mixed Team Relay, epitomizing the spirit of teamwork and showing that triathlon is much more than an individual sport.  Once again for the sixth consecutive year, The University of Colorado Triathlon Team proved they are the toughest team to beat.  By winning both individual Olympic distance races as well as the mixed team relay, they secured their victory over the Naval Academy and the UCLA Bruins.  For the women’s team championship, UCLA defended their crown, and the US Naval Academy showed their depth by winning the men’s team championship.

RaceMill.com would like to congratulate all the athletes that raced this weekend and give a huge shout out to the folks behind the scenes coaching the teams, helping organize the event, and the volunteers that are the glue that keeps events like this together.  We can’t wait to see all of you again next year!

Complete results can be found here: 2015 Collegiate Nationals Results

1.9K 224