TEMPE, ARIZ. -- The Trine University women's triathlon team traveled to Tempe, Ariz. to compete in its first Collegiate Triathlon National Championship and finished as the runner-up team amongst Division III schools.
North Central (Ill.) College finished as the Div. III national champion. Eighty-one competitors hit the start line, a record field for the third official National Championship since triathlon became an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January of 2014. In total, 11 varsity teams and 10 club teams were represented at all three divisions.
Athletes covered a sprint-distance course featuring a 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.
The team awards were scored based on the finishing placements of the top three finishers on each team, similar to cross-country scoring. ASU took the team title for the second consecutive year with six points, followed by Queens (17), the University of California at Berkeley (39), the University of Colorado at Boulder (48) and North Central College (86).
Awards were also presented to the top individual and team finishers in each division. ASU was the top Division I school, Queens earned the Division II title, and North Central College claimed the Division III crown. The individual division champions were Henry of ASU (DI), Knoll of Queens (DII) and Grace Miller of North Central College (DIII).
Leading the Thunder was junior Hannah Blystone (Carmel, Ind./Carmel) who recorded the third fastest overall time amongst Div. III competitors at 1:11:53.03 and placed 35th overall in a field of 73 athletes to complete the race.
Coming in second for the Thunder was sophomore Natalee Landel (Edgerton, Ohio/Edgerton) who turned in a time of 1:21:55.19 and placed 63rd overall.
Also competing for Trine was the duo of sophomore Kirsten Godfrey (Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead) and freshman Melissa Wirtz (Huron, Ohio/Huron) who finished back-to-back with race times of 1:26:25.72 and 1:31:46.84, respectively.
"It's an honor to be competing against girls in all three divisions," said Blystone. "Some of them have competed in world championships and some could possibly be future Olympians, so it's a privilege to be here and be able to compete against everyone."