The women of Lenoir-Rhyne Triathlon traveled to Lake Louisa State Park in Clermont, Florida to make history as they toed the line for their first swim-bike-run event as an NCAA program. The race combined all divisions giving the Bears a rare opportunity to measure up against a strong field including all three defending podium teams from the most recent NCAA Championship.
Afternoon winds made for a heavy chop in the 750m swim. Andie Kuipers (FR, Zimbabwe) lead the Bears out of the water followed by Nanette Nikolajsen (FR, Denmark) and Chloe Telian (JR, Oakhurst, CA). On the 20km bike course the Bears posted an impressive team effort as they successfully consolidated smaller chase packs over the technical 4 lap course and reached the bike to run transition (“T2”) well positioned in the team race. Teresa Vesely (FR, Austria) led the charge on the bike course with one of the top bike splits in the race. The Bears finished out the race with an fierce battle on the 5km run course with defending national runner-up Davis & Elkins who claimed the second spot in the team race with a pair of the blistering run splits from their top finishers.
“We’re extremely pleased to get this first triathlon under our belts, and to perform the way we did today is a huge bonus,” remarked Head Coach Bryant Howard, “to have the opportunity to compete against the best teams in our sport gives us a great perspective on where we are and what we still need to do to compete with them.”
NCAA Triathlon utilizes a scoring system that totals the finish positions of the top 4 athletes for each team, the team with the lowest combined score is declared the winner.
Next up for the Bears is the NCAA Challenge at Hyco Lake back home in North Carolina.
Division II Team Results (Top-4)
Davis & Elkins 82
Black Hills State 107
LR Finishers (Place)
1. Nanette Nikolajsen – 1:08:51 (12th)
2. Andie Kuipers – 1:09:38 (22nd)
3. Sayti Plank – 1:10:26 (24)
4. Makenna Seghers – 1:10:25 (26th)
5. Chloe Telian – 1:11:17 (27th)
6. Teresa Vesely – 1:11:46 (28th)
7. Emily Hayes – 1:12:49 (33rd)
Women’s Triathlon began in the fall of 2020 as a varsity sport thanks to a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation’s Women’s Emerging Sports Grant. This grant is distributed to select NCAA member institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level. LR is the 32nd NCAA program to offer women’s varsity triathlon and the 13th at the Division II level. Men’s triathlon will launch as a varsity club sport in the fall of 2021.