The 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship is almost here. This Friday and Saturday, April 12–13, over 1000 athletes from 108 schools across the US will compete for honors and prize money.
The main event, so to speak, is the Olympic-distance triathlon Saturday morning. There will again be a four-person, draft-legal, mixed-team relay on Saturday afternoon. And this year there is a new addition: a draft-legal sprint on Friday for qualified athletes.
Here at Discount Tri Supply, we are excited to watch the action, but we are in a bit of pickle. We are sponsoring BOTH the Iowa State University Triclones AND the University of Iowa Trihawks. Whom to root for… whom to root for…?
Note: If you want to know where to go for live coverage of the races so you can watch them, too, check the end of this article for links.
The ISU Triclones are just 30 miles north of us in Ames, Iowa.
The club was formed to provide its members with a sense of community with other triathletes, to introduce people to the sport of triathlon, and also to attempt to absorb some of the costs of getting started in triathlon. They get some money from the school, but also rely on sponsors to help with uniforms, wetsuits, other gear, and nutrition. The best part of the club is the unity and friendship. "We encourage each other during workouts, we encourage each other TO workout, and we congratulate good performances and console to not-so-good races," says Hunter Follen. Teammates all bring something to share. They may come from swimming, biking, or running backgrounds, but they all share their knowledge and experience to help each other.
The Triclones will be giving everything to do well at the 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship. Their men's team is incredibly deep and each man will be striving to be one of the team's top 4 and earn scores for the team. Men and women alike, they each want to set a PR and want each other to do the same. Look for them to make sure no one forgets who the Triclones are at Nationals!
The U of I Trihawks, from Iowa City in eastern Iowa, are also a favorite in our office.
The Trihawks were founded in 2001 and have succeeded in creating a community of multi-sport athletes. They hold organized practices and function as a network for finding workout partners. Their annual tradition is to travel together to someplace warm (unlike Iowa this time of year) for spring break. They do a big block of training there and make preparations for the 2013 USAT Collegiate National Championship. This year they went to Clermont, Florida and 8 team members competed in the 2013 Great Clermont Triathlon. In addition to working out, racing, and vacationing together and enjoying the occasional club party, they organize the annual Iowa's Best Dam Triathlon. Every fall, this race gathers racers from around the midwest and raises money for the team and for charity.
The Trihawks women's team isn't as deep as it has been in the past but the women on it have put up some big races in the past and have improved drastically, so there is no telling how well they might do. The men's team is hoping for a top 15 finish, up from 23rd last year. Of course they want to beat ISU; there's nothing like an intrastate rivalry!
The Athletes Headed to the 2013 USAT Collegiate National Championship
We can't pick sides, but we really are rooting for each individual athlete to meet and exceed their goals this year.
The Trihawks are sending 18 athletes: 12 men, 6 women.
Adam Heckelsmiller has tons of mental toughness. He balances 20+ credit hours, participation in the Army ROTC program, and triathlon training while never having a bad thing to say about anyone. Adam will be competing in the Olympic-distance race.
Alex Libin has turned pro this year and is individually sponsored by Discount Tri supply and Kyle's Bikes. You can read his profile on our blog. His teammates have been looking to him for and receiving advice this season. He will be competing in the draft-legal sprint on Friday, the Olympic-distance race on Saturday, and the mixed-team relay Saturday afternoon.
This is Alex Murphy's fourth trip to Nationals. His goal is to break 2:10:00 in the Olympic-distance race. Alex, or "Murphy," or "the Energizer Bunny," is always firing on all cylinders, even at 6 a.m. He designs run practices for the team, is always there to offer a helping hand, and fosters team collaboration.
Allison Kindig is relatively new to triathlon but already shows amazing promise, inspiring phrases like "pure beast" and "fierce competitor" (but also "a great friend even at 5:30 a.m.") from her teammates. Allison goes to the front and pushes the pace on co-ed group rides, so look for a strong bike split from her. She will be competing in the draft-legal sprint on Friday, the Olympic-distance race on Saturday, and the mixed-team relay Saturday afternoon.
Ashley Brosius is a student in the University of Iowa College of Law. This keeps her and her "infectious personality" in the library a considerable amount of time. However, she is a big fan of the outdoors, both doing triathlons and hiking. She will be racing in the Olympic-distance race on Saturday.
Brad Johnson had his first Collegiate Nationals last year and is coming into this season with much more focus, training, and determination. His personal goals are to set a PR by finishing the Olympic-distance race in under 2:15:00 and to push his body to a point that it's never gone before. "Getting that little extra out of myself on race day will make the months of training totally worth it."
Dan Brown, according to his teammates, has "better abs than anyone." "I don't know if I've ever seen anyone that built run as fast as he does," says Matt Ampleman. Dan is on the track every week, pushing the pace with Kyle Siefers and Alex Murphy. Watch for him (He shouldn't be hard to miss) in the Olympic-distance race.
Without Farrah Steinke, the club would be "lame," says Alex Libin. She holds the team together by planning social events and making sure they stay on top of important deadlines and planning issues. She will be competing twice on Saturday, first in the Olympic and then on the relay.
Jackson Parr is ready for the Collegiate Nationals Olympic-distance race, having just destroyed his previous PR at this year's Great Clermont Triathlon during the spring break training trip. He always puts up some of the best bike splits and has recently dropped his run and swims times. Jackson is a journalism major, and you can read some blogging he has done on the USAT website.
Jenna Voelker was the race director of the 2012 Iowa's Best Dam Tri. Since that race is the fundraiser for the club, Jenna is to thank for the team being able to make it to Nationals. She has multiple Ironman races on her calendar this summer and will be competing in the Olympic-distance race this weekend.
Julie Hay, student in the Human Physiology and Pre-Physician Assistant Program, returns for her second USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship. She will racing the Olympic-distance and "is always ready to rock."
Justin Metzler has been competing in triathlons for five years and will be competing in all three events this weekend. His goal for the non-drafting Olympic is to be in the top five undergraduate, and in the draft-legal race to be a contender for the top ten. His teammates commented on his commitment to training and the impressive numbers he's been posting. He's been the teammate you can always count on to train with you in bad weather, and he looks likely to meet his goals.
As one of the captains, Kyle Siefers has been instrumental in keeping the club functioning this year. His teammates appreciate the work he's done finding flights, ordering equipment, and getting things done and they feel "he deserves to get out there and smash this race more than anyone else!" He was a swimmer as an undergrad and is one of those pushing the pace during team run practices, so he's in a position to smash the Olympic on Saturday.
Leah de Matta swam in high school and is often beating the guys at Trihawk team swim practice. She is clearly well rounded, however: Over spring break, she won her age group at the Great Clermont Triathlon. This weekend, we'll be watching wave one of the Olympic-distance race to see her result.
Matt Ampleman is used to marathons and focusing on run speed, endurance, and form. He made the transition to triathlon and two-a-day workouts and is finding himself up to the challenge of triathlon multi-tasking. He had a good time in their first race of the year and one can expect big things from him in the Olympic-distance race at Nationals.
Mike Considine is another team member instrumental in getting the team to Tempe. He's driving his trailer full of the bikes. He did an Ironman a few years back and has had all sorts of endurance sports adventures that give him good stories to share. Before he gets to the two Ironman races on his schedule this summer he will be competing in the Olympic distance this Saturday.
Mike McCrary, "Papa Mike," looks really tough, but he'll do anything for anyone, including pulling long, overnight driving shifts with the trailer. Once the team gets to Tempe, he'll be racing the Olympic-distance race.
Sean Mobberly does hard work for the club when no one else wants to and keeps things flowing smoothly. He is a fixture on the team, offering helpful advice to anyone new to triathlon. Watch him compete in the Olympic-distance race this weekend.
The Triclones are sending 21 athletes: 13 men, 9 women.
Andy Happe, with a background in collegiate swimming, has shown his teammates he is a very capable triathlete. Of those competing at Nationals, he was the team's top finisher in the Olympic race at HITS Naples over winter break, and he has the potential to put on a good performance at that distance at Nationals. "My goal is to build into each part of my race because I usually use too much energy too soon due to the excitement of the race atmosphere."
Anne Alter's teammates say she is one of their best swimmers, male or female, and is likely to be one of the first women out of the water Saturday. "This year, Nationals will be my fourth Olympic triathlon. I come from a swimming background, so I have been placed in the first wave at Nationals with the faster swimmers. My goal is to go out hard in the swim and maintain a strong consistent pace throughout the rest of the race."
Amber Hilderbrand has a strong swimming background, shows an outstanding work ethic, and is a supportive member of the team. This is her second Nationals and fourth Olympic-distance triathlon. She says, "My personal goal for Nationals is to run my race in under 3 hours and to run my 10K in under 60 minutes. I have been focusing a lot on the bike and run portions on my race because I have the most room for improvement in those areas."
Ashley Leitner comes from a background as a pole vaulter. (!) She joined the Triclones with zero experience an any of the three disciplines after a career-ending foot injury took her off the ISU Varsity Track and Field Team. She sets a great example in training sessions and is always involved in team events. "It is indescribable to have the opportunity to open the Club’s arms to new members with the same warm welcome that I was welcomed with two years ago." She will be helping the women's team to a high finish with her result from the Olympic and will be competing in the mixed-team relay.
Brian Kraus, a senior in software engineering, is a new addition to the team this semester. He completed one of his first triathlons ever on the team's winter break trip to Naples, Florida, finishing the Olympic-distance race with a time of 2:43:23. His team is very excited to watch him compete in the same distance again this weekend.
Byron Smith has been training for triathlons for just six months now, completing two races last September. He's been very dedicated to his training and is undertaking both the draft-legal sprint and the Olympic championship. He says, "I have been watching videos of bike races and the 2012 Summer Olympics triathlon to prepare for the draft-legal race."
Emily Epperson says, "I feel as though I am more prepared for Nationals than I was last year. I have seen improvement in my training with being more consistent." Her teammates agree, saying that she has shown a lot of dedication this year and will probably set a PR in the Olympic-distance race. Emily is one of the team's strong swimmers and will be in wave one.
Gaby Bunten joined the team this year after swimming two years for the University of North Dakota. She is one to watch this year! She will be in wave one of the Olympic, pushing the pace and likely to be the team's top female finisher.
For Haley Greenia, the Olympic-distance race this weekend will be her first outdoor triathlon. She is not discouraged by her lack of experience, though, and is enthusiastic about competing at the 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship!
Hunter Follen consistently has decent races while training around a string of injuries. His teammates have seen his hard work in preparation for Nationals and are certain he is bringing his game. We'll be watching the Olympic-distance race to see how right they are. "My goal for nationals this year is to put myself to the test and see what I can do, and to enjoy racing with my friends and teammates and seeing how they have progressed this year."
John Beck is a new face to triathlon, but his teammates recommend getting to know it. This is John's first appearance at a National Championship race and he is poised to give it his all in the Oylmpic. He has speed and power in the water and is the teams top male swimmer.
Dedicated, passionate, ambitious, and optimistic, Judah Sencenbaugh will be exciting to watch when she steps up and represents ISU in the draft-legal sprint. She is a strong swimmer and cyclist, and should do well in that format.
Kris Spoth is number one on the men's team and sets a great example with his training ethic. He's had previous success at the Ironman distance (11th overall at 2011 Ironman Lousiville!) but is focusing on Olympic for collegiate triathlon. "I hope the Collegiate National Championship will give me a strong start to my season!" He will also be on the mixed team relay Saturday afternoon.
Kyle Weis is a senior member of the team and has been invaluable to them in coordinating events and holding them to their workouts. Kyle set a PR of 2:13:27 in the Hy-Vee Triathlon 5150 US Championship last September. He will be hoping to beat that time at Nationals, and his teammates are expecting him to score for the team.
Louis Gilbertson joined the club last fall and immediately had a good performance at the conference championships in September, placing 5th for the team. Everyone is excited to race with him again this spring. He will be competing in the Olympic.
This is Sam Nilsson's first year on the team. He has jumped right in and worked as Trip Coordinator to plan the trip to Tempe. At Nationals, he is "hoping to meet some new triathletes and get some more experience in race conditions." Sam is a strong swimmer. Let's see how he does in the Olympic-distance race.
Sarah Parkinson is a fun teammate who is always both making things fun and working very hard. "For me, Nationals is the finalization of an entire year of dedication and hard work, but still an adventure of friendship and talents of our own." Her teammates say she always has a spring in her step, especially when she runs, so we will be watching for it during the Olympic race on Saturday.
Seth Long is by far the team's most experienced triathlete, having competed since he was a kid. He's been out of state this semester for an internship, and his teammates are looking forward to him being around to share his experience and to them racing with him again in Tempe. He will be starting in wave one of the Olympic.
Shawn McKenzie is one of the team's most dedicate triathletes. He completed more races in last summer's conference series than any of the men. This Saturday, he will race in both the Olympic distance and the team relay.
Teresa Klarenbeek is shooting to get below a 2:35:00 time in the Olympic. She will also be competing on the relay. She's a well rounded triathlete, both across the three disciplines and in her balance of bubbly personality and competitive drive.
Zach Eskrich has been working hard to prepare and is always supportive of his fellow teammates. He will be competing in the Olympic on Saturday. Watch his bike leg, because that is where he is usually the strongest.
Zach Shaver just started triathlons last June. He's a first year student with a high school swimming background. He has really invested in his training and equipment. "I have learned the serious amount of determination and perseverance required in triathlon. Down at Collegiate Nationals I hope come close to my 2:10 goal time [in the Olympic]."
Watching the 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championship
For links to live video streams of both the men's and women's Olympic-distance races on Saturday, visit the coverage page of the USAT Collegiate National Championship site.
The men's race begins at 7:30 a.m. MST (Tempe local time), followed by the women's at 11 a.m. MST. Keep in mind that Arizona does not go on Daylight Saving Time, so 7:30 MST = 7:30 PDT = 8:30 MDT = 9:30 CDT = 10:30 EDT. And 11:00 MST = 11:00 PDT = Noon MDT = 1:00 CDT = 2:00 EDT.
For the 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate Draft-Legal Sprint on Friday, there is a live blog which you can get to from the same link.
Whether you'll be watching the race, competing in the race, or just stalking the results to see how your friends did, please leave a comment. We'll be on pins and needles both days, too!
After the races, we will be sure to follow up with them.