by Michellie Jones
Over 1,000 men and women representing more than 150 college clubs competed in the USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships in Tempe, Ariz. The teams were not only challenged by racing against one another in the hot weather conditions but also had to overcoming adversity and rally together. The Collegiate Nationals competition keeps growing with athletes that are not only nationally ranked but who also hold world rankings.
UC San Diego started the weekend with a win in the Men’s Draft legal Sprint led by Australian Jayden Schofield as well as a 3rd place finish by his twin brother Luke Schofield. Next up it was the Women’s Draft legal Sprint with Beril Polat and Emily Lathrop. Beril excited the water in third place and was in the lead pack. Emily was not far behind with her season best time and only 10 seconds back. Unfortunately in the closing stages of the bike, Beril crashed out which left Emily to score for the team crossing the finish line in 27th.
In the Men’s Olympic on the following day our team hopes were high after a successful day one. Jayden continued his great form with a 6th place while Luke placed 24th. Lady Luck was not quite on our side again for the Olympic with Zach-the-Man, or, Zach-Attack-Goodman, getting a mechanical and losing over five minutes. Nonetheless, he rallied to finish in 77th in the field. The most outstanding performance goes to Barry Weickert whose consistent hard work all season long amounted to a personal best of 29th in the Nation. While Lucas Pinto, our quiet achiever, started in the second wave and managed to place 96th. Tritonman Race Director aka ‘I never complain at workouts’ Rory Runser finished 121st, Daredevil Henry McCulloh finished in 239th, Super-fish Michael Chen placed 242nd, Organizer Extraordinaire Torin Halsted 335th, and the always excited Daniel Sandoval was 410th.
In the women’s Olympic the first UC San Diego athlete to score for the team was our Big Red Bus Cheer Leader Sofia Schugar in 27th. Next up it was I am going to get it done Joanna Coker in 45th and right behind her in 46th was our President Emily Lathrop. Liezl Maree (if only I could talk her into riding a TT Bike) was next in 71st after a great bike, followed by our Team Captain Ella Stimson in 107th, the ever smiling Roise McSorley placed 197th, Addison Seale aka I don’t need to get off my bike to go down stairs) finished in 390th while the ever improving Jasmine Stansil rounded out the womens team in 416th.
I cant think of a better way to close out the event than the Mixed team Relay. The team was highly motivated with Beril Polate getting the clear to be discharged from the hospital with a mild concussion and a few stitches in her hand and feeling well enought to make an appearance to cheer on her fellow Tritons.
The Mixed Team Relay can be readily decided by tactics so after much discussion the final order was Jayden, Sofia, Luke and Emily. Jayden did UC San Diego proud in in the first leg to provide the team with a extremely valuable few seconds to tag Sofia for leg number Two. Since Sofia’s weakest discipline is the swim the few second lead was a nice way to have Sofia start her race. Next up was Luke and his role was to chase down any lost positions which he did brilliantly to set Emily into the water in 2nd position. Emily rose to the occasion and embraced the pressure of being our anchor and has a brilliant ride to keep us in podium contention going into the final run. The end result was a tought fought 4th place. During the Awards we would find out that we would be awarded 3rd due to a rule infraction resulting in the DQ of the winning team. It felt a tad like redention after Beril crashing out on day one.
The final scoring resulted in the UC San Diego Mens team narrowly missing a spot of the podium with a 4th place finish in the Combined while the UC San Diego Woman finished 9th in the Combined.
The Mens Combined Individual title was awarded to UC San Diego athlete Jayden Schofield with 745 points while Luke Schofield’s 717 points earned him equal 3rd and on a count back relegating him to 4th.
All that was left was the final scoring to determine the Overall Club Champion. Scores were tallied by combining results from Friday’s sprint draft-legal race, Saturday morning’s Olympic-distance race and Saturday afternoon’s Mixed Team Relay. A mere 219 points separated UC San Diego from making the podium and 280 points to take the top spot with the team finishing an incredible 7th place in the Nation.
Thank You to Imran Mcgrath for all the awesome photos and cheering for everyone. Thats 5 events over 2 days which means he slept better than everyone.
I am extremely proud of all our team as the coach. It was extremely motivating to see everyone work as a team and
*Unoffical Mascot Chuckie the Mini Pin aka Chucky Monkey support one another. No matter the challenges I had planned for the team you all showed up week in and week out that which motivated me more to challenge each and every one of you. It was also great to see at each event the personal bests being recorded andthen see the team feed off the excitment of so many great results. Thank You also to everyone else who didn’t get the opportunity to race Nationals you still all were a part of everyones journey to Nationals and their success is yours as well. Looking forward to 2020 and seeing what the season brings…..Giddy Up!! Go Tritons!