Last weekend, the University of Colorado Triathlon Team accomplished what it’s been training for all year: an overall team title at the USAT National Collegiate Championships in Lubbock, TX. The victory marks the eleventh national championship in CU Triathlon history, and a marked improvement over last year’s third place standing. With 109 points total, Colorado defeated second and third place Army and Navy by over 55 points each.
Conditions were less than perfect on race day. After days of rain and flooding in Lubbock, the precipitation finally stopped and the roads dried enough to ride on Saturday morning. Cold and high winds remained, however, and the swim for the championship race was cut down to 750 meters due to a dangerous windchill. Even with a shortened swim, the athletes shivered as they stripped their wetsuits and got on their bikes. Still, the weather didn’t dampen Colorado’s spirits, or even weaken their performances. Some had the best races of their lives on Saturday, probably due to the adrenaline of winning a potential national championship. A 40k ride and 10k run finished off the Olympic-distance race.
On the men’s side, team leader Cedric Wane pulled out a second place finish in 1:49:17, just 23 seconds behind Cal Poly’s Chris Stehula. Colorado’s Chris Braden finished in tenth with a time of 1:54:35, and Bryant Mason and Will Nabours finished 13th and 21st to give the CU men a total of 39 points. It was a decisive victory for the Buffs, who outraced runners-up Cal Poly and Army by 65 points.
As for the CU women, defending national champion Jessica Broderick finished in 2:05:18, good for second place behind UVA’s Nicole Kelleher. Broderick’s supporting cast of Tess Amer, Ashley Walker, and Ashley Scott finished in 14th, 19th, and 44th respectively, earning second place as a team. The CU women earned 70 points, just eight away from first-place Army.
Returning to Boulder this week as national champions, the Buffs will start training immediately for the 2011 season. Next year’s race will be held in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and head coach Mike Ricci hopes for a back-to-back first place victory. The CU Triathlon Team has made itself known across the nation, and it is force to be reckoned with in the season to come.