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After winning their fourth consecutive national championship in 2013, the University of Colorado triathlon team has looked good through the first two races of their young season.
“For all of our races, it’s going to be an Olympic distance, which is a 1500 meter swim, just under a mile, 40K bike, about 24 miles of biking, and a 10K run, 6.2 miles,” team president Jesse Frank said. “It’s kind of like cross country scoring back in high school. At least for nationals, the top four score and the rest pushes everyone down. For our conference races, first place gets 500 points, second place 499, and it works down like that. The team with the most points combined wins.”
As a part of the Mountain Collegiate Triathlon Conference, the Buffs face 10 teams from four states including Arizona, Wyoming, New Mexico State, Colorado State and Air Force.
The Buffs only sent a small number of athletes to the first two races of the season, as those races were much smaller in scale.
During their first race of the season, which took place in Boulder on August 31, the Buffs fared exceptionally well as sophomore Rudy von Berg took home first place for the men with a time of 2:00:29. Junior Kaye Sitterley finished first for the women in 2:32:26.
By the end of the Boulder Sunset race, the Buffs had six more athletes finish in the top 10 between the men and women.
Three weeks later, the Buffs stole the show again at the Nathan Tempe Triathlon in Arizona as senior Kasia Rasker finished second overall in the women’s race in 2:31:19. The Buffs also had two more top 10 finishes between the men and women.
Head Coach Mike Ricci explained that in the end, each race counted a little towards their main goal, which is winning Regionals this spring.
“The first race did really well to set the tone for the rest of the season,” Ricci said. “The Tempe race was still a good race, even though not many people went to it. Really, we’re just trying to go down there and get some points for Regionals, which is in March, so that helps us a little bit.”
The Buffs next race is a conference race in Fruita, Colorado. Although the first two races were geared toward a lower level of competition, with only a handful of Buffs competing in each, the Desert’s Edge race in Fruita is expected to provide much stiffer competition.
According to Coach Ricci, the team will send 15 to 20 of the team’s 90 athletes to the race this weekend. He described the new concept of distributing athletes to certain events as a delicate balancing act.
“This is all new–the conference races and getting points for Regionals,” he explained. “We’ve been trying to figure out the balance of who needs to do two races, who needs to do one. We’re trying to make it balanced so we’re not burning kids out. At the same time, the team needs to get points.”
Despite being able to send only a fraction of the team to Fruita, Coach Ricci believes that the participating athletes will perform well.
Junior Brian Monahan will be among the athletes making the trek to the state’s western border for Sunday’s competition.
“I’m looking forward to the trip because it’s great team bonding experience,” he said. “You get to know your teammates, and it’s a great trip overall. Competition is great, and the best part, of course, is learning more about your teammates.”
“We pride ourselves on being the best,” he said. “We try to continue that tradition of excellence that was set before us. That’s always the goal. Championships are always the goal, and this year looks to be no different.”
The team is set to race in the Desert’s Edge Triathlon in Fruita, Colorado at 9:00 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6.
Contact CU Independent staff writer Alissa Noe at email@example.com