USA Triathlon announced that Willamette University will begin the first women's varsity triathlon program in Oregon. The private university is the NCAA’s ninth Division III triathlon program and will begin competing in 2021.
For USA Triathlon, the new women’s team at Willamette is an opportunity to grow the sport. “With the NCAA women’s triathlon movement now heading west, we look forward to offering potential student-athletes in this region another opportunity to compete at the varsity level,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. With Willamette’s team and others in recent years, USA Triathlon is more than halfway to its goal of recruiting 40 schools by 2024.
The fall triathlon season includes three regional qualifiers and a national championship. In all races, athletes cover a 750-meter open-water swim, 20-kilometer bike and 5-kilometer run.
Willamette plans to hire a head coach during the 2019-20 academic year to compete in fall 2021.
“This is a natural fit for Oregon and the Pacific Northwest,” says Rob Passage, Willamette’s director of intercollegiate athletics. “We appreciate the financial and technical support from USA Triathlon, which assists colleges offering triathlon as an NCAA ‘Emerging Sport for Women.’”
Because the program is at its earliest stage of development and isn’t slated to launch until 2021, much remains to be determined before the team begins competing. Passage advised interested students to email firstname.lastname@example.org, and the department will share information with students on the list as it becomes available.