USA Triathlon and the College Triathlon Coaches Association (CTCA) Board of Directors announced that the fall 2020 varsity women’s collegiate triathlon season has been canceled due to ongoing precautions surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.
USA Triathlon and the CTCA are exploring the potential feasibility of hosting a varsity women’s collegiate triathlon season in the spring of 2021, and additional details will be communicated at a later date.
The season was initially scheduled to include three regional qualifiers — Sept. 5 in Pleasant Prairie, Wis.; Sept. 26 in Branson, Mo.; and Oct. 17 in Smith Mountain Lake, Va. — and the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships on Nov. 14 in Tempe, Ariz.
All four events have been canceled in order to limit cross-state travel and ensure a fair playing field for all athletes and teams. Several NCAA athletic conferences have announced the cancelation or postponement of their fall athletic seasons or set limits on student-athlete travel, making it impossible for many teams to be able to participate in the regional qualifier and national championship events.
“The CTCA came to a unanimous decision to cancel the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon Championship season,” said Jennifer Garrison, CTCA president and head coach of the North Central College varsity women’s triathlon team. “The board came to this decision after thoroughly reviewing the current situation, in which many athletes and teams will unable to compete based on restrictions set by their schools and conferences. We strongly feel that our women’s triathlon movement to the NCAA is as strong as ever. With that in mind, we are considering all of our options for the possibility of a spring season.”
“While canceling events is never ideal, the health and safety of our athletes and teams must come first,” said Tim Yount, USA Triathlon Chief Sport Development Officer. “The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the collegiate landscape in profound ways, and the most important priority for our student-athletes right now is their education. We are disappointed that we won’t be able to gather at the races this fall, but we look forward to seeing our athletes achieve great things when we can meet again.”
The NCAA named triathlon an Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, a designation that gives USA Triathlon a 10-year window to demonstrate the sport’s sustainability at the NCAA level by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs. The governing body is quickly approaching that goal with momentum on its side, as 28 schools have added the sport since January of 2017, and 36 schools have done so since 2014.