TEMPE, Arizona — The Northern Vermont University-Johnson women's triathlon team wrapped up their inaugural season as they finished fifth overall at the NCAA Division III National Championship. The Badgers were led by senior Margaret Connelly (Mclean, VA) who broke the top ten and finished eighth overall.
Coming off of a championship finish at the West Regional in Longmont, Colorado on September 23 the Northern Vermont University-Johnson Women's Triathlon team were poised to make an impact in the NCAA National Championship. Sunday's national championship race consisted of a 750-meter swim, followed by a 20-meter kilometer bike, and finally a 5-kilometer run. For the first time since the introduction of collegiate women's triathlon in 2014, the championship races were segmented in two waves, with Division I and Division II programs competing in one race, and Division III competing in the other race.
Connelly posted team-best times in the biking and running portions of the event, posting times of 37:35 and 23:53 respectively for the 20K ride and 5K run. Connelly rounded out her day with a time of 13:30 for the swimming event.
Sophomore Ellery Kiefer (Wayland, MA) also posted strong times for the Badgers and finished 14th overall. She posted a team-best time for the swimming portion of the competition, going the 750M distance in 11:30. Kiefer followed up with strong performances in the biking event, coming in just one minute behind teammate Connelly with a time of 38:35.
Senior Molly Cross (Colchester, VT) continued to improve and earned 29th place for Johnson. Cross completed the biking portion of the race in 40:58, just minutes behind teammates Kiefer and Connelly. Molly crossed the line in 31:36 for the running event and 15:41 for swimming.
In the first season of the NVU-Johnson Triathlon program the Badgers placed first in the first three races of the season. Recording a first place finish in the Pumpkinman (Burwick, ME.), Buzzards Bay Triathlon (Westport, MA) and the West Regional. Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in January of 2014, and the first varsity National Championships were held in the fall of that year. The sport has a 10-year window to demonstrate sustainability at the NCAA level. Northern Vermont University-Johnson was one of seven new programs to enter varsity collegiate triathlon in 2018.