The 2012 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships occurred last week and once again the blueseventy sponsored team from the University of Colorado Boulder took home the men's team, women's team and overall team title for an unprecedented 13th time. The team's motto of "The team that trains together, wins together" was in full force under the skillful coaching of D3 Multisport's Mike Ricci.
We asked CU & blueseventy athlete Drew Scott, no stranger to big time events as evidence of his debut Ironman last fall at the World Championships in Hawaii and who finished 5th overall in the men's race, to share here what the atmosphere is like at this unique race. "The race was quite an experience, definitely a different atmosphere from any other race that I've done. I guess that can be expected when there's 1300+ college students at a race!" Below is Drew's race report from Tuscaloosa.
It has now been a little over a week since I arrived home after traveling to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for the first time to race at the Collegiate National Championships. I was very excited to finally get a chance to compete at Collegiate Nationals, and to do so with a team like CU. I was well aware of the history of the team and the numerous national titles that had been won when I joined last Fall. Heading into the race this year, I knew the strength of our team was quite good. However, at a race like Collegiate Nationals, it seems like you can never really know how well you will do because people you've never heard of can come out of nowhere. I think everyone on our team had a bit of added confidence gained from the months training together and witnessing what each person on the team was capable of.
I had heard all sorts of stories from current teammates and others in Boulder who had competed at Nationals before. Almost every person I spoke to commented about how this race was unlike any other triathlon out there. It’s not often that you get over a thousand college students together at one event, with everyone equally as excited as you are about competing in a triathlon. The atmosphere created is certainly different from any other race I’ve ever done.
On race morning, as people gathered at the swim start before the women’s race, team cheers began to ring out one after another. Everybody was pretty fired. Our women ended up having a phenomenal race, winning the overall and giving our men’s team a bit more inspiration before we raced. 10:30AM finally rolled around meaning the start of our race. I was with teammate Rudy Kahsar (last years champion) in wave 1, and we both were lucky enough to sneak out on the far side to find some clean water right from the gun. I felt great on the swim and just tried to bury myself to limit the gap to some of the faster swimmers in the field. As always, the Helix wetsuit felt awesome. I came out about 2 minutes down to Dustin McLarty, but very close to a large group of guys just ahead. I managed to pass probably 5 or 6 guys on the run to transition before hopping on my bike.
Onto the bike, I tried to get into some sort of a rhythm as quickly as possible and hopefully start picking some people off. I was a caught a bit off guard early in the bike when I was passed by two guys right before Rudy came rocking by at about mile 5, having already made up the 20 seconds I had on him out of the water. This seemed to give me a bit of a spark, and I knew I had to stomp on it then to remain close. I came off the bike in 4th place and about 20 seconds down to Rudy, while the gap to Dustin had unfortunately remained about the same. The run was a bit of a struggle for me as I never quite found my running legs, but after getting passed by Ryan Bice around mile 2.5 I just tried my best to hang on and was happy to cross the line in 5th place. Our men’s team had a great day overall, with Rudy leading the charge in 2nd place, and Chris Braden and David Bobka finishing strongly in 6th and 15th.
The awards ceremony that night was quite the party with teams dressing up in all sorts of outfits and parading around before the awards started. I think I can safely say that no other awards ceremony comes close to what it is like at Collegiate Nationals. On the flight home the following day, I caught myself already thinking about next years race and I can’t wait to give it another go. It’s awesome to see this sport growing so much in the collegiate ranks and I’m very happy to be apart of it.Huge congratulations to the Colorado team for the win and thank you to Drew for sharing his race report with us. Congratulations are also in order to blueseventy's other sponsored collegiate clubs: University of California at Berkeley for finishing 3rd place in the overall team race (3rd place women's team; 5th place men's team) and UCLA for finishing 5th place in the overall team race (5th place women's team).