This year, the University of Colorado’s triathlon team won the overall team title at USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships in Tempe, Ariz., for the fifth year in a row, making it a total of 15 national championships.
“We’re happy as always,” said team president Jesse Frank. CU also came in first for the men’s overall title, and second for the women’s overall title. “It definitely doesn’t get old.”
The student-run club sports team won by 21 points this year, a big leap from the two-point lead they had last year.
“We were definitely confident,” said Frank. “But we knew these other teams would be coming guns blazing at us, winning four years in a row… people definitely want to beat us.”
However, despite the competition, Frank said the atmosphere at nationals is always supportive.
Sophomore Rachael Lenz said the key to the Buffs’ success was consistency.
“We have a lot of fast people,” she said. Lenz placed sixth overall, beating her personal record by two minutes. “But everyone is also really dedicated (with) putting in the time to train.”
The CU triathlon team also had some impressive individual accomplishments along with its overall team win.
Sophomore Rudy Von Berg, 20, won the individual male championship this year.
“At transition I was with one guy,” said Von Berg. “We were together for a few minutes and then I just decided to go for it. I was gaining on him and he was doing pretty good for awhile, but he fell behind.”
Von Berg, who began racing triathlon 10 years ago, won by 1 minute and 30 seconds. His hard work paid off, as he said he trained 24 hours a week this year.
“Every year I’ve been increasing my training,” Von Berg said. “Just training as much as I can without getting sick. I want to become a professional.”
Even though Von Berg had personal win to be proud of, he said the most memorable part of nationals the Buffs winning as a team for another year.
“We weren’t sure if we were going to win,” she said. “When the numbers started adding up — just knowing that we had pulled it all together again — that was the best moment.”
Frank said one of the major challenges the team faced this year was the transition to a new head coach, but Lenz said the assistant coach, Dave Sheanin, stepped in as interim coach to help the process run smoothly.
“We were able to keep the same rhythm and training going,” said Lenz.
Now that nationals are over, new head coach Brad Seng has taken over for the Buffs.
Contact Jake Kincaid at firstname.lastname@example.org.