ASU triathlon wins fifth straight national title

In the final race of the season, Alexe Coursol took home the award for USA Division I Freshman of the Year

ASU won the USA Triathlon National Championship Saturday in Tempe, making it the fifth straight National Championship win for the Sun Devils.

The University of San Francisco took second and the University of South Dakota rounded out the podium.

"You set the bar, you raise the bar, and people will come and chase you," head coach Cliff English said. "We knew they were coming, but our team is so strong and they fight."

For the individual times, ASU's two-time national champion graduate student Hannah Henry was dethroned by San Francisco sophomore Kira Gupta Baltazar, who crossed the finish line first with a time of 1:04:20. Henry did manage to take second, and first overall for ASU, with a time of 1:04:46. Finishing out the top three was sophomore Gillian Cridge, also of San Francisco. 

"It was definitely a great way to end a five-year NCAA career," Henry said.

Also for ASU, sophomore Amber Schlebusch finished sixth at a time of 1:06:05 and graduate student Kyla Roy had a time of 1:06:12, good for seventh. Freshman Alexe Coursol took eighth and senior Kira Stanley placed 12th, while senior Audrey Ernst came in 15th. Junior standout Liberty Ricca had an accident that involved her bike chain, causing her to place 39th out of the 47 participants, much lower than anyone expected. 

READ MORE: ASU triathlon's Liberty Ricca named to Team USA for Pan American Games

Adding even more hardware to the already loaded trophy case, Coursol took home the award for USA Division I Freshman of the Year. This award is determined by the coaches, who thought that the Canadian was deserving of it. 

"I feel really good and I'm really happy for the team as well," Coursol said. "I'm happy that I'm a part of these amazing events and a part of this team."

ASU competed against six other schools for the Division l Championship, including the University of Denver, East Tennessee State University, Delaware State University and Wagner College. Despite this being the fifth straight title for ASU, it was not a "give me" for the Sun Devils, as South Dakota and San Francisco were tough competition. San Francisco could smell the upset as the team had three of the top four finishers. 

"A lot of teams are getting a lot better," English said. 

This was the last race of the season for ASU, and the last race in a Sun Devils uniform for graduate students Henry and Roy. 

"It was bittersweet," Roy said. "(Hannah and I) have been here for five years so we've done our time." 


Reach the reporter at ahoppes1@asu.edu and follow @aviannahoppes on Twitter.

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