Buffs Put in Final Preparations for Lubbock Race
April 11, 2010 (Boulder, CO) – Focused and sharp. Two words to describe the University of Colorado triathlon team at their recent Sunday morning track workout.
Coming off an important building year where the team finished third in the combined men and women’s results at collegiate nationals in 2009, the athletes are hungry to give defending champion Navy a run for their money.
The squad is coached by Mike Ricci in his second year at the helm. Most of the athletes from last year’s team have returned, and Ricci’s long term training plan seems to be producing results. Everyone who returned from last year shaved significant time off their performances at last month’s Collegiate Mountain Regional Championships at Lake Havasu, Arizona.
The team typically trains through the race at Lake Havasu and uses it as a chance to get in some early season racing experience. Don’t be fooled, though, by thinking they simply view the race as a tune-up for nationals. The team goes to compete. And this year, they again swept the team and individual titles.
If the team’s results at Lake Havasu are any indication of their readiness for Lubbock, the Buffs are ready to go. This sentiment was echoed by athletes I talked with after their track workout last week. “Fitter” and “more focused” were key words several used to describe where they are at this year compared with last year at this time. And they credit Ricci’s vision for getting them to this level of readiness.
Among the athletes who have benefited from Ricci’s coaching experience and close guidance is Jessica Broderick. As a freshman last year, Broderick burst onto the scene by winning the individual title at the collegiate race in Lubbock. She went on to win her first USAT junior elite cup race in July, and established herself as a talent to be reckoned with in the draft-legal junior elite circuit.
Now having aged up to U23 elite racing, Broderick has also stepped up the level of her dedication to the sport. She used her off-season this year to focus on her running, and looks forward to seeing dividends.
“I’m excited to see how that transfers over into racing,” said Broderick.
Aside from her personal objectives for collegiate nationals, Broderick is looking forward to the team aspect and likes the team’s chances.
“I think we’ll definitely be up in the mix for the win,” she says.
In the individual women’s competition, Broderick will have some work to do if she is to defend her title. The entire women’s podium will be returning to compete for the top spot, including Ashley Morgan of Army and Julie Rechel of the University of Richmond.
Morgan has since enhanced her experience by taking the 18-24 age group championship at the Ironman 70.3 World Championships last November. Additionally, Alex Weber of Texas A&M could challenge for the women’s title. She was sixth in the female 16-19 age group sprint distance world championships at last year’s ITU Grand Final in Gold Coast, Australia.
“Collegiate nationals is a type of race where you never really know who’s going to show up,” says Broderick in talking about her own potential challengers. But she notes that one thing is for certain. It will be a good race.
Supporting CU’s effort to secure the women’s team title will be Ashley Walker, a doctoral candidate in integrated physiology. Walker, who won the women’s race at Lake Havasu this year and last year, is aiming for a top ten finish in Lubbock.
The Buffs are happy that she remains eligible to compete this year. According to USAT guidelines, collegiate racers must be 28 or under on race day to compete in the collegiate championships. Walker will celebrate her 29th birthday four days after the race.
After Lubbock, Walker will then shift her focus to Ironman training in preparation for her first attempt at that distance at Ironman Canada. She plans on graduating with her PhD in December.
On the men’s side, Cedric Wane—who won the men’s individual title at Lake Havasu two years in a row—will be the top returning finisher from last year’s collegiate championships. He was third
a year ago in 2:01:42, just 29 seconds out of first place.
Like Broderick, Wane has also been working on his running. He ran 34 minutes flat for the 10k at Lake Havasu this year, undeterred by the sandy lead out from T2. In addition, he shaved four minutes off his overall time.
Wane will be joined by a men’s team filled with talent. Among the newer members, freshman Chris Braden will compete in his first collegiate championships. Wane points to him as the future of the team.
Wane also notes, “We have assembled one of the strongest teams in CU history.”
And that says a lot. The CU triathlon team has won ten national titles in sixteen years. Will 2010 be number eleven?
Whether it’s the University of Colorado, Navy or yet another strong team who will claim the title this year, USAT’s national events director, Jeff Dyrek, says, “Excitement is at an all-time high for this event. We have an extremely talented field of individuals and teams that will make for yet another thrilling day of triathlon action in Lubbock.”
The Olympic-distance Collegiate National Championships gets underway at 9 am on Saturday, April 17 in Lubbock, Texas. More than 900 competitors representing 100 college clubs will toe the line. Each college team is allowed to field seven men and seven women.
The championship race will be followed by a sprint race—comprised of a 500m swim, 17.6-mile bike and 5k run—for those collegiate athletes not competing in the Olympic distance event. Nearly 300 competitors have signed up for the sprint event.
CU Men’s Roster for Collegiate Nationals
Tate Behning (Master’s Candidate, Business Administration)
Chris Braden (Freshman, Finance)
Adam Coy (Senior, Biological Sciences)
Corey Hazekamp (Junior, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology)
Bryant Mason (Senior, Environmental Studies )
Will Nabours (Junior, Environmental Engineering)
Cedric Wane (Senior, Mathematics)
CU Women’s Roster for Collegiate Nationals
Tess Amer (Freshman, Psychology)
Jessica Broderick (Sophomore, Integrative Physiology)
Laura Greer (Junior, Speech, Language & Hearing Sciences)
Molly Mac Innes (Sophomore, Biological Sciences)
Jesse Prather – Team President (Senior, International Affairs)
Ashley Scott (Sophomore, Integrative Physiology)
Ashley Walker (Doctoral Candidate, Integrative Physiology)