TEMPE, Ariz. (November 13, 2021) – The University of Denver triathlon team placed fourth at the USA Triathlon Women’s Collegiate Championships on Saturday afternoon at Tempe Town Lake. In their first full season of existence, the Pioneers were competing in their first-ever national championship race.
DU was led in the NCAA Division-I race by freshman Freya McKinley, who placed ninth with a total time of 1:06:47. DU had two other freshmen in the top 20, as Olivia Ebenstein crossed the line in 13th and Avarie Faulkner finished in 19th.
Graduate student Emily Pincus (24th) and senior Grace Arlandson (26th) also scored for the Pioneers, while freshman Bella Chirafisi was 33rd and senior Amanda Ballard was 41st.
“The team did an amazing job today at our first national championship experience. As a team, we supported each other and worked together throughout the race,” said Denver head coach Barbara Perkins. “We’ve come so far together in such a short period of time, and it’s hard to believe this was our first real season together. The team comes from so many different places and backgrounds, and they have meshed so well together. It was a really fun experience to see the culmination of all their hard work pay off.
“Being top four in the country is not something many programs could say in their first full season of existence. I am super proud of these women and their performance throughout this season. It’s inspirational to be their coach and see our potential from here. We are paving the way forward, and this is a great jumping off point as we continue to build the program up.”
McKinley finished the season with four consecutive top-10 placements. She came in third in the D-I competition at the St. George National Qualifier, second at Smith Mountain National Qualifier and first in women’s race at the Oktoberfest Sprint in Longmont, Colorado.
Arizona State repeated as team national champions after having all five scoring athletes finish in the top 12. The University of San Francisco did give the Sun Devils a run for the title as the Dons had three athletes in the top four, with Kira Gupta-Baltazar winning the individual national championship.
ASU’s Hannah Henry and USF’s Gillian Cridge placed second and third, respectively, in the D-I race. The University of South Dakota finished ahead of Denver in third place in the team competition.
— Ron Knabenbauer / Denver Athletics