HUDDLESTON, Va. – University of Denver triathlon freshman Maira Carreau won the regional championship on Saturday afternoon and led the Pioneers to a second-place team finish at the Eastern National Qualifier at Smith Mountain Lake State Park in Virginia.
Carreau paced three DU triathletes in the top 10 in the Division-I race and all five of the team’s scorers finished inside the top 15. The Pioneers earned 540 points, with only Queens University of Charlotte having more in the win with 560. East Tennessee State rounded out the D-I team podium with 491 points.
The Pios had a strong start with four near the front out of the swim and during the 18.5K bike course. Carreau (10:01) was first out of the water and was joined just a few seconds later by fellow freshman Alex Campbell (10:04) and junior Olivia Ebenstein (10:08), while sophomore Elizabeth Harita was just seconds behind as well (10:11).
Carreau then used the fastest run split of the day with a school-record 17:20 in the 5K to pull ahead and earn her first career collegiate victory in a total time 57 minutes and 29.1 seconds. The La Prairie, Quebec, native becomes the second Pioneer to win a race this year, as Campbell won the Denver Aquathlon Eliminator duel against Colorado Mesa on Sept. 1, and is just the second Denver triathlete to win a full sprint event in team history, joining Freya McKinley (two, 2021-2022).
The NCAA rookie is also the first-ever DU triathlete to place on the podium in each of her first two career races after coming in second at the Black Hills Collegiate Cup two weeks ago in South Dakota.
Campbell posted the fifth-fastest time of the day at 58:38.8 and Ebenstein was ninth in the D-I race at 59:21.8. For Campbell, she joins Harita as the only DU athletes to place in the top 10 in each of their first three career collegiate races. Ebenstein, who came in 10th at Smith Mountain two years ago and was eighth at last year’s Western Regionals, picked up her third career top 10 in a regional race and the third such result of the season after posting a personal record in the 5K run 18:56.
Denver’s other two scorers were junior Clara Normand in 11th (1:00:19.4) and Harita in 13th (1:00:39.8), while graduate student Maren York placed 22nd (1:01:43.3) and junior Avarie Faulkner came in 25th (1:02:14.0). Sophomore Coco Diemar did not finish after crashing on the bike portion.
Queens University picked up the team win with all five of its scorers in the top 10, including Beth Cook and Sam McInnes joining Carreau on the podium in second and third place, respectively.
The Eastern Regional featured a field of 117 total Division-I, II and III athletes. Due to its large size, the race was split into two heats; Denver competed in the second.
Denver now turns its attention to the 2023 Collegiate National Championships in four weeks at Tempe Town Lake in Tempe, Arizona. The Pioneers will be entering nationals with momentum and will look to build upon their third-place team finish from a season ago.
Women’s Individual Top 10 Division I Finishers
- Maira Carreau, Denver, 57:29.1
- Beth Cooks, Queens, 57:44.0
- Sam McInnes, Queens, 58:12.1
- Josi Seerig, East Tennessee State, 58:12.3
- Alex Campbell, Denver, 58:38.8
- Livia Wespe Queens, 58:50.8
- Emma Olson-Keating, Queens, 59:05.0
- Cara MacDonald, Queens, 59:06.3
- Olivia Ebenstein, Denver, 59:21.8
- Haley Harris, Navy, 59.56.0
— Ron Knabenbauer / Denver Athletics