PLEASANT PRAIRIE — The Central College women’s triathlon team got its first taste of the collegiate triathlon scene at the USA Triathlon Pleasant Prairie Regional Qualifier Saturday.
Central was among nine Division III institutions competing. Eight additional teams competed in the Division I/II field. Official team scores were not announced but Trine University (Ind.) was the apparent winner in Division III.
The teams completed a sprint triathlon, which includes a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike and a five-kilometer run. Hailey Poe of North Central College (Ill.) had the winning time of 1:06.16 among the 42 athletes who finished the race.
Central’s top finisher was Lindsey Blommers (junior, Pella) who was 12th in 1:15.36. Blommers had the 11th best split in the bike, clocking a time of 36:10.
“The whole team surprised me on the bikes,” Hedrick-Rozenberg said. “Lindsey picked up a ton of ground on the bike and was able to draft with a couple of athletes from trine.”
Newcomer Summer Brand (sophomore, Mount Vernon) was 29th in 1:22.12.
Jessica Carithers (junior, Mackinaw, Ill, Deer Creek Mackinaw HS) was 39th (1:29.20) and Chloe Andersen (freshman, Audubon) was 41st (1:32.57). Carithers and Andersen worked together to stay ahead of the pace motorcycle that would have knocked them out of the race if it had passed them.
“Jessica is highly competitive,” Hedrick-Rozenberg said. “She knew she had to stay in front of the lap motorcycle. She caught up to Chloe and made sure they stayed together so they could stay in front of it.”
The experience has the team better prepared for it’s next USA Triathlon sanctioned collegiate race on Oct. 30 in St. George, Utah.
“We learned a lot this weekend,” Hedrick-Rozenberg said. “We learned a lot about transitions and how a draft-legal race works on the bike.”
Central will compete at the CyMan Triathlon on Sunday, Sept. 19 in Bondurant.