Maverick Triathletes Set For East Regional

CMU Athletics

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.— After more than a month since their last official triathlon competition and three weeks since their last running-only competition, the Colorado Mesa University women’s triathlon team will head into the meet of their season, competing at Saturday’s USA Triathlon and Women’s College Triathlon Association Smith Mountain Lake Regional Qualifier in Huddleston, Virginia.
Saturday’s race, part of the Kinetic Cup Sprint & Olympic Triathlon festival at Smith Mountain Lake State Park will begin at noon EDT (10 a.m. Mountain).  More than 100 entries from 18 Division I and II schools have been received and the results of Saturday’s race will help shape the field for the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships in Tempe, Arizona next month (Nov. 13).
The Mavericks will send the maximum allotted seven participants to compete in the draft legal race, contesting a 750-meter lake swim, 18.5-kilometer bike, and 5K run race on rolling hills in the area.
Results can be accessed at the link above and fans can sign up for notifications to track their favorite athlete(s) at View Personal Results.
Last Time Out – Part 1
The Mavericks last competed in triathlon back on Sept. 4 at the Southern Hills Triathlon in Hot Springs, South Dakota.    They had seven of the top eight collegiate finishers to post a dominant 14-31 win over regional rival Black Hills State in the collegiate team scoring.
Shannon Feran, competing in her first collegiate triathlon, was CMU’s top finisher, taking third overall and second amongst collegiate athletes.  She completed the race, which included a quarter-mile swim, 12-mike bike segment, and a 3.1-mile run in one hour, five minutes, and 48.8 seconds.
Maverick freshman Torin Lackmann finished in fourth overall and third amongst collegiate athletes in 1:06.16.  She was the women’s 13-19 age-group winner as well.  Another Maverick freshman in Paloma Suarez Davilla (1:06.16.9) was second in that age group and part of the overall top five.
Natalie Mitchell, who finished sixth overall in 1:06.55.9 also earned an age-group bronze medal in the 20-29 division.
Last Time Out – Part 2
The Mavericks were scheduled to compete in the Desert’s Edge Triathlon closer to home on Sept. 18.  That event at Highline Lake State Park in Loma, Colorado was officially canceled in the days leading up to it, although the Mavericks still contested an intra-squad scrimmage, which helped Maverick head coach Kinsey Laine and her staff set the lineup for this week. Feran was again CMU’s top finisher.
Last Time Out – Part 3
A week later, on Sept. 25, the Mavericks competed in the Gig Leadbetter Maverick Stampede cross country meet that CMU hosted at Lincoln Park.
Eleven Maverick triathletes competed in the 5-kilometer run alongside full cross country teams from CMU, Westminster, a partial squad from Western Colorado, and additional unattached runners.  The triathlon team finished third in the team scoring with 57 points as Feran, a former member of the CMU Track & Field team, led the way with a ninth-place overall finish.  She finished in 19:55.4 as the No. 7 team-scoring runner.  Suarez Davilla was 18th overall in 20:42.03 and also amongst the top half of the overall 38-runner field.
The Lineup
As mentioned above, the Mavericks are limited to seven entries in this Saturday’s event.  Laine’s lineup includes Megan Buchanan, Hannah Croasdell, Shannon Feran, Natalie Mitchell, Emma Polenske, Paloma Suarez Davila, and Abigail White.  Four of those seven finished in the top eight overall at the Southern Hills Triathlon while Buchanan (11th), Polenske (12th), and Croasdell (15th) were just outside that group.
Back to Virginia
The Mavericks will be making their second trip to Virginia, after last competing in the 2019 East Regional Qualifier on Oct. 19 of that year in Huddleston.  The Mavericks finished third out of eight Division II teams on that day as former Maverick Mazzy Jackson finished third amongst Division II athletes and sixth overall on the similar Smith Mountain Lake course with a time of 1:02.24.
Veteran Maverick Hannah Croasdell was CMU’s No. 2 finisher on that day, taking 13th place in 1:07.33.  She will hope to share that experience with her current teammates on Saturday.  Abigail White was also amongst the leaders after the bike portion of the 2019 race but dropped out as she was recovering from an injury at the time.
The Mavericks tallied a 3-person team score of 30 points in 2019.
The Mavs then went on to finish fourth at the 2019 national championships.
Regional qualifiers nor the national championships were not contested in 2020 due to COVID ramifications.
A Look At The Competition
A total of 102 triathletes from 18 different institutions have been entered into the Division I/II portion of Saturday’s event.  A Division III race will also be held later in the day.
Although the Mavericks will be racing against Division I athletes, their comparative finish times to other Division II athletes will be of the utmost importance in the new national qualifying process, which will be attempted to be explained below.  Teams were limited to seven entries and the Mavs are just one of eight teams slated to fill that allotment.
Team scores will be calculated in cross-country style (low score wins) for each Division, separately.
The top four individuals for Division II will be counted in the team scoring with the other possible three displacing lesser finishers.  In Division I, team scores are based on a team’s top five finishers.
Here is a look at the other teams expected to compete:
Division II (12)
American International
Black Hills State
Colorado Mesa
Davis & Elkins
Emmanuel (Ga.)
Queens (N.C.)
St. Thomas Aquinas
Division I (6)
Delaware State
East Tennessee State
South Dakota
In 2019, Queens won the Division II national title, the Royals’ fifth straight, ahead of Davis & Elkins and Black Hills State.
National Qualifying
The qualification process for next month’s national championships has been changed for 2021 and at first glance, can be a little complicated.  For a complete breakdown, please see the qualification document or a video explanation from University of South Dakota coach Kyle Joplin.
In summary, eight teams from each NCAA division will qualify full 7-woman teams for the national meet.  Additionally, the top 20 individual athletes after athletes from the qualified teams have been removed will be offered individual spots. 
Saturday’s race is one of three regional qualifying events that will be used to determine the end of the season rankings.   The first was held on Sept. 4 in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin.  The Mavs did not compete in that Central Region meet, but will also contest the St. George, Utah West Region Qualifier on Oct. 30, making CMU’s next two races critically important.
At each regional qualifying race, the top three finish times will be averaged and will form the base score of 100 percent for that event.  Each individual athlete will then receive a proportionate percentage score based on their finishing time and compared to the base score.
If a particular athlete competes in multiple regional qualifiers, their best score will be what is used to create the individual end-of-season rankings, kept separately for each division.  Team qualification for nationals will then be based on adding the individual scores for the top four athletes (Division II & III) and top five athletes (Division I).
Arizona State’s Hannah Henry (1:00:15), Kyla Roy (1:00:20), and Liberty Ricca (1:01.16) formed the top-3 average time of 1:00.37 at the Pleasant Prairie regional and have helped give the Sun Devils the early Division I qualification lead with 495.3915 points.  They are ahead of San Francisco (475.4772) and East Tennessee State (449.9048)
Lenoir-Rhyne (364.498) and Drury (348.4942) were the only Division II teams to have full 4-person team scores after the Wisconsin meet.
The current individual standings can be seen here.
Up Next
The Mavs will next be in action at the West Regional Qualifier in St. George, Utah on Oct. 30.

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