VERMILLION, S.D.—University of South Dakota President James W. Abbott and Athletic Director David Herbster are pleased to announce the addition of women’s triathlon as the 18th varsity sport at South Dakota for the 2018-19 academic year.
USD athletics recently received the Emerging Sport Grant through USA Triathlon. The three-year grant provides funding for NCAA Division I, II and III institutions to develop, implement, grow and sustain women’s triathlon programs.
“I am excited to accept the USA Triathlon grant to establish a women’s triathlon team as an Emerging Sport at the NCAA Division I level,” said Herbster. “This is a unique opportunity to join in pioneering a sport in the NCAA as well as creating new opportunities for female student-athletes.”
“We are pleased to add this exciting competition to our roster of Division I athletics,” said Abbott. “We look forward to seeing Coyote women compete in this unique test of strength and endurance.”
The NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics is charged with identifying and managing progress of Emerging Sports for Women. The Emerging Sports for Women program was created in 1994 to grow meaningful intercollegiate participation opportunities for female student-athletes in sports that have the most potential to reach NCAA championship status. Women’s triathlon was approved by the NCAA as an Emerging Sport in January of 2014.
Women’s triathlon competes in the fall season with four to six competitions per year. Women’s triathlon is a draft-legal sprint race consisting of a 750-meter swim, 20,000-meter bike ride and 5,000-meter run. South Dakota will provide three scholarships for the 2018 season with a plan to increase scholarships as participation in women’s triathlon at USD increases.
“We believe women’s triathlon is a great fit with our athletic mission to produce lifelong athletes and productive citizens,” said USD senior woman administrator Jamie Oyen. “The rapid growth in the sport of triathlon along with the NCAA Emerging Sport status made the sport itself a good fit. The interest in triathlon in our state as well as the facilities we already have in place make women’s triathlon a great addition and complement to our 17 current intercollegiate sports. We believe that the new women’s triathlon student-athletes will set a high standard academically and athletically and contribute to our campus in a variety of ways.”
South Dakota is the 20th school in the nation to offer women’s triathlon at the varsity level, marking the halfway point triathlon’s journey to becoming a full-fledged NCAA Championship sport. South Dakota would become the third Division I institution to offer triathlon, joining Arizona State and East Tennessee State.
“We are ahead of schedule as the sport reaches the halfway point to a full-fledged NCAA status, and I am highly confident in the future of women’s triathlon as a permanent varsity sport at universities nationwide,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “We are proud to welcome the University of South Dakota as the 20th school in the nation to offer varsity women’s triathlon and we look forward to the Coyotes’ contribution both on and off the race course as Division I student-athletes.”
For the most up-to-date information regarding triathlon at the University of South Dakota, please visit GoYotes.com.
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