MBU adds women’s triathlon program for fall 2020
MBU becomes the 33rd institution and the 14th Division III school in the NCAA to add the program.
“The new sport adds to the growth of the department as it increases women’s opportunities, but also helps in the growth of the university,” said MBU Director of Athletics Tom Byrnes. “The region stands as a terrific spot for triathlon, and I look forward to seeing the program launch next year.”
Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women in 2014, a designation that gives USA Triathlon a 10-year window to demonstrate the sport’s sustainability at the level by recruiting at least 40 varsity programs. Other Emerging Sports include women’s rugby and equestrian.
Women’s collegiate triathlon features a 750-meter swim, a 20-kilometer bike ride and a 5K run. It is a fall sport and the varsity season includes three regional qualifiers followed by the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships.
“Mary Baldwin University makes a strong addition to the women’s collegiate triathlon community,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “The school prioritizes lifelong leadership and personal development in addition to strong academic and athletic programs, resulting in well-rounded student-athletes. We look forward to welcoming Mary Baldwin’s inaugural team to the race course in 2020.”
In coordination with the addition, Mary Baldwin will receive a three-year grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation to help start the program. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the varsity level.
MBU is the only university in the USA South to feature the sport, and will join Eastern Mennonite University, Guilford College and Transylvania University as the only regional DIII programs to add the program. In addition, Mary Baldwin joins Hampton University (Division I) and EMU as the only schools to support women’s varsity triathlon in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
Following the most recent addition of men’s basketball, women’s triathlon becomes the 16th intercollegiate athletic program at MBU. The program will serve as the ninth women’s sport sponsored by the Department of Athletics joining basketball, cross country, soccer, softball, tennis, indoor/outdoor track & field and volleyball.
To learn more about NCAA Emerging Sports for Women, click here.