(Editor's note: MSUB Athletics release)
TEMPE, Ariz. – For the second time all season, all four Montana State University Billings women’s triathlon members completed the course on the sport’s biggest stage: the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships, held at the Tempe Town Lake in Arizona this Saturday.
Madisan Chavez, the lone MSUB athlete in the DII National Championships race, finished with a 1:20:27, good for 46th in the DII Draft-Legal Race.
“Madisan was just a bit too far back coming out of the water to take advantage of any drafting,” Bjerke said. “She sustained an alright solo bike effort though and gobbled some girls up from a solid run.”
Ally Whitmer was the top finisher for MSUB in the open race, placing 10th out of 14 people in the 20-24 year-old age group with a 1:23:05. Bjerke said Whitmer improved across the board in her second-career finish. She also went sub-22 minutes in the 5K with a 21:27, which was one of her goals going into the race.
“Ally put together a really good race,” Bjerke said. “Her swim improved a good amount from the Utah race two weeks ago and she ran very well. With more training on the bike and swim she has a lot of potential to get even faster.”
Whitmer was followed by Izzy Siegle’s 1:26:04 finish, then Kylee Halpin, who finished with a 1:31:55.
“Izzy had a solid day,” Bjerke said. “She, too, has a lot of room for improvement on the bike, but today was a great experience builder for her. Today was her first real swim since getting stitches from a mishap last race, so she wasn't quite as spunky in the water. Considering the 11 stitches in her foot she did quite well.”
“Kylee had a good swim for her, but sadly relinquished that momentum with a light crash right at the start of the bike,” Bjerke added. “I was happy to see her make good improvements in her last two swims in particular and gut out the rest of the race after getting a bit cut up.”
Wingate University freshman Finja Schierl won the DII title with a 1:06:16. Queens University of Charlotte won its sixth-straight DII team title.
All four triathletes turn their focus towards the indoor track season, which starts later this winter. Full indoor and outdoor track schedules are forthcoming.