Editor’s Note: This is a release from MSUB Sports Information.
BILLINGS, Mont. – After getting their feet wet in MSUB’s first ever triathlon competition on August 31, the Montana State University Billings women’s triathlon team is set to compete in the NCAA West Region Qualifier Sunday, September 15 at Belle Fourche Reservoir in South Dakota, hosted by Black Hills State University. The race will begin at 8:30 a.m. and will feature all-collegiate triathletes from various schools around the area including but not limited to Arizona State, University of South Dakota, and Black Hills State.
“Over the last few weeks, our athletes have gotten a lot more used to biking in biking shoes which clip into the pedals,” commented head coach Kevin Bjerke. “Having that is going to be a huge advantage for us because we can get more power out of the bike. We’ve also practiced drafting because this will be our first draft legal race. We may not look super experienced out there biking in a pack but we’re slowly getting better and better. This race will be a nice ice breaker to see how they handle it.”
With South Dakota and Arizona State in the field, the competition will be significantly different from the Southern Hills Triathlon less than one month ago. In Belle Fourche, the ‘Jackets will be up against experienced college triathletes whereas most of the athletes were members of the local community in Hot Springs.
“We are basically competing against the best there is in Division I with South Dakota and Arizona State this week,” said Bjerke. “Those two programs finished No. 1 and No. 2 at Nationals last season. It will be exciting to be in that field and see what we have.”
Triathlon participants will do a 750 meter swim, followed by a 20K bicycle, and a 5K run. The swim portion is a triangle loop course. The bicycle course is four laps on a three mile section of paved road and the run is two laps out and back to the finish.
The ‘Jackets have freshman Madisan Chavez (Crow Agency, Montana) and sophomore Maddy Terwilliger (Billings, Montana) on this year’s squad. Chavez took fifth place among college athletes in the Southern Hills Triathlon and Terwilliger was 12th.
“Both of them have pretty equal strengths in each of the three areas of triathlon,” Bjerke said. “We’re not exactly sure what to expect because it’s still so fresh to us like the first race. My goal is to have us just get in there and compete hard. They’ve never raced against a college field before and so with all those question marks, we just want to feel competitive and really push hard the entire time.”
Yellowjacket fans are encouraged to follow MSUB’s newest varsity sport on MSUBSports.com and on twitter @MSUBTriathlon.
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