Triathlon team runs to strong finish

Isabel Litzen

The Black Hills State University Triathlon team is at the peak of their fall season. The stakes are rising and practices are increasing in intensity.


The triathlon team this year includes senior Katie Christy; sophomores Emma Stone and Mathilde Bernard; and freshmen Taylor Lundquist, Kennedy Teeslink and Chelsea Basford. The team is advised by Head Coach Connie Feist, Assistant Coach Raquel Kopeck and bike mechanic Greg Midzak.


The most recent triathlon held in Sarasota, Fla. on Oct. 13 left the triathletes with high spirits and a positive attitude about future competitions. In the 15-19 age division, Bernard placed seventh place, Basford placed nineteenth and Lundquist placed twenty-fifth. Christy placed forty-third in the 20-24 age division.


As a result of an overabundance of algae and bacteria, and the presence of alligators in the lake, the swim portion was removed from the women’s race, changing it to a duathlon. Feist expressed how pleased she was with every athlete that competed and how impressed she was that they were able to succeed, despite the sudden change of race plans.


“Mathilde attacked the run portions of the race with the fastest splits in the field. Chelsea had her best race of the season even though she was unable to compete in the swim portion. Katie had bike mechanical issues and powered through on the last lap of the bike… Taylor was able to gain very valuable experience when cycling in the draft pack,” Feist said.


After participating in the same race last year, they knew ahead of time that the race might be changed to a duathlon and practiced accordingly.


“We practiced transitions that were run-bike-run. We came into the race wanting to do draft practice and we all benefited from that in the race,” Bernard said.


With their Florida meet completed and out of the way, the triathletes are now focusing on their final meet of the fall season, enduring multiple strenuous practices each day.


“We are in the final phase of peak training to get ready for nationals and I feel that we will be well prepared for the competition. The athletes are a little tired at this point in the season, but we expect all their hard work to pay off at Nationals,” Feist said.


Athletes are indeed tired from the hard training, but their spirits remain high on the team.


“I think since we’re still ramping up here, all the hard work we’re putting in will definitely show in the results, so I’m really excited,” Lundquist said.


Stone and Teeslink will be competing in Hurricane, Utah on Oct. 27. The remaining athletes will compete in the NCAA National Championships in Tempe, Ariz. on Nov. 4.