Wingate adding women’s triathlon as 23rd intercollegiate sport

by Hugh Patton

Wingate University is adding women’s triathlon as the school’s 23rd intercollegiate sport beginning in the fall of 2021. A national search for a head coach is underway.

“Providing an additional competitive opportunity for women has been a part of our strategic plan and we believe the time is right to launch this growing sport,” says Steve Poston, vice president and director of athletics. “Women's triathlon is currently classified as an emerging sport by the NCAA. I am confident that it will soon be added to the NCAA championship format.”

The launch of women’s triathlon is made possible through a Women’s Emerging Sport Grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation. The grants are distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women's triathlon programs at the varsity level.

“USA Triathlon is proud to welcome Wingate University to the women’s NCAA triathlon family — especially at a time when colleges and universities nationwide are facing unique and significant challenges,” said Rocky Harris, USA Triathlon CEO. “We commend the university and athletic leadership for maintaining their commitment to adding competitive opportunities for women at the varsity level, and we look forward to seeing the inaugural team on the racecourse next fall.”

Triathlon was approved in January 2014 as the latest NCAA Emerging Sport for Women for NCAA Division I, II and III institutions. Women's triathlon is a fall sport, and the varsity season includes three regional qualifiers followed by the Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championships. Races are sprint distance, featuring an open-water 750-meter swim, draft-legal 20-kilometer cycling and a 5-kilometer run.  

Based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, USA Triathlon is the national governing body for the multisport disciplines of triathlon, duathlon, aquathlon and winter triathlon in the United States. It is a member federation of the U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Committee and the International Triathlon Union. 

Wingate will become the 14th NCAA Division II school to have triathlon. The Bulldogs join fellow SAC schools Queens and Lenoir-Rhyne, along with Conference Carolinas schools Belmont Abbey, King and Southern Wesleyan. There are eight NCAA Division I schools with varsity collegiate women’s triathlon and 14 NCAA Division II programs.

“We will spend this year finding the right coach to lead us,” Poston says. “We look forward to the arrival of our first triathletes in the fall of 2021. We can’t wait to get started! 

Women’s Triathlon gives Wingate University 23 sports. This is the first new sport at the university since 2014, when the Bulldogs added women’s lacrosse. Men’s and Women’s Track and Field were added in 2013.

To learn more about Wingate Athletics, visit wingatebulldogs.com.

June 8, 2020