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Talented Field on Tap for USA Triathlon Collegiate Nationals


Individual and team national titles are on the line for top collegiate triathletes from across the U.S. at this weekend's 2013 USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships in Tempe, Ariz.

The action begins Friday at Tempe Beach Park and Tempe Town Lake with more than 100 rising multisport stars at the USA Triathlon Draft-Legal Collegiate Championships. New to the program this year, the 750-meter swim, 20-kilometer bike, 5-kilometer run sprint-distance event features top athletes who qualified to compete. The men's race begins at 9 a.m. PDT, and the women will race at 11 a.m.

On Saturday, more than 1,000 collegiate triathletes will take part in the Olympic-distance championship event, which features a 1,500m swim, 40k bike and 10k run. The men's race will start at 7:30 a.m. PDT, followed by the women at 11 a.m.

In its second year, the Mixed-Team Relay is slated to begin at 4 p.m. Each four-person team must consist of two females and two males who will complete a super-sprint triathlon before tagging their teammate. All athletes will complete a 250-meter swim, 5k bike and 1.2k run.

For the first time, the Olympic-distance race will be streamed live online for free at www.usatriathlon.org. Coverage begins Saturday, April 13, 2013 at 10 a.m. EDT (7 a.m. locally in Tempe), and multisport fans are encouraged to follow the action on the live stream as well as USA Triathlon's live blog through the Olympic-distance national championship event. A live blog will also be available during Friday's draft-level event, beginning at 9 a.m. PDT.

The University of Colorado enters 2013 Collegiate Nationals as the three-time defending overall team champion. The Buffs also captured the men's and women's team titles a year ago in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

Seven individuals who finished in the combined men's and women's top 10 in 2012 are on the start list. Arizona's Ben Kanute, who finished third last year, is the top returning competitor on the men's side. Other returning athletes are Chris Braden of Colorado (sixth), Iowa's Alex Libin (ninth) and Penn State's Jason West (10th).

Representing Cal, Christine Jackson (Farson) finished fourth in 2012 and is the top returning women's finisher. U.S. Air Force Academy's Samantha Morrison and Cal's Erika Erickson placed fifth and sixth a year ago, respectively.

A number of athletes, including Erickson, Jackson, Kanute, Libin and Morrison, are slated to compete in the draft-legal race in addition to the Olympic-distance championship event.

Nearly 40 teams are on the start list for the Mixed-Team Relay, including last year's relay champions from Cal - Erickson, Nicholas Halkowski, Jackson and Yoni Doron-Peters.

The USA Triathlon Collegiate National Championships have been a springboard to success for some of the nation's top up-and-coming triathletes in recent years, including current elite athletes Kaitlin (Shiver) Donner, Caitlin Snow, Barrett Brandon, Kevin Collington, Ben Hoffman, Nicole Kelleher and Steven Sexton, all of whom captured individual collegiate titles.

Visit usatriathlon.org for more information on Collegiate Nationals and a complete schedule of events.

After the Collegiate National Championships concludes with a Saturday evening awards ceremony at Tempe Marketplace, the triathlon action continues Sunday with the LeadmanTri Marquee, which features a 125-kilometer course beginning with a 2.5k swim in Tempe Town Lake, a flat and fast 109.5k urban bike course and a scenic 13k trail run through Papago Park.

Source: USA Triathlon