Naperville, Ill. - Freshman Elizabeth Moore punctuated the Transylvania women's triathlon team's historic day by winning the season-opening D-III Invitational hosted by North Central College on Monday morning.
After launching a triathlon program in the summer of 2017 and working towards the inaugural fall 2018 season, the days of anticipation came to a head on Monday as Transylvania's newly-formed triathlon team competed in its first ever collegiate event. Representing Transylvania in Monday's program christening were Moore and senior Shelbi Poehlein.
Along with racers representing host school North Central, Trine, Milwaukee College of Engineering, Concordia, and Millikin, the Pioneers set out on the sprint distance format race, consisting of a 750 meter swim, a 20 kilometer bike race, and finally a 5 kilometer run.
Competing against a field of 30 racers, Moore was the first to cross the finish line in one hour, four minutes, and four seconds, besting the second-place finisher by over three minutes to signal her arrival to collegiate triathlon.
Poehlein, a former softball player for Transylvania, made the transition to her new sport seamlessly, finishing 15th out of 30 with a time of 1:19:03.9 in her collegiate triathlon debut.
Transylvania triathlon head coach Kevin Ryan was thrilled with his team's official race debut, both in performance and the experience of the day as a whole. "I knew coming in we had quite a bit of talent between Shelbi and Elizabeth and the race played out like we thought it would," said Ryan. "The conditions were nearly perfect, it was in the low '70s for temperature and it was a little bit overcast. I think going into the race, there was nerves all around just because of us not yet knowing where we stacked up against the other Division III schools but Elizabeth and Shelbi executed under pressure today."
Moore posted the fastest splits across the board in all three facets of the race, completing her swim in 8:51.9, the bike in 33:32.3, and the 5K run in 20:50.2.
"Elizabeth did a great job in her swim and getting clear of the scrum which can happen sometimes in the water," added Ryan. "We knew if she had a good race she would spend most of the race out in front, and she was steady on the bike as well and didn't make any big mistakes. Shelbi couldn't have performed any better than she did today; it's still a new experience for her and this was the first 5K race she ran of any kind today and she ran around the same equivalent time that she did in her 3K time trial we ran her through earlier this week."
The Transylvania triathlon team will follow up on one historic day with another in its following race as it welcomes Drury University from Springfield, Missouri and Davis & Elkins College of Elkins, West Virginia to Spindletop Hall on Saturday, September 8 for the program's first-ever home event, the Transy Duals.
"This race today was a big confidence-builder for our women and they're ready to get out there again this Saturday and put together a big showing as we continue our fitness and get closer to regionals," Ryan said.
The first race of its kind in college triathlon, the race will begin at 8:00 a.m. from the Spindletop Course in Georgetown, Kentucky.
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