Kingsport, Tenn. – Freshman Elizabeth Moore continued an outstanding start to her collegiate career, winning her third straight race in as many tries on Sunday morning at the NCAA Central Regional Qualifier at the Watauga Dam.
For the third straight week, Moore broke away from the pack for a first-place finish, winning over a field of 43 racers in 38 minutes and 32 seconds, 40 seconds ahead of the second-place finisher.
Sunday's race presented the fiercest competition yet for the Pioneers, who raced against a field of nine other teams from all three divisions of NCAA women's triathlon; as an emerging sport still in its formative years, many college triathlon races include teams from the three NCAA divisions.
The host East Tennessee State University Bucs were the lone Division I school at the event, while defending national champion Arizona State University was unable to attend due to weather after previously being scheduled to compete. Sunday's field also included Concordia University (Wisc.), Daemen College (N.Y.), Drury University, Millikin University, Milwaukee School of Engineering, North Central College, Trine University, and Queens University, the defending Division II National Champions.
Senior Shelbi Poehlein recorded a 22nd-place finish with a time of 51:22. Sophomore Rachel Gordon made her debut after missing the start of the season with a concussion, and recorded a 30th place finish in her first ever collegiate triathlon race in a time of 56:44.
Combining the three individual Transylvania finishers, the Pioneers took second place as a team among participating Division III schools, securing an automatic qualifier to November's national championship in Tempe, Arizona. North Central College took first in the Division III category.
Due to wet conditions and a slightly delayed starting time, the sprint triathlon format was chiseled down to a 350 meter swim, a 10K bike race, and 2.5 K run. The constantly sloped terrain in the Kingsport location offered a challenging layout for all competitors and was a setting in which the three Pioneers thrived.
Out of the first transition from swim to bike, Moore was in second place and tore away from ETSU's Lane McDonald during the bike portion of the race; McDonald would eventually finish in second. Moore posted the best bike split of any racer, completing the segment in 20:48.
Of Moore's three career first-place finishes, Sunday's race featured a virtuoso performance by the freshman as she placed ahead of multiple individuals from Queens University who factored into a Division II national championship last season, and six Division I athletes.
The season continues on Saturday, October 6 as the Pioneers head to Charlotte, North Carolina for the MLT Charlotte Super Sprint event.
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