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Meet the newest addition to Willamette Sports: The Women's Triathlon Team

Dylan Hall

Contributing Writer

Ella Isaacson '25 racing on her bike during the Pleasant Prairie National Qualifier, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin on Sept 4. Photos courtesy of Willamette Athletics Photo Gallery.

This year Willamette has established a Women’s Triathlon Team, a sport that is new to the west coast. Currently, Willamette is the only school in the Northwest conference (NWC) with a women's triathlon team and is one of the three total teams located on the west coast. The team, coached by Brett Franz, is determined to not only get the sport off the ground, but to compete. “The team goals for the first season are to gain experience and continue to improve in all 3 disciplines of the Triathlon. Another big goal for the team is to grow the program and the sport at Willamette with new recruits as well as looking at current students who might be interested in becoming Triathletes.”

Alicia Robbins (‘25) is excited about the vision of the program and the opportunity to compete with her teammates. “Because it's more of an expensive sport, it's really cool to have [the sport] and grow it at the collegiate level.” She was originally recruited to join the swim team; however, when hearing about the new sport, she decided to do both.

Veronica Castille '25 coming out of the water during the Pleasant Prairie National Qualifier, Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin on Sept 4. Photos courtesy of Willamette Athletics Photo Gallery.

Robbins believes having the sport is “really good for Willamette.” The sport gives Women more opportunity to compete and it's “really nice to have a female oriented sport and be able to build that up.”

Despite their small size and this fall being their inaugural season, the team is already seeing success. On September 4th, the team competed in their first meet located in Pleasant Prairie, Wisconsin. The team was unable to compete in team score due to their small size, however all members of the team completed the event. Ella Isaacson (‘25) placed 13th, Veronica Castille (‘25) placed 36th and Alicia Robbins (‘25) placed 42nd out of 42 finishers.

At the Virginia East Regional Qualifier on October 16th, the team continued to show improvement. Out of 57 total contestants, Ella Isaacson (‘25) placed 17th with a total time of 1:18:17. Veronica Castille (‘25) placed 36th with a total time of 1:25:17. These scores are impressive due to there being 57 total participants from 11 different colleges.

Following the Virginia East Regional Qualifier, the team traveled to Hurricane, Utah to compete in the Utah Regional Qualifier on October 30th. In this competition, many schools across all divisions of the NCAA (D1, D2 and D3) were in attendance. At the Qualifier there were a total of 52 racers from 15 total schools, including top D1 schools such as University of Southern Florida and Arizona State University. Ella Isaacson (‘25) continued to lead Willamette as she placed 48th, followed by her teammate Veronica Castille (‘25) who placed 50th.

Alicia Robbins was very clear when she laid out the team goals at the start of the year. “Our main goals are to represent the school and compete as well as we can, but also just get the sport out there.” The Willamette Triathlon team accomplished just that over the course of the season as they worked extremely hard to further the program within the sport and positively represent Willamette. The team has a small roster this season but hopes to expand for next year. “We would like our team to grow to be bigger than three people so hopefully next year we will have 5 to 6 people altogether.”

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