The UCSB Triathlon club team competed in the National Triathlon Championship last weekend at Memphis, Tennessee, and turned a hop, skip and a jump into an eighth place finish at the prestigious event.
The Gauchos swam, biked and ran their way to a sizzling finish in the muggy Music City, where temperatures soared during the race to 92 degrees on April 20.
“The run was the most difficult part of the triathlon,” junior Bret Cohune said. “The heat was really bad and at 92 degrees it was really humid. There was dense forest air and sitting hot air. Everyone agreed that the run was the hardest part. It was so, so hot and no one was used to it.”
The extreme humidity resulted in UCSB team member Mike Sevier passing out and spraining his ankle during the run. Sevier subsequently fell into a ditch, according to graduate student Brian Scott, where an ambulance picked him up.
Scott claimed the highest finish on the UCSB men’s team with 23rd place overall.
“It was a decent race and I would have finished second on the team if Mike didn’t fall down,” Scott said. “The run wasn’t the best run I’ve had; I had a little bit of cramping. But it was pretty normal race and it was a nice course.”
Nationals are normally held at the Wild Flower course in Lake San Antonio, Calif. This year at Memphis’ course, the University of Colorado snagged first place overall and the collegiate title.
“Wild Flower is definitely a slower course; there’s a couple of challenging hills,” Cohune said.
Cohune, a Santa Barbara City College student-transfer from Colorado, still competes with the UCSB triathlon squad while completing much of his training on his own time. As a senior next season, Cohune will be able to train with the team.
“The course in Memphis was faster,” he said. “At Wild Flower, the top finishers complete the race in two hours. The guy at Memphis won in one hour and 54 minutes.”
Jessica Gillett finished fourth overall for the UCSB women’s team and junior Morgan Miles chugged in at 29th place. Cher Seruto and Meghan Kerner finished 43rd and 55th, respectively. Kevin Bowe rolled in at 55th.
“The team morale was great,” Miles said. “The trip to Memphis brought the team together more because of the time we spent together.”