Sparkill, N.Y - St. Thomas Aquinas College Athletic Director Gerald Oswald announced that the Spartans will add women’s collegiate triathlon as one of its newest NCAA sports. The NCAA Division II women’s triathlon team will begin competing in the fall of 2018.
The addition of women’s triathlon was made possible through a grant given by the USA Triathlon Foundation in the amount of $70,000. The USA Triathlon Foundation Women’s Emerging Sport Grant is distributed to select NCAA membership institutions to develop, implement and sustain women’s triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level.
USA Triathlon has led the efforts for the sport to surface for varsity intercollegiate competition. Triathlon was approved as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women at the NCAA Convention in January of 2014, giving the sport a 10-year window to establish 40 intercollegiate programs. At the time of the announcement to add a women's triathlon program, St. Thomas Aquinas became one of a handful of NCAA Division II schools to sponsor the sport, joining other grant recipients Black Hills State University, Daemen College, Drury University and University of West Alabama, among a few others.
“The addition of women’s triathlon is a great opportunity for St. Thomas Aquinas College,” commented Oswald. “We are excited to be the first University in the New York Metropolitan area to offer the sport. There are so many great local events throughout the tri state area and we look forward to being a part of the triathlon community.”
“USA Triathlon is proud to welcome St. Thomas Aquinas College as the newest varsity women’s triathlon program in the nation, and we look forward to seeing the Spartans on the race course in 2018,” said USA Triathlon CEO Rocky Harris. “The program will benefit from the outstanding leadership and support of the St. Thomas Aquinas Athletic Department, and I have no doubt the team will find success in its inaugural season.”
St. Thomas Aquinas graduate; George Erazo (STAC 2014) was named the head coach of the women’s triathlon team and alumna Gina Funaro (STAC 2015) will be the assistant coach. Erazo was a national competitor for the Spartan track & field team. As a senior, Erazo advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championship in 2014 for the 400m. Erazo is a member of the El Salvador National track & field team. Erazo was a participant on the “Next Olympic Hopeful” when he tried out for the 2020 Skeleton Olympic Team. Funaro is a regional admissions coordinator for the St. Thomas Aquinas College admissions department. She was a captain as well as a competitor for the women’s track & field team.
Recruiting and building the foundation of the program is already under way as the grant will be distributed over a three year process with $40,000 in 2017-18, $20,000 in 2018-19 and the final $10,000 in $2019-20.
The Spartans will begin competition in early September of 2018.
About STAC Athletics: The St. Thomas Aquinas Athletics Department sponsors 20 varsity sports with the addition of Women’s Triathlon in the 2018-19 academic year. St. Thomas Aquinas College is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association's Division II (NCAA DII) and competes in the East Coast Conference (ECC). For more information about STAC Athletics, visit stacathletics.com.
About St. Thomas Aquinas College: St. Thomas Aquinas College is an independent liberal arts college located on 60 acres in Rockland County, NY which provides education at the undergraduate and graduate levels. The College’s 2,800 full and part time students can choose from more than 100 different majors, minors, specializations, and dual degree programs across three Schools: Arts & Sciences, Business, and Education. The College is recognized by U.S. News & World Report in the Top-Tier for Regional Universities, by Colleges of Distinction in both its New York and Catholic editions, by Affordable Colleges Online as a top College in New York for Return on Investment, and is included as a Military Friendly School®. St. Thomas Aquinas College is accredited by the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools; its School of Education is accredited by National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE); and its School of Business is accredited by the International Assembly for Collegiate Business Education (IACBE).