Yet some of English’s most impressive work has come in the desert as head coach of the women’s triathlon team at Arizona State University (ASU), which is looking to win its seventh consecutive title on Nov. 11 at the Women’s Collegiate Triathlon National Championships in Tempe. The Sun Devils’ success is not only affirming them as one of the top college triathlon programs in the country, but also playing a key role in the effort for women’s triathlon to be granted championship sport designation by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
“We’ve definitely put an investment in time, energy and money to do so,” English said. “That’s something I’m very proud of.”
In 2014, athletic directors at the NCAA Convention voted for triathlon to be designated with emerging sport status on all three Division levels. The sport – a part of the NCAA’s Emerging Sports for Women Program – averaged a 94.5% favorable vote for all three divisions, which Tim Yount, the Chief Sport Development Officer at USA Triathlon, called “nearly unprecedented.”
For triathlon to move to championship sport status, 40 programs needed to sponsor it at the varsity level within 10 years of the sport earning emerging sport status. Triathlon ended up reaching the 40 school threshold ahead of schedule in Feb. 2022 and currently has programs at 42 institutions. Its three Power Five squads – Arizona, Arizona State and Texas Christian University (TCU) – will all be members of the Big 12 Conference starting in 2024, the 10-year anniversary of triathlon getting emerging sport status.
Reaching championship status still involves multiple stages, including a review by the Committee on Women’s Athletics. Yet Yount is very optimistic about the sport’s future and cognizant of the role ASU – the first Power Five university to add women’s triathlon – has played in its growth.
“When ASU stepped up and said, ‘We are going to be a player in this sport,’ they were thinking, ‘Not only are we going to build the best Division I program in the nation with six national titles, but we’re also going to give back to the sport and make certain that it stays on that trajectory towards championship status,'” Yount said. “They did that when they stepped up to say, ‘We’re going to produce and support the production of this national championship… It is, for us, the biggest event of the NCAA calendar for triathlon. They have done an incredible job, they understand it, it’s a city that understands it. They’ve gotten behind it.”
Yount believes that Arizona State has established itself as “the marquee team at the Division I level” and its success in triathlon will bode well for the Sun Devils’ ranking in the Division I LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup Standings. Yount also commended the work of English, whose 12-person roster contains athletes from the United States, Canada, the Czech Republic, Mexico and South Africa.
A longtime member of USA Triathlon – the national governing body for the sport in the United States – Yount is also confident that Arizona and TCU will develop successful women’s triathlon programs. This fall marked the inaugural season for both the Horned Frogs and the Wildcats.
“To be involved in it and as a woman being able to lead young women, there’s nothing better,” TCU head coach Jenny Garrison said. “To be able to be a role model and help these young women figure out who they are through triathlon is honestly why I love doing what I do.”
Watching triathlon grow has been an “exciting” experience for Garrison, who believes that triathlon offers numerous academic and athletic benefits to both American and international athletes. Arizona assistant coach Jocelyn Bonney expressed a similar sentiment.
“The University of Arizona is extremely invested in their Olympic sports and they’re also extremely invested in having academically successful athletes,” said Bonney, who earned her undergraduate degree in nutritional sciences from ASU. “Those are two things we’re delivering on for the university right now.”
That sentiment can also be applied to ASU. During the 2022-23 academic year, the Sun Devils had 652 athletes compete across 26 sports, including women’s triathlon, men’s and women’s tennis and men’s and women’s swimming and diving.
“You look across the board with what Bob Bowman is doing with swim, (the success) of our wrestling program, tennis, golf, track and field, we really do very well in the (Olympic) sports and it’s very fun to be a part of it,” English said. “We’ve always felt very part of it. It’s not just football and basketball here. We have an environment that we’re really able to thrive (in) and keep working towards international goals as well.”
Over the past four years competing for the maroon-and-gold, senior has noticed women’s triathlon’s national championships getting increased media coverage. She also pointed out unity between different triathlon programs and their coaches, one of the reasons she believes the sport is finding success – and attention – on the college level.
“Triathlon’s been a really new sport,” Clausen said. “But ASU really does value us, just as much as any other sport.”
“They’re very dedicated,” added assistant coach , who competed for ASU’s triathlon team from 2017-2022. “They’re very committed. I think that’s pretty cool to see… all the girls working together… and encouraging each other. They are a very tight-knit team.”
Roy – who previously was a volunteer assistant for the team – was arguably one of the top triathletes of English’s tenure, helping the Sun Devils win four national titles and earning the individual national championship amid an undefeated 2019 season. Despite currently being on the staff instead of competing, she has “never felt more supported” by ASU.
According to Roy, that support relates to growth in multiple areas, including on the triathlon course and in the classroom. Ensuring the development of his triathletes is one of the key priorities for English, who has attended international events to support his ASU athletes. One of them – the 2023 World Triathlon Sprint & Relay Championships in Hamburg, Germany – occurred on July 13 and featured freshman , sophomore and sophomore .
“I’ve had these kind of dreams of, ‘Oh man, can you imagine one day we’re going to actually have three or four (triathletes) going to the World Cup together?'” English said. “I think we’re getting close. Right now, I’ve got goosebumps on my arms. It’s really exciting when you think about where we can take it, especially if you fundraise well and you can help them get to these races.”
Ahead of championship weekend, Arizona State has put together another strong campaign. The Sun Devils defeated Arizona in the Duel in the Desert event on Sept. 2, placed second out of six teams in the Battle in the Fort Triathlon on Sept. 17 and beat four other teams to take first place in the NCAA West National Qualifier on Oct. 14.
Following the qualifier, Clement, Dasso and sophomore earned spots on the 2023 College Triathlon Coaches Association (CTCA) Division All-West Region Team. Clement also notched a spot on the All-West Region Freshman Team after winning the individual title at the qualifier, which marked her first victory for ASU.
Ruff – who was a 2022 Junior National Champion with Team USA – is quick to complement English’s organizational skills and willingness to speak about “why we do what we do.” Meanwhile, Clausen called English – who has earned multiple (CTCA) Coach of the Year Awards – “incredibly gifted” in his role.
“The support from the university has also been very helpful,” Ruff said. “In the offseason, they fund two of our races, so it helps us travel there and with those coaches with us, it gives us some(one to) lean-on and really helps us through the whole process.”
While growing up in Canada, English shared that the current triathlon scholarships and opportunities for college athletes did not exist. As a result, the chance to help women participate in the sport and chase individual and team titles is a meaningful experience to him.
Overall, English believes that coming to Tempe was one of the best decisions in his coaching career. Many of his athletes feel the same about the choice to take their talents to the Grand Canyon State.
“We all have different experience levels, but we’re able to train and push each other,” Clausen said. “To me, that’s been so special, seeing all of us grow as athletes and grow as people. It’s just been such a special experience with this group.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Drew Schott is currently a graduate student in the Master of Sports Law and Business program at Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, as well as a Business Development Intern at USA Triathlon. He graduated from Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications in 2022. Drew has previously written for On3, The Arizona Republic and The Daily Northwestern among other publications.
The WEBFI algorithm actively curates and presents current news from the Internet, delivering it in both written and video formats on our platform. Unlike many other news sources, WEBFI Network - News Balance Security is committed to a user-friendly experience. We refrain from displaying advertising within our content, avoid any redirects to external sites, and meticulously filter out any graphic content deemed unsafe, sensitive, or private. Our primary goal is to provide visitors with a distraction-free and secure environment, ensuring they receive the news they seek.
Importantly, WEBFI Network does not collect any personal information from our visitors, and we do not engage in newsletter subscriptions. We take pride in remaining entirely advertiser-free, thanks to the support of our contributors and our dedicated hosting service partners. It's crucial to note that the opinions and content presented on our platform do not necessarily align with WEBFI NETWORK's opinion, philosophy, or vision. We strongly uphold the principle of freedom of speech, welcoming a diverse range of perspectives and ideas.
🌐 Discover News Balance 🇺🇲 - Your Round-the-Clock Source for Unbiased News!
Experience a continuous stream of comprehensive, unbiased news coverage 24/7/365 with News Balance 🇺🇲. Our carefully curated playlist ⏯ delivers a harmonious blend of national and global politics, cutting-edge tech updates, weather forecasts, noteworthy events, and captivating entertainment news.
The best part? No subscriptions, registrations, or downloads required. Enjoy an ad-free news experience with News Balance 🇺🇲.
"Introducing Unstoppable Private WebFi Websites – Your Forever Digital Haven.
Experience a lifetime of ownership with WebFi – where your digital presence is a lifelong investment. Embark on your journey to own a private website for life.
Our private servers set the gold standard in security and performance, ensuring your website stays in top form. With our lifetime license, the days of fretting about hosting renewals are behind you.
Unlock your very own WebFi space granting you a perpetual haven for your projects, free from the burden of recurring payments. Your sole financial commitment? Domain annuities to your domain provider – nothing more!
Choose WebFi and own your digital future, secure, simple, and everlasting."LEARN MORE