Triathlon team exceeded expectations at first race of season

By Spencer Jacobson, Staff Writer

Fall semester is underway, and the triathlon team is off to a successful start with multiple triathletes placing at their first triathlon of the season.

Two weeks ago, the Jets traveled to Minnesota to compete at the Maple Grove Triathlon, and coaches and athletes said they were pleased with the outcome.

There were a total of 301 competitors in the race.

For the men, Wyatt Mattas placed ninth overall, Mac Foley placed 28th overall, Koki Takemoto finished 133rd overall, Andrew Nguyen placed 145th overall, Steven Nguyen placed 216th overall, and Matthew Nguyen placed 280th overall.

For the women, Marlie Wagner placed 119th overall, Taylor Stevens placed 221st overall, and Amanda Lee placed 252nd overall.

Jeff Lovgren, head triathlon coach, said that despite only having three weeks to prepare for this first triathlon, the team did great.

“Not only did they meet my expectations, they outdid them,” he said.

To prepare for the next triathlon, Lovgren said, the team is focused on two things: transitions and pacing.

“In our sport, it is important to tie all three sports together and not treat them like individuals. We are not swimmers, cyclists, and runners, we are triathletes,” Lovgren said.

Matthew Nguyen, a first-time men’s triathlete, said that the first triathlon was a challenge that he was happy he could overcome, but that he will remain focused on preparing his mindset for upcoming races.

“The hardest part about Minnesota was the mental aspect of the race. There was so many times when I thought that I could not complete the swim or I was in so much pain that I couldn't finish the run. What helped me push on was all the support I received from my team and strangers too,” Nguyen said.

Like Lovgren and Nguyen, Marlie Wagner, a women’s triathlete, said she was also proud of her personal performance as well as the team’s performance at the Maple Grove Triathlon.

“As a team, we worked to push each other during the race and helped one another overcome challenges and mental blocks. Individually, I am extremely happy with my performance because I managed to improve my times in each of the three aspects of the race,” she said.

Wagner said that the team is hoping to “qualify for Nationals, to compete in the rest of the available competitions, and continue to improve in each sport.”

Going into the rest of the season, Lovgren said, the team’s main goal is to make its motto, “Make them remember the name,” a reality.

“Being the only D2 school in our conference with every other school being D1, we are definitely the underdogs. It is important that we make our mark in a way we can be proud of,” Lovgren said. “Our goal for this season is to outwork the other teams and race with dignity and respect.”

The Jets compete Sept. 22 at the CyMan Triathlon in Ames, Iowa.

PHOTO: Courtesy Photo. Newman Athletics