For the first time in school history, UTSA Triathlon is ranked #1 in the South Midwest (SMW) Region. The region includes four states--Louisiana, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Texas--and all of the schools within them, such as Texas A&M, Baylor, and UT Austin. Coach Mark Saroni started leading the UTSA Tri-Club in the spring of 2013 shortly after the club was founded, when only five members were on the team. Now, over 45 athletes are racing as part of the UTSA Tri-Club. For most of them, triathlon was a new and challenging sport. Coach Mark is pleased with their perseverance: "It's been a privilege to work alongside these collegiate athletes for the last three years. Most of the people on our team were not triathletes three years ago. This number one ranking is a testament to the hard work and dedication they've shown to balance school with triathlon."
Isabella "Issy" Beltri is the first UTSA Tri-Club member to race on the team all four years of her collegiate career. She was new to triathlon when she joined, and she has served as Tri-Club President for the past two years. Like Coach Mark, Issy loves seeing the club grow: "Never would I have imagine the team would get to where we are now! We've grown so much these last four years, and now that we are the number one team in the region, there's no stopping what the future has in store. Both of our [men's and women's] teams are getting stronger and stronger every year thanks to Coach Mark."
The SMW Region has five events in its season: Tri Aggieland in July, Disco Tri in September, the Texas Tough Duathlon (half points) in November, Mean Green in March, and Bevoman (Regionals) in April. For each event, every team member receives a score based on their placement in the race. First place earns 50 points, second place 49 points, and on down. Individual scores are used to calculate the men's and women's team placements separately. At Disco Tri, for instance, the UTSA men earned 159 points and the women earned 179. This moved UTSA up to first place as a combined team for the regional rankings.
There are three races left in the region before the team will travel to Tuscaloosa, AL for the national competition. Coach Mark is pleased with the results so far but knows the team will have to stay dedicated in the months to come: "It's incredibly motivating for me as a coach to see them having success, and it inspires me to keep working hard and helping them achieve their goals. We have a lot of work to do before Collegiate Nationals in April, but this is a step in the right direction."
2. University of Arkansas
3. Texas A&M
4. University of North Texas (UNT)
5. Oklahoma State University
6. UT Austin
7. Texas Tech
8. Texas State University
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