Lenoir-Rhyne University will add four sports to its roster in the 2020-21 academic year. Women's triathlon will begin in the fall as a varsity sport, while men's triathlon, and men's and women's weightlifting will launch as club sports.
LR currently offers 22 varsity sports —11 men's sports and 11 women's featuring more than 575 student-athletes — and no club sports. The addition of competitive club sports is a major initiative for the Athletic Department.
"We have been exploring sport expansion at Lenoir-Rhyne," said Vice President of Athletics Kim Pate. "These sports have been chosen strategically to help us continue our strong athletics tradition."
The introduction of women's triathlon as LR's 23rd varsity sport was made possible through a grant from the USA Triathlon Foundation's Women's Emerging Sport Grant. This grant is distributed to select NCAA member institutions to develop, implement and sustain women's triathlon programs at the NCAA varsity level.
"Women's triathlon is an increasingly popular college sport, and we are excited to add it in the fall," said Pate. "I want to thank USA Triathlon for its support in bringing women's triathlon to LR."
LR is the 32nd NCAA program to offer women's varsity triathlon, becoming the 13th institution at the NCAA Division II level and the fourth in North Carolina. The Bears will compete in Regional Qualifier races during the regular season with the possibility of qualifying the team and individuals for National Championship level competitions.
LR is the 37th university level team to offer weightlifting. The teams will compete in USAW-sanctioned events and allow athletes to qualify for the USAW University National Championships, as well as additional championship events.
"Club triathlon and weightlifting are great fits within the framework and structure of our athletics family," said Pate. "The student-athletes who participate in these club programs will succeed at a high level both academically and athletically by being a part of the Bears athletics program. We hope to finalize coaching hires by January 2020."
More information on these sports can be found below:
- Triathlon as an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women: usatriathlon.org/ncaa.
- USA Weightlifting University Resources: teamusa.org/USA-Weightlifting/Resources/Start-Up-Guides
About USA Triathlon
USA Triathlon is proud to serve as the National Governing Body for triathlon, as well as duathlon, aquathlon, aquabike, winter triathlon, off-road triathlon and paratriathlon in the United States. Founded in 1982, USA Triathlon sanctions more than 4,300 events and connects with more than 400,000 members each year, making it the largest multi-sport organization in the world. In addition to its work at the grassroots level with athletes, coaches, and race directors — as well as the USA Triathlon Foundation — USA Triathlon provides leadership and support to elite athletes competing at international events, including International Triathlon Union (ITU) World Championships, Pan American Games and the Olympic and Paralympic Games. USA Triathlon is a proud member of the ITU and the United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).
About USA Weightlifting
USA Weightlifting, is the national governing body overseeing the sport of weightlifting in the United States. USAW is a member of the United States Olympic Committee (USOC), responsible for conducting weightlifting programs throughout the country, and a member of the International Weightlifting Federation (IWF). Top competitors are selected by USAW to compete in major international events such as the Olympic Games, World Championships, World Junior Championships, Pan American Championships and Pan American Games. USAW authorizes five National Championships in all age groups, giving athletes a chance to evaluate their competition nationwide. Top competitors are selected from the various National Championships to compete in major international events.