USD’s 18th sport – women’s triathlon – will make its debut next year.
David Herbster, USD’s athletic director, said in an email the new sport was decided in July 2017.
“We started planning during the summer to develop a new permanent addition to our sport offerings,” he said.
To have a new sport added to the Coyote athletics roster, a proposal and presentation has to be sent to President James Abbott. After that, the budget, participation opportunities, facilities, support staff and national trends have to be evaluated.
Herbster said the sport was decided to be women’s because it’s “an emerging sport for women with the NCAA.”
“USD athletics needs to add more opportunities for women so our athletic participation percentage for women stays in line with our on-campus enrollment,” he said. “After speaking with USA Triathlon, we learned that triathlon is a growing sport in our region and the state of South Dakota with many competitors of all ages competing in USAT events from our area.”
Herbster said he hopes to have at least eight members on the team the first year, and then increase to 15 after a few years.
“We will recruit regionally and nationally to bring the best student-athletes to USD to earn a degree and compete in women’s triathlon,” Herbster said.
The goal is to have a head coach, along with volunteer coaches to help with the three disciplines, before recruitment begins.
Herbster said he hopes the new sport will gain more attraction to USD athletics.
“(I’m excited for) opportunities for new student-athletes to experience USD as well as USD and our community of Vermillion getting the opportunity to support a new emerging sport,” he said.