Dons Report: Women’s triathlon

Gillian Cridge, top recruit for the women’s triathlon team, makes the transition from swimming to biking. COURTESY OF GINA KEHR

Katherine Na

Staff Writer

COVID-19 may have cut some seasons short, but the Dons will return in the fall — and alongside our returning athletes will be a class of new recruits. 

This week, the Foghorn will be reporting on the newest additions to the USF women’s triathlon team. 

After first being introduced as a club sport in fall 2018, USF’s women’s triathlon program is gearing up for its second year at the intercollegiate level, officially signing seven new athletes for the next academic year. Initially announced as signees in November 2019, these triathletes make up the team’s first-ever signing class. 

These new Dons hail from all over the country (and continent — one is from Canada) and are highly-decorated athletes. Among them are multiple national championship finalists, the highest U.S. finisher at a world championship, and a Nordic skier. 

Gina Kehr, the inaugural head coach of the women’s triathlon team, said in an email, “I looked for girls who wanted to be a trailblazer at USF by continuing to build a new varsity sport on campus. Each girl is very talented and brings their own strengths. We have a team of very seasoned ranked athletes as well as girls on the rise who want to train and race with the best.” 

Selecting these recruits to make up the triathlon team’s first signing class was “very exciting,” according to Kehr. She explained, “I feel very blessed to bring 7 new athletes to USF to help our two returning athletes from 2019. This will be our first year we will have a full team and we plan to be very competitive.”

Kehr was clear about the triathlon team’s goals for the 2020-21 season — she said, “Our vision is to go after the National Championship.”

Kira Gupta Baltazar — the Country Day School, Kleinburg, Ontario, Canada

Coming to USF from Canada, Gupta Baltazar is not only a nationally-ranked triathlete but has also competed at the national level in both swimming and soccer. 

As a triathlete, Gupta Baltazar represented Canada at events like the 2019 Salinas CAMTRI Sprint Triathlon American Cup in Salinas, Ecuador, where she finished No. 7.

Gillian Cridge — Cathedral High School, Indianapolis, Indiana

Cridge, who has been named the top recruit for the class of 2020, placed first in both the 2018 and 2019 USA Triathlon Junior Championships. 

Alongside her title as a two-time national champion, Cridge was also the highest U.S. finisher at the 2019 junior world championships, placing No. 9. 

Hayley Diemar — Battle Mountain High School, Eagle, Colorado

Diemar’s career as a triathlete began when she was six years old — alongside the essential triathlon sports of swimming, biking, and running, she also practiced Nordic skiing. 

Her accolades include placing No. 50 at the 2019 USA Triathlon Junior Championships and No. 36 in 2018. 

Molly Elliott — Boise High School, Boise, Idaho

With a No. 4 finish at the 2019 USA Triathlon Junior Championships under her belt, Elliott was also a top recruit for the class of 2020. She also placed No. 10 at the 2018 championships, granting her top 10 placements two years in a row. 

Alongside her triathlon races, Elliott also competed as part of Boise High School’s swim and cross country teams, both of which won state championship titles. 

Maddie Perkins — Reedy High School, Frisco, Texas

Perkins competes as a member of the Tri4Him Junior Elite Team, which has been designated as a USA Triathlon High Performance Team. She is also the captain of her high school swim team. 

Perkins finished No. 61 at the 2019 USA Triathlon Junior Championships. 

Chloe Ramirez — Riverside High School, Leesburg, Virginia 

Alongside her triathlon training as a member of Endorphin Fitness’s junior elite triathlon team, Ramirez is a three-sport high school athlete — she’s a member of her school’s cross country, swimming, and track and field teams. Highlights of her cross country career include her recognition as an all-county, all-conference, and all-region runner, as well as being named her team’s most valuable player twice. 

Ramirez finished No. 33 at the 2019 USA Triathlon Junior Championships and No. 32 in 2018. 

Hannah Ye — Riverside High School, Leesburg, Virginia

Ye is also a member of the Endorphin Fitness’s junior elite triathlon team, where she has been competing in events since 2015. Ye finished No. 14 at the 2019 USA Triathlon Junior Championships and No. 22 at the 2018 event, making her a finalist at both championships. 

In addition to these titles, Ye has been named an All-American athlete and is recognized as an “elite athlete” by USA Triathlon.

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