These 2 NCAA Collegiate Athletes Share Their Journeys to Delaware State and Lenoir-Rhyne

by USA Triathlon

Thomas Fernandez

For more than a decade, Women’s Collegiate Triathlon has shown incredible strides to become an official NCAA championship sport. With more than 40 schools across the country at the Division I, II and III levels, Women’s Collegiate Triathlon offers a path for women to compete throughout their college career.

As we continue to highlight our NCAA Collegiate Women leading up to NCAA Nationals on Nov. 11 in Tempe, Arizona, we meet Valerie Boylan from Lenoir Rhyne University and Lison Ziegler from Delaware State University.

Lenoir-Rhyne University

19-year-old Valerie Boylan grew up in Clovis, California, and is a sophomore majoring in exercise science with a minor in coaching at Lenoir Rhyne University, the defending DII national champions.

How old were you when you started competing in triathlons?

I was 8.

What did the collegiate recruiting process look like for you?

It was a wild ride. It was a fun process, and it was interesting to talk to different college coaches and see how each coach trained their athletes. When I did my visits, I did eight at one time. It was a rewarding experience to look at the pros and cons of each college and find one that fit my values and personality.

What is your favorite leg of a triathlon race, and why?

Running was my favorite leg when I started racing, but over the years I have found a greater love for the cycling portion.

Have you ever competed in a sport outside of triathlon?

Throughout high school I competed for my cross country and track & field teams!

Who is your favorite pro triathlete?

I’ve always loved Gwen Jorgensen and watched her growing up.

What is your favorite meal to eat the night before a race?

Tilapia and Pasta with broccoli is my go-to before races.

Have you ever been a part of a triathlon club? If yes, what did you gain from it?

I am a member of iCAN Junior Triathlon Club. I gained the confidence and mental thinking that is needed to compete in triathlon. I also gained a second family and people to support me throughout training and college athletics.

How did you get your start in triathlons?

My club team used to send pamphlets to all the elementary schools in the area, and for a couple years I would tell my mom that I wanted to do it, but she would always say no because I didn't have the best track record of staying with sports. Finally, one year my parents said yes to me being able to join and it clicked immediately. All the way until high school, I competed on the track and cross-country teams, while also doing triathlons. I am extremely grateful for what this sport has provided me and can't wait to see what the rest of my collegiate journey takes me.

Delaware State University

Lison Ziegler is a freshman at Delaware State University majoring in physical education. Ziegler grew up in Strasbourg, France, and came to the U.S. to compete in NCAA collegiate triathlon.

How old were you when you started competing in triathlons?

I have been competing in triathlons since I was 10 years old.

What did the recruiting process look like for you?

I signed up with an agency and then a few coaches emailed my agent to have a meeting together and see what we can do. Through this process I decided on Delaware State.

What is your favorite leg of a triathlon?

My favorite leg of a triathlon race is the run because it is when I feel the best.

Have you ever competed in any other sports?

Yes, I have also ridden horses competitively I continue when I am at home in Strasbourg.

Who is your favorite pro triathlete?

Vincent Luis, who is French!

Favorite meal to eat the night before a race?

Before a race I like to eat pasta, chicken, and green beans.

Have you ever been a part of a triathlon club? If yes, what did you gain from it?

Yes, at home in France I am in a club. I gained many things, for example, the basics of triathlon. I learned to work hard, learned good organization skills and how to never give up. My favorite part is when you share the great moments with other people who are with you in a club. I was able to find that with my teammates too at Delaware State.

Triathlon has been an NCAA Emerging Sport for Women since 2014 and is close to becoming a full-fledged NCAA Championship Sport. With more than 40 NCAA Division I, DII and DIII schools across the country, there's a school for you if you're interested in racing at the collegiate level. Learn more about NCAA Women's Triathlon, including how to get recruited and the list of NCAA schools. Follow @usatriathlon social media in the lead up to the Women's Collegiate Triathlon National Championships on Nov. 11 in Tempe, Arizona.