by Grace Dobson
Not many would dare to compete in a race of long-lasting endurance like the dynamic duo of Alex Prillaman and Sophia Walter. Just two short weeks ago, this team competed in back-to-back races, led by Head Coach Karen Buxton and Assistant Coach Matthew Clancy. The Ridgewood “Try a Tri for Hospice” took place in Greensboro on Sept. 3, and The Bulldog Sprint was raced in Wingate, N.C., on Sept. 4.
Now you may be wondering how this program came to exist? That was all thanks to Greensboro College Athletic Director, Kim Strable. USA Triathlon provides grants at the collegiate level to emerging programs. The $20,000 grant that Greensboro received proved to be seed money for the team. This team is making history not only at Greensboro, but across the country. There are just six other schools in the state of North Carolina that have triathlon.
Coach Buxton is the biggest advocate for the program. “You can see that with these two athletics that have backgrounds in either running or biking, that we build tri-athletes,” Buxton said. She also considers athletes Prillaman and Walter to be great ambassadors for the program, stating they would not be where they are now without them.
“It is rewarding seeing these girls improve every day,” she stated.
If not for the connection that both coaches bring to the table they wouldn’t be where they are now.
“Matthew Clancy and I make a good team,” Buxton said. “ I am excited to have him here to work with.”
Buxton has an extensive background for running in Ironman races all over the country. She has traveled from Hawaii to New York and even to France to compete with her family.
“It is a very healthy family environment and diverse with people of all sizes, ages and abilities coming together to race in a lifetime sport.”
“The environment feels like home, the coaches are willing to help you learn,” said Prillaman, a senior from Virginia. “It just feels like a big family.”
She also expresses that she and Walter “get along very well, we push one another.” That is all that anyone involved on a team could ask for. Though from the outside, you might consider this an individual sport, the fact of the matter is that it is a team sport in the end, with legal drafting and combined team scores.
We are fortunate to have individuals like these that continue to support and build Greensboro College as a whole, not just their team. Hopefully the strong aspirations of the team will come to fruition, like DIII national champs, while being the best program around, introducing a men’s club team for the spring and growing the roster.