Tag Archives: #Nationalsigningday2019

National signing day! and NCAA Triathlon!

14 Nov

National Signing day and Women’s NCAA Triathlon!

Yesterday November 13th was National Signing day for high school athletes to sign national letters of intent to attend a college and compete in sport. This is always a very exciting day and schools around the country do big ceremony’s and then the college that the athlete is attending sends out announcements of excitement that so and so will be attending that college to compete in the sport they do.
Here in Minnesota the Star Tribune newspaper posted a list of all the athletes in Minnesota that were signing yesterday and on that list was my daughter Bella Buenting a Minnetonka High school senior. What is unique about Bella is that she was the only athlete listed under the sport of Triathlon and too be honest I don’t know of any other athletes in Minnesota (well actually maybe one 2 years ago as I think Taylor went off for NCAA Triathlon) So in the state of Minnesota it’s rare to see an athlete sign for the sport of Triathlon! I mean Triathlon is not even a high school sport here in Minnesota, but I would love to change that!
Bella has run on the Varsity cross country team for Minnetonka since she was in 7th grade, she did take her 10th and 11th grade years away from cross country so she could do high school swimming (since the seasons are at the same time) and then came back this year as a Senior to do cross country again and won the “RAD” award as reliable and dependable because as a senior she might not have been a captain but she was someone coach could always lean on to lead the younger girls. Bella has run Varsity Track for Minnetonka since 7th grade and this year as a Senior Bella is a captain of the track team.
So, she has the swimming and running background and has gained that coaching from her Minnetonka high school coaches but how did she get into the sport of Triathlon and learn the biking piece, transitions and all the other little things that go into Triathlon. As her father I have been competition in Triathlon and running marathons for many years. When Bella turned 8 years old and was able to enter some youth Triathlon events, we signed her up and got her hooked on the sport! Bella was swimming competitive at age 8 and by the time she was 11-12 years old was winning national awards in swimming and setting state records with her medley relay team. Bella also ran her first 5k race at age 6 so again swimming and running were very natural for her. And as dad I can’t take a lot of credit in her swimming and run development, I give that to her coaches at Minnetonka. Coach Dan for swimming and Coach Jane and Kristine for running. But the bike that is something that Bella and I have shared together all these years and continue to train together and she has become a very strong rider! Her watts to kilo ratio is above a 4 which is in the elite level!


So, there is the back ground on Bella, now NCAA Triathlon. USA Triathlon the governing body took an initiative several years ago to approach colleges and get them to add Triathlon as a Varsity sport for women. Colleges and university’s can apply for grants and through a fund USA Triathlon will give schools as much as $225,000 to help start their programs by getting the equipment needed. USA Triathlon also produces a number of the races during the season like this weekend in Tempe, AZ for the NCAA National Championships of Triathlon. Right now, Triathlon is an “emerging” sport with 34 schools across the country currently with Varsity Triathlon programs. And soon Triathlon should hit 40 schools at which time it will be sanctioned by NCAA and then the future of Triathlon at the Varsity NCAA level will really grow! Most every college around the country has Triathlon as a “club” sport and it’s very popular and competitive as a club sport but as a club sport there is no scholarships for the athlete and each athlete covers their own expenses to compete unlike the schools that have it as a Varsity sport where the school covers the travel expenses, and uniforms, and all the things needed to compete at the NCAA level. Now of course Triathlon is just like any other sport when it comes to athletic scholarships Division 1 and Division 2 schools can offer scholarships to the athlete and Division 3 cannot. But that is not to mean a D3 school is not a great program or fit! I know some amazing coaches at the D3 level and Bella visited some D3 schools.
Now you have background on NCAA Triathlon and a little background on how Bella got into Triathlon now her decision for the school she picked and signed with.
Bella signed with Daemen College in Amherst, NY yesterday. Coach Metz is pretty great and Bella really found a connection with him so that was a big piece in her choice. Bella also on her official visit got to meet the current team and hang out with the girls and just really liked them! She bonded with them and felt like they would make great teammates and be fun to hang out with! It also was nice that 3 of the girls on the team are freshman this year so Bella will have 3 years of competing with them. But the biggest piece of why Bella choose Daemen College over other schools she had offers from, and she had offers from larger Division 1 schools and other Division 2 schools and a lot of Division 3 schools was the Academics! I’m really proud of Bella choosing her school based on Academics and not just the athletic piece, and some big school focused on National titles and all that. Sure, Daemen is focused on being a great team and going after National titles, and Bella will be focused on an individual National title but first comes school and the Academic program she wanted and felt like was a great fit! Daemen college has an amazing PT program among other programs but their world class PT program is what Bella is entering. It’s an accelerated program where in 6 years you come out with your PHD. It’s an intense program and one that will really set her up nicely for life after Triathlon.
Finding Daemen College, how Bella ended up at Daemen College is pretty cool and maybe some fate. Daemen was not on her radar in June when we met Coach Metz. We had been off touring several other schools and were talking to some more. Then as I was personally working on hosting an NCAA Triathlon combine here in Minnesota working with Tim at USA Triathlon, I got introduced to Coach Metz via email to help me with the combine. During our email exchange he asks is your daughter Bella Buenting? I said yes, she is and he said he had been trying to reach her and talk to her about coming to Daemen. Bella researched the school, the town and had a couple talks with Coach Metz and then realized let’s take a visit here! The rest is as they say history!
That is the biggest piece of advice I would give a young athlete looking at schools for any sport really is not just the size of the athletic program and how good they are (those things matter yes) but the academics and the degree you will earn while attending that school! Find a school that offers something you are passionate about and want to earn a degree in. This was something Bella taught me during this process and something I’m really proud of her for. Bella is a very smart kid and works really hard for things she is driven both athletics and academics.

 
A personal goal I have with all of this and why I write about it, and promote it and let people know about Bella is that I want to see the sport of Triathlon grow! I want more young ladies to know this is an option for them to be part of an NCAA program, it’s a great sport they can learn and become passionate about and do the rest of their life as an age grouper or professional. It’s an Olympic sport so why not pursue lofty dreams like that and get top coaching and travel the country to compete against the best athletes during college and have fun! Triathlon is a hard sport because it’s three sports all in one and it takes extreme discipline and dedication to become successful. Bella has spent her life dedicated to this sport, training hard traveling and racing with me and getting to see the world! I put this out there to anyone who reads this call me, email me and let me help you learn the sport, and learn about NCAA Triathlon I have years of experience as a coach, an athlete and now going through this NCAA process.

Thanks to Coach Dan and Erich at Minnetonka Swim club! Thanks to Coach Jane and Kristine Minnetonka cross country and track for all you have done to help mold Bella into the strong young lady she is! And thank you Coach Metz and Daemen College for adding her to the Triathlon team and allowing her to future her education!
Future is bright for both Bella and NCAA Triathlon!

Cheers
Coach MB

Daemen Tri announce 2019