Ryan Chartrand

The Cal Poly Triathlon Club is preparing to host and compete in the March Triathlon Series at Lopez Lake in Arroyo Grande on March 31.

The series is comprised of the sixth annual March Warm-Up Spring Triathlon and the second annual March in Motion Olympic Distance Triathlon. March in Motion is also the championship race for the West Coast Collegiate Triathlon Conference.

“There will be between 300 and 400 college students competing in the race,” race director and mechanical engineering senior Ryan Weeks said. “There will probably be more college students racing this race than there will be at Wildflower.”

The West Coast Collegiate Triathlon Conference is a collective group of West Coast schools, most of whom host their own student-run triathlons.

“The conference provides competition between West Coast schools that is individual of nationals,” Weeks said. “The championships can be seen as a mini-nationals for the West Coast schools.”

Cal Poly is expected to do well in the race. Weeks said the team’s biggest competitor will likely Cal.

Last year, the March Triathlon Series fell on the same weekend as an unusual storm that brought snow to San Luis Obispo. The freezing temperatures made the race exceptionally difficult.

“We didn’t have many finishers last year,” team member and journalism senior Evan Rudd said. “I would be surprised if half of the people that started that race finished.”

The event is put on entirely by students, so the Triathlon Club is looking for student volunteers, typically to help on the course at the finish line or by directing traffic.

“We would love to have any volunteers who are willing to come out,” Weeks said. “We’re offering free camping, prizes, food and entertainment. It should be similar to Wildflower, just a little more low-key.”

The March Triathlon Series is one of two races the Cal Poly Triathlon club hosts each year, the other being the Chains of Love run that was held in February, and is its main fundraiser.

“We’re not getting paid anything, but we do these races so we can subsidize and make racing triathlons less expensive for our team,” Weeks said. “Fundraising that we do for this race will help decrease costs for racing nationals in Alabama and Wildflower.”

Cal Poly placed fifth overall at nationals last year, and is putting most of its effort into that race. Their training schedule is set up to peak in time for nationals in mid-April.

“All of my energy and training is focused on that race,” Rudd said.

Cal Poly should be a main competitor this year. Rudd and teammate Anthony Yount are expected to do well for the men’s team; Melissa Barrett, Kerri Parker and Tamera Presser are expected to do well for the women’s team.

The March Triathlon Series is open to any person who would like to compete. Those interested can register for the race at Active.com or with registration forms available at the Rec Center.

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