The Virginia Tech Triathlon Team has experienced many firsts this semester, as they created their own mentoring program, and six of its members competed in their first Ironman Triathlon-- one of the most grueling and challenging athletic events in which an athlete can compete.

The Ironman Triathlon is series of races consisting of a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike ride, and 26.2 mile run.

Of the six Virginia Tech athletes, four competed in the Beach2Battleship Ironman in Wilmington, N.C.:

  • Justin Morrison of Martinsville, Va., a junior majoring in aerospace engineering in the College of Engineering, turned in a time of 10:43:35, and placed 30th
  • Jordan Chang of Timonium, Md., a senior majoring in human nutrition, foods, and exercise science in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (11:23:20)
  • Devon Minarik of Kingsville, Md., a senior majoring in interdisciplinary studies in the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences (12:10:14)
  • Tom Williams of Yorktown, Va., a senior majoring in building construction in the College of Architecture and Urban Studies (12:50:15)

Two competed in the Ford Ironman Florida in Panama City, Fla.:

  • Fred Cook of King George, Va., a graduate student in the College of Engineering, turned in a time of 10:40:52
  • Brian Schoenberger of Falls Church, Va., a senior majoring in mechanical engineering in the College of Engineering (13:26:40)

“The Ironman was the most difficult thing I have ever done and I consider it my greatest achievement,” said Cook.”It was very exciting to have the opportunity to represent the university in this way, and the love and respect shown to me as a Hokie competing in Ironman Florida will always stay with me”

The Virginia Tech Triathlon Team is a sports club federation member advised by VT Recreational Sports, and its story doesn’t end with their competitions. The team’s dedication has led to efforts to reach out to the community--they are partnering with TriAdventure Multisport Coaching and Fitness to establish a mentorship program.

“This program will be great for both the kids and the triathlon team mentors” said Kristen DiCarlo, member of the triathlon team. “Not only does the team have a lot to offer these kids in terms of motivation, advice, and support, but a lot can also be learned from the kids as well. They bring a fresh attitude and innocence to the support, and I myself have been very motivated by them over the past year that I’ve served as their coach."

Thirteen athletes from the Virginia Tech Triathlon Team were recently paired with ten children, ages 10-15, from the TriAdventure group, to mentor throughout the year. The program seeks to provide these children with advice on competing in triathlons, assistance in reaching their physical fitness goals, and provides a positive role model for life.

Virginia Tech Recreational Sports joins in partnership with the university to enhance the quality of life for students, faculty, staff, their families, and the community by providing recreational and fitness opportunities throughout the year. For information, visit or call the Recreational Sports Office at (540) 231-6856.

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