Senior Kathleen Chelminiak, a rider for Kappa Alpha Theta, became the third consecutive repeat Individual Time Trials champion, a streak that dates back to 2008.
Chelminiak was nearly at a loss for words following the conclusion of her heat, which she won decidedly with a time of 2:39.34, 39 one-hundredths of a second off her winning time from last year’s title.
“It’s honestly really surreal,” Chelminiak said. “I can’t believe it, even though it’s something that happened last year. The feeling doesn’t really get any less, like, crazy.”
Chelminiak is following in the footsteps of the two previous repeat ITT champions: former Teter rider Caitlin Van Kooten and former Wing It rider Kristi Hewitt.
Van Kooten claimed the honor in both 2010 and 2011, while Hewitt accomplished the same feat in 2008 and 2009.
Rounding out the women’s top 10 was Teter’s Lisa Hutcheson (2:42.51), Chi Omega’s Aryn Doll (2:44.13), Wing It’s Melissa Moeller (2:44.74), Kappa Kappa Gamma’s Jackie Stevens (2:45.98), Teter’s Emma Caughlin (2:46.01), Kappa Delta’s Lauren Kohut (2:47.10), Alpha Chi Omega’s Kelsey Tharnstrom (2:47.36), Delta Gamma’s Kayce Doogs (2:47.93) and Teter’s Ashton DeHahn (2:49.38).
Chelminiak, a Mishawaka, Ind., Marian High School graduate, credited her coaches and teammates for her winning effort.
“I had my teammates around the track, I had my coach around the track and I had the girls in my house around the track cheering me on,” Chelminiak said. “It’s crazy. It’s so motivating, and, honestly, I couldn’t do it without them.”
Entering the race, Chelminiak was calm and levelheaded and said she didn’t have placing or winning on her mind.
“I don’t really think about it a lot,” she said. “I kind of just go out there and do what I do. I don’t really think. I just kind of go.”
Chelminiak even admitted she and her competitors joked back and forth before their heat, adding to the easy-going approach that has been a deciding factor in her back-to-back ITT titles.
“Before our heat, we were all over there joking around saying, ‘Wait, where are we supposed to be? What’s going on?’ So we were kind of wishing each other luck before and everything,” Chelminiak said.
A senior, Chelminiak was quick to laud her competition, rather than bask in the glory of her own repeat title.
“It’s weird because you kind of are going up against your friends,” she said. “I’m super blessed to have this opportunity. I am super excited to have these girls with me. Obviously, you always want to win, but at the same time, I would be happy with any outcome because I know all these girls have worked equally as hard as I have.
“I know that all of these girls could, potentially, do this just as well as anyone else.”
Yet in the heat of the moment, Chelminiak was clear about the one and only goal for her and her Kappa Alpha Theta team.
“It’s just another day at the track preparing for the race on April 19,” she said.
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