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Milligan announces addition of triathlon team beginning fall 2019

Daniel Manget • Oct 9, 2018 at 5:39 PM

Milligan College Vice President for Athletics and Student Development Mark Fox announced Tuesday morning the addition of a triathlon program, which will compete as a club sport beginning in the 2019-20 academic year.

Jason Onks, a triathlete who also serves as Milligan’s director of campus activities, is in the process of becoming Level 1 certified through USA Triathlon and will serve as the program’s head coach.

“We’re excited to add this lifetime sport opportunity for both our female and male athletes,” Fox said. “Triathlon builds on our already established and nationally recognized programs in distance running, swimming and cycling. With Coach Onks being a triathlete himself, along with his commitment to Milligan, I believe he will build a strong nationally recognized program as well.”

USA Triathlon will be the governing body for the program, and the Buffs will compete in the Southeast Collegiate Triathlon Conference against schools from Tennessee, Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia and South Carolina.

“As a triathlete myself, I am very excited to have the opportunity to start this emerging sport at Milligan,” Onks said. “I believe triathlon promotes health and pushes individuals to be their best. Triathlon is a natural progression from the athletic programs we already have in place. I hope to add to the success our other programs have had over the years, as well as help our student triathletes compete for national championships while they receive a top-notch education.”

Fox and Onks both noted one of the first goals for the team is to recruit three men and three women for the inaugural season. The team will compete in a handful of events in the fall and spring, culminating with the USA Triathlon Collegiate Club National Championships in Tempe, Arizona, in April 2020.

Over 140 schools across the nation offer a club triathlon team. Regional competitors include University of Alabama, Appalachian State University, Clemson University, University of Florida, Furman University and Georgia Institute of Technology, among others.

Traditional triathlons are comprised of a 1,500-meter swim, 40K bike ride and 10K run. However, Onks said most athletes in the first year would compete in the sprint distances, which are typically a 250- to 700-meter swim, 8- to 15-mile ride and 2- to 3-mile run. Distances vary, depending on the event and location of the competition. For instance, events with the swim portion in open water tend to feature longer swims.

Triathlon scholarships are available. For more information, visit www.milliganbuffs.com or email [email protected]


The Buffs have won seven straight to improve to an Appalachian Athletic Conference North division leading 16-4 (9-2 AAC). Senior libero Alyssa Rupert has been a catalyst for the team on the defensive end as she leads the nation in digs per game with a staggering 7.45 average. Rupert also ranks No. 3 nationally in total digs with 559 on the season.

During the recent stretch of seven straight wins, the Buffs have dropped only two games, and they have posted six wins in conference.

Milligan puts its seven-match winning streak on the line in a key AAC matchup with Tennessee Wesleyan University Tuesday night. The match will feature the top two teams from the AAC North.


Both Milligan tennis teams are 2-0 this fall and have hardly been challenged. On the men’s side, the Buffs posted wins over UVa-Wise (8-1) and Ferrum (9-0). Mason Grear and Taylor Graalman are perfect so far at No. 1 doubles and Nos. 1 and 2 singles, combining to drop only one game in doubles and five games in singles.

Chessa Jones and Karson Light have been the staples for the women’s team so far. Jones is 2-0 at No. 2 singles while Light is 2-0 at Nos. 3 and 4 singles. Light also has won both of her doubles matches as Milligan topped UVa-Wise 6-3 followed by AAC foe Columbia 7-2.

Like the volleyball team, Milligan tennis will put its perfect streak on the line Tuesday with a match against Mars Hill University.

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