Anna Lausch got her first taste of triathlon when she was 5 years old, and she credits her mother Christy for introducing her to the sport.
It helps when mom has coaching certifications for the youth and junior levels of USA Triathlon, and is a former triathlete, but Lausch seemed destined to take up the challenging sport as she got older. She started racing competitively in 2013 before entering South Carroll High School and becoming a cross country runner.
Lausch wanted to attend a college in Colorado, and when Colorado Mesa University recently established a triathlon program that offered scholarships, the Cavaliers senior made her move.
Lausch was recognized at a college commitment ceremony, alongside classmates Haleigh Piccolo and Allie Zolkiewicz. The trio of Cavs took part in a signing day event, with Lausch choosing CMU — her “dream” school — for triathlon, Piccolo picking Shepherd for women’s lacrosse, and Zolkiewicz headed to Virginia Tech for track and cross country.
SC athletic director Jim Horn said Lausch is the first high school girls athlete in Maryland to garner a scholarship for triathlon.
“I’ve been to Colorado multiple times and I started looking at schools there [my] freshman year,” Lausch said. “When I found Colorado Mesa it was sort of the perfect combination of academics and athletics. This was before they added their triathlon team, so I was looking there to run cross country. In April when they added their Division II triathlon team, that’s really when it hit me. That’s really where I wanted to go.”
Zolkiewicz, the Times Female Athlete of the Year for 2016-17, is about to begin her final run as South Carroll’s top sprinter in indoor and outdoor track. Zolkiewicz won four county titles at the 2017 indoor county meet and took second in the 500-meter dash at the Class 2A state meet.
Last spring, Zolkiewicz helped SC won the 4x800 relay team win a 2A state crown.
Her Virginia Tech ties run in her family, Zolkiewicz said.
“To be able to sign with them and run for them … I’m so happy,” she said. “I’m so grateful for it. … My whole family bleeds maroon and orange.”
Piccolo, an attacker on the Cavaliers’ lacrosse team, said going through the college recruiting process can be harrowing. But officially choosing Shepherd in mid-November means she can relax and prepare for her senior season in a few months without any indecision weighing on her