Naugatuck high schoolers competing as triathletes

Naugatuck High School triathletes
Published: Jun. 27, 2022 at 5:15 PM EDT
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NAUGATUCK, CT (WFSB) – Eyewitness News is starting a new segment that highlights children and students in community.

We are calling it Great Kids.

We want to celebrate and encourage all the good our kids do.

Three rising high school seniors are paving the road, the bike path, and the swim lane for athletes to follow their lead.

They are the best of friends that now make a up whole new team.

“We are very athletic. We know how to do all of these things. It is something for us to do together. We were already close friends, so it’s like a bucket list item for all of us,” said Jayda Costa.

This trio of juniors at Naugatuck High School can now call themselves triathletes.

Ayana Williams, Leticia Donascimento, and Jayda Costa created the team in December, shortly after a program from their coach to introduce the sport to girls of color fell through.

“By the time we figured out that it wouldn’t work out, we were already excited about it, so we decided let’s take over ourselves,” said Ayana.

As triathletes they first swim a half-mile, then bike for 11.6 miles, ending with a 3-mile-run.

They are training how to do it competitively.

“I never thought I would do a triathlon. I love running, but sometimes, there are some hard days. So doing swimming, biking, all of at once, running it’s a lot,” said Jayda.

They practice almost every day, and the hard work is paying off.

From the school, to their families, to the community, all three of them are feeling the encouragement.

“I think it’s pretty cool how we’ve gotten together and started this,” said Leticia. “I think it’s going to be a real inspiration for other women of color, people of color to start something too.”

Their inspiration came from the first black female professional triathlete Sika Henry.

They reached out to her, and she answered.

“Representation matters and these girls are legit. And hopefully more will be inspired by them,” said Henry.

That’s part of the goal.

More than just starting this team, and then actually competing, these three rising seniors say they are actually even more excited about what lies ahead.

They hope that those who come behind them will continue what they started.

“I hope they can continue the sport. I feel like we started a really strong team. I think if that can be continued that would be very good,” said Ayana.

But first they have to compete in a triathlon.

A compete they did at Quassy in Middlebury on June 18 and came in second place!

Best friends – and triathletes are now trailblazers creating their own path.