Christensens: NDA’s Family of Triathletes

Molly Schneider, Staff Writer, Journalism I

“A triathlon is an endurance sport where you swim, bike, then run. The distances vary depending on the age and race,” said Morgan Christensen, Notre Dame senior and triathlete.

Morgan and her three siblings, Jack, 14, Matiah, 12, and Maya, 10, all participate in triathlons together. The siblings all also have a blood disorder that increases their chances of bruising or having a brain bleed.

“We discovered that the kids all had a type of blood disorder. So, we decided that Jack playing tackle football was not a good idea and had to turn to another sport,” said Melanie Christensen, the children’s mother.

After seeing triathlons on Facebook, Jack “went to a practice and really liked it.”

“Jack did triathlons for one year by himself, and then because the girls went to all his races, they wanted to try it too. By the next year they were all in triathlons,” said Mrs. Christensen.

Although “you compete individually,” you “still act as a team and cheer each other on,” she said. The family is a part of the Green Bay Multisport youth team, coached by Brian McWilliams.  

“All of our competitions are in the summer months. We practice three times a week then. Throughout the off-season, we have weekly swims and bike rides,” said Morgan.

In addition, the Green Bay Multisport team participates in a program called myTEAM TRIUMPH.

“MyTEAM TRIUMPH uses able-bodied people to help disabled people compete in sporting events that they couldn’t do on their own,” Morgan explained.

Morgan uses both her youth team and myTEAM TRIUMPH for support during races.

Morgan said, “This year, while swimming at the Door County Triathlon I got kicked by another competitor and it really hurt. I was struggling with the pain after that. But then, I came up on a myTEAM TRIUMPH cart and realized that I could do this.”

For most triathlons “anyone can sign up” and “it’s different from other sports because it doesn’t matter what your age is.” Maya Christensen was only 6 years old when she started triathlons.  

Maya’s team calls her “shark girl” when swimming because she uses a pink shark floaty.

“The water can be 200 feet deep,” said Maya.

Matiah Christensen also started triathlons at a young age, 8 years old.

Matiah said, “I like being competitive. So, I like competing to get a faster time. That’s called a PR or a personal record.”

It may be hard to imagine being on a team with your siblings, Morgan admits, “but it brings us together and always gives us something to talk about.”

The “different age divisions” prevent the siblings “from directly competing with each other. But, it can still get competitive.”

However, in the end, Jack said, “You race for yourself to accomplish your own goals and what you want to achieve. ”

Mrs. Christensen commented, “I love to watch them compete together. But, as a mom the hardest thing is watching them before the start line with their nerves. I know when they start they will love it. Just getting there can be difficult.”

“Waiting on the start line is the worst part because I’m nervous and just want to get started,” said Matiah.

“In the end I’m happy we found triathlons. If my kids are going to put time and energy into something, I love that it’s a life sport,” said Mrs. Christensen.