Angel Fire, N.M. (October 20, 2012) — The 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships continued Saturday at the Angel Fire Resort in Angel Fire, N.M., with the short track cross-country and downhill competitions.
In the short track cross-country race, riders turned half-mile laps with minor elevation gain and loss for 20 minutes and three laps. The first gravity event of the competition, the downhill, spanned 1.5 miles and dropped riders 1,000 feet of elevation.
Men’s Short Track Cross-Country
It was readily apparent in the early stages of the Division I men’s short track cross-country race that the winner would be a member of Fort Lewis College. The two-time defending national champion, Rotem Ishay (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College), and Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) quickly surfaced at the front after two laps.
Samuel Morrison (Butler, Pa./University of Colorado-Boulder) was a viable threat until the two Skyhawks drilled it with two laps remaining in the race to open a larger gap.
Ishay, who said this would be his last collegiate endurance race, left on top. He kicked in a higher gear and widened his advantage on Grotts to coast to the top spot of the podium for the third consecutive year.
“Last one! Three in a row,” Ishay said. “That’s my last endurance collegiate race. I was really motivated and really stressed. I haven’t felt that for a collegiate race for a while. I’ve won a lot of stuff and I was not getting stressed for races, but this one was a big one for me, for sure.”
Women’s Short Track Cross-Country
Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, Calif./Fort Lewis College) showed no signs of fatigue a day after sucessfully defending her cross-country title, winning the short track cross-country race handily over the 47-rider field. Catlin crossed the line more than 30 seconds ahead of second-place finisher Deidre York (Indio, Calif./University of Colorado-Boulder). Catlin’s teammate, Sofia Gomez Villafane (Los Gatos, Calif./Fort Lewis College) placed third.
Catlin took over the lead from York on the third lap and maintained a comfortable lead throughout the rest of the race.
“I felt really good today,” said Catlin. “Watching the (Fort Lewis) boys do so well earlier, I was like, I gotta perform now. I can’t let them get all the credit.”
Catlin had to dodge a crash at the start of the race that involved her teammate Sarah Sturm (Durango, Colo.).
“I started in the third row and I think that actually saved me,” Catlin said afterward. “I had enough time to see it. It was on my right, I went to the left and didn’t get caught up in it. Last year, I was the one who got crashed out in the beginning so I know how it feels.”
John Swanguen (Columbia, Ky./Lindsey Wilson College) earned the last starting position after qualifying with the best time (2:42.17) on Friday. He improved on that time to secure the Division I men’s downhill national championship with a time of 2:38.46 on Saturday. He needed to improve his time to earn the first national championship of his career because Adam Digby(San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Fort Lewis College) posted a time of 2:38.65 to earn the silver medal and defending national champion, Joey Schusler (Boulder, Colo./University of Colorado-Boulder), registered 2:39.73 to place third.
“This feels really great,” Swanguen said. “This is my first year racing collegiate at Lindsey Wilson. I didn’t know what to expect. I couldn’t ask too much. I’m definitely stoked with my performance today. I put down a solid run and handled it.”
Brittany Clawson (Sandpoint, Idaho/Fort Lewis College) was the last rider down the mountain in the women’s Division I race and she posted the fastest time of 3:17.99, over 10 seconds better than runner-up Madison Pitts (Lake Worth, Fla./Lindenwood University), who recorded a time of 3:28.85.
“It was really fast and hard,” a jubilant Clawson said at the end of her run. “It’s the fastest I’ve ever gone. We had such a solid girls team this year, it’s so exciting to be a part of it. It was really cool to have five girls racing downhill. That’s unbelievable. Our team is so awesome.”
Men’s Short Track Cross-Country
The Division II men’s short track cross-country race provided significant drama. Wesley Lamberson (Limestone, Tenn./Union College-Ky.) and his teammate Peter Haile (Barbourville, Ky./Union College-Ky.) surged to the front of the race after two laps.
Despite starting in the middle of the field, Cypress Gorry (Brevard, N.C./Brevard College) surged and emerged among the leaders. As Haile began to fade, Lamberson and Gorry pushed the pace.
On the penultimate lap, Gorry attacked and Lamberson was unable to answer, allowing Gorry to wheel home with his second national title in two days. Michael Burleigh (Denver, Colo./University of Denver) passed Lamberson late in the race to sneak into second place, while Lamberson earned the bronze medal in third place.
“It was a tough race out there,” Gorry said. “For about five laps, Wes was right in front of me. I could see him, but I couldn’t quite get up to him. With three laps to go, I caught him on the climb and I got around him at the top. I had a clear course and I was able to get a little gap and I got it from there, I guess.”
Women’s Short Track Cross-Country
Rebecca Gross (Lakewood, Colo./University of Denver) capitalized on starting in the front row to grab an early lead in the Division II women’s short track cross-country race. Gross would not relinquish the lead as she built a gap of close to 40 seconds after just the first half-mile lap.
Gross knew that a talented field of women, including the winner of Friday’s cross-country race, Alexis Skarda (Boulder, Colo./Colorado Mesa University), Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./Brevard College) and Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif./California Lutheran University) would be chasing her down.
Gross, who pursuing a graduate degree in sports psychology, plied her future trade to keep her focused on the race.
“Alexis is so fast. I knew I had to do everything I could to stay in front of her and keep that gap big enough so she couldn’t work it back up. There was a lot of self talk going on.”
Gross’ advice was sound as she won the race over Skarda by over a minute. Zaveta surged late in the race to finish third ahead of Barton.
The defending collegiate dual slalom national champion, Paul Mayes (Homer, Ill./Michigan Technological University), grabbed the Division II men’s downhill national title after posting a time of 2:45.60, edging out Owen Tulip (North Conway, N.H./Western State Colorado University) by three seconds.
“It was a lot of fun,” said Mayes of his run. “I was sliding everywhere but I held on. It was awesome.”
Ariana Altier (Chico, Calif./California State University-Chico) registered an astounding time of 3:11.32 to win the Division II women’s downhill competition. Each of the last three riders to descend the course improved the standard set by the previous contestant. Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./Brevard College) lowered the mark by eight seconds after registering a time of 3:46.35 to temporarily occupy the hot seat. The penultimate rider of the competition, Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif./California Lutheran University), lowered the mark by 16 seconds with a seemingly unbeatable mark of 3:29.78. Altier bettered Barton’s mark by 18 seconds to earn the first national championship of her career.
“This feels pretty good,” Altier said of winning her first national championship. “I’m probably going to celebrate by going to the hot tub and write a paper that’s due on Monday.”
Fort Lewis tops the Division I team omnium standings with 564 points. The Skyhawks have recorded the maximum number of points in each of the six competitions through two days of competition. The University of Colorado-Boulder holds second place with 488 points. The University of Wyoming sits in third place with 359 points, while Lees-McRae College is holding fourth place, only 12 points out of third. Colorado State University rounds out the top five with 295 points.
Brevard College tops the Division II team omnium standings heading into the final day of competition. The Tornados have amassed 490 points, 60 more than the second-place Union College-Ky. Sitting in third place, 103 points behind Union College-Ky., is Western State Colorado University. Colorado Mesa University is only nine points out of third place with 318 points. The fifth-place team through three contests is Warren Wilson College with 259 points.
Rotem Ishay (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) holds the top spot of the Division I men’s omnium with 325 points. Joey Schusler (Boulder, Colo./University of Colorado-Boulder) is in second place with 218 points, 11 points ahead of Kerry Werner(Banner Elk, N.C./Lees-McRae College). Erik Nelson (Gilbert, Ariz./Northern Arizona University) is currently in fourth place with 123 while his teammate, Scott Countryman (Mesa, Ariz.), rounds out the top five with 111 points.
After three of four contests are complete, Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./University of Wyoming) has a significant lead in the Division I women’s omnium. Behlen, who reached the podium in each of the three events, thus far, has accumulated 348 points. Her teammate, Linnea Dixson (Steamboat Springs, Colo./University of Wyoming), is in second place with 230 points. Emily Paxson(Burlington, Vt./University of Vermont) sits in third place with 198 points. Eva Wilson (Kensington, N.H./Colorado State University), who topped the Division II women’s omnium in 2011, is in fourth place with 198 points. Kaila Hart (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) rounds out the top five with 196 points.
After his strong performance in the Division II men’s short track cross-country, Wesley Lamberson (Limestone, Tenn./Union College-Ky.) holds the top spot of the Division II men’s omnium standings. Bobby Zidek (Chico, Calif./University of California-Chico) is in second place, trailing Lamberson by 64 points, but he also holds a slim five-point advantage on Timothy Jenkinson(Mars Hill, N.C./Mars Hill College). Justin Graves (Arcata, Calif./Humboldt State University) is in fourth place with 133 points andDaniel Ennis (Pisgah Forest, N.C./Brevard College) is in fifth place with 108 points.
In the tightest individual omnium competition through three events this year, Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./Brevard College) holds a 12-point cushion on Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif./California Lutheran University) atop the Division II women’s omnium standings. Zaveta, who reached the podium in each of the three events this weekend, has 390 points while Barton, who also finished in the top five of each competition, has 378 points. Elisa Otter (Montpelier, Vt./Union College-Ky.) sits in third place, only 64 points behind Barton and 107 points ahead of the fourth-place rider, Allison Jones (Raleigh, N.C./Warren Wilson College). Otter’s teammate, Kara Uhl (Smithville, Texas), rounds out the top five with 201 points, only six behind Jones.
Tomorrow, the event cruises into its final day as competitors will contest the dual slalom. Additionally, the individual and team omnium winners will be awarded at the conclusion of the day’s races.
Visit the official event webpage of the 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships for more information on the event, including the required eligibility form, complete schedule, eligibility and qualification information, course maps,results, photo gallery, omnium standings and more. Additionally, you can follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag#CollNats.
2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships
October 19-21, 2012
Angel Fire, N.M.
Short Track Cross-Country
Division I Men
1. Rotem Ishay (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College)
2. Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College)
3. Samuel Morrison (Butler, Pa./University of Colorado-Boulder)
4. Garrett Lundberg (Salida, Colo./Fort Lewis College)
5. Payson McElveen (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College)
Division II Men
1. Richard Cypress Gorry (Brevard, N.C./Brevard College)
2. Michael Burleigh (Denver, Colo./University of Denver)
3. Wesley Lamberson (Limestone, Tenn./Union College-Ky.)
4. Michael Michetti (Elkhorn, Wisc./University of Wisconsin-Platteville)
5. Graham Ruhmann (Woodland Park, Colo./Western State Colorado University)
Division I Women
1. Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, Calif./Fort Lewis College)
2. Deidre York (Indio, Calif./University of Colorado-Boulder)
3. Sofia Gomez Villafane (Los Gatos, Calif./Fort Lewis College)
4. Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./University of Wyoming)
5. Sarah Sturm (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College)
Division II Women
1. Rebecca Gross (Lakewood, Colo./University of Denver)
2. Alexis Skarda (Boulder, Colo./Colorado Mesa University)
3. Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./Brevard College)
4. Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif./California Lutheran University)
5. Laura Ralston (Cambridge, Mass./Massachusetts Institute of Technology)
Division I Men
1. John Swanguen (San Diego, Calif./Lindsey Wilson College) 2:38.46
2. Adam Digby (San Juan Capistrano, Calif./Fort Lewis College) 2:38.65
3. Joey Schusler (Boulder, Colo./University of Colorado-Boulder) 2:39.73
4. Taylor Borucki (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 2:42.09
5. Phil Cowan (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 2:43.43
Division II Men
1. Paul Mayes (Homer, Ill./Michigan Technological University) 2:45.60
2. Owen Tulip (North Conway, N.H./Western State Colorado University) 2:48.57
3. Matthew Callahan (Reading, Mass./Wentworth Institute of Technology) 2:50.99
4. Alex Pfiffner (Bend, Ore./Duke University) 2:53.27
5. Caleb Woodworth (Gunnison, Colo./Western State Colorado University) 2:53.57
Division I Women
1. Brittany Clawson (Sandpoint, Idaho/Fort Lewis College) 3:17.99
2. Madison Pitts (Lake Worth, Fla./Lindenwood University) 3:28.85
3. Meghan Kane (Dillon, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 3:29.27
4. Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./University of Wyoming) 3:30.32
5. Terah Blake (Albuquerque, N.M./University of New Mexico) 3:31.23
Division II Women
1. Ariana Altier (Chico, Calif./California State University-Chico) 3:11.32
2. Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif./California Lutheran University) 3:29.78
3. Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./Brevard College) 3:46.35
4. Elissa Otter (Montpelier, Vt./Union College-Ky.) 3:54.14
5. Catherine Harnden (Mars Hill, N.C./Mars Hill College) 4:04.66
Source: Dave Gaylinn