Short-Track Cross-Country and Downhill Highlight Day 2 of Collegiate MTB Nats

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Angel Fire, N.M. (Oct. 29, 2011) — The 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships continued Saturday as the riders contested the short-track cross-country and the downhill races.

The weather remained a factor in the races. The sections of the short-track cross-country course that were muddy during Friday’s cross-country races, had frozen overnight, making the course easier to ride in the morning. As the ground thawed, the course became muddy in sections.

In the short-track cross-country races, Fort Lewis College flexed its muscles, claiming the top two spots on the men’s and women’s podiums. In the men’s race, Rotem Ishay(Durango, Colo.) and Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo.) left the field competing for third place. In the end, the silver medalist in Friday’s cross-country race, Ishay, outlasted the winner of yesterday’s race, Grotts, to collect the fifth national title of his collegiate career.

“I started in the front row,” Ishay, who won the short-track cross-country race in 2010, said. “I figured if I’m in the front row, I want to get a gap in the first few laps. I got a small gap and Howard caught up to me. I figured, ‘I’m going to stay in the front and not going to let him pass me,’ so every time he tried to pass me, I just gunned it.”

In the women’s short-track cross-country race, Sarah Sturm (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College), who was disappointed with finishing sixth in Friday’s cross-country race, simply rode as hard as she could to the finish line to win by 48 seconds over the silver medalist.

“It feels really good. I’ve never won,” Sturm said. “I got sixth yesterday, which was really disappointing because I really wanted to win. I knew I could pass the girl in front of me on the climb and the descent wasn’t very technical.”

The winner of Friday’s cross-country race, Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, Calif./Fort Lewis College), overcame a difficult start and some mechanical issues to finish second. Catlin andJill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./University of Wyoming) were dueling on the track until Catlin was able to overtake Behlen with two laps remaining in the race. Behlen held on to third place.

Sarah Sturm and Lauren Catlin talk about going one two in the women’s Division I short track cross

In the men’s downhill race, Joey Schusler (Boulder, Colo./University of Colorado-Boulder) qualified in the top spot and backed it up to secure his fourth downhill national title, recording a 7:46.45. Five seconds behind Schusler is David O’Day (Fort Collins, Colo./Colorado State University), who earned the silver medal with a 7:51.63 and Michael Larsen(Mill Valley, Calif./University of Colorado-Boulder) won the bronze medal with a 7:54.04 mark.

“There was a lot of pressure today,” Schusler said. “With the ice at the top of the track, it was pretty intense. It was a fight all the way to the finish. I ended up crashing once in my run and then just pushing all the way to the end.”

The women’s downhill winner, Andrea Napoli (Reno, Nev./University of Nevada-Reno), was the first rider of the day to contest the course. The first-time national champion was 45 seconds faster than the silver medalist Brittany Clawson (Sandpoint, Idaho/Fort Lewis College). Daniell Griffo (Homewood, Calif./University of Nevada-Reno) earned the bronze medal after finishing approximately five seconds faster than Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./University of Wyoming), who finished fourth.

“I was trying to get down as fast as possible whether I was on my bike or sometimes off my bike,” Napoli said. “The bottom part was just not hitting the brake and feeling like you’re going to lose it left and right and somehow not. I took big fall at the bottom. I was able to run back up and grab my bike. The flat parts were challenging. It was so muddy the conditions made this the most challenging race I’ve ever done. It felt so good to do well.”

Kerry Werner (Banner Elk, N.C./Lees-McRae College) leads the men’s Division I individual omnium by 28 points over his teammate Bradford Perley (Banner Elk, N.C./Lees-McRae College). Werner opened the event placing fifth in the cross-country race, third in the short-track cross-country before placing 20th in the downhill. In the women’s Division I omnium, on the strength of three top-four finishes, Behlen leads the women’s Division I omnium by 76 points over Clare Bensard (Denver, Colo./University of Colorado-Boulder). After claiming the top two spots in the men’s and women’s short-track cross-country races on Saturday, Fort Lewis College leads the Division I team omnium by 45 points over the University of Colorado-Boulder.

The University of Denver claimed the top spot in the men’s and women’s short-track cross-country races. In the men’s race, Matt Lyons (Denver, Colo.) won by 28 seconds to claim the first national title of his career. Lyons attacked the field early in the race and stayed away throughout the contest.

“I was thinking before the race what I would try to do,” Lyons explained. “I was thinking that I would sit in the pack, maybe on the third wheel, but decided on the second lap that it was time to go. Everybody had slowed down on the toughest part of the course, the steepest part, I thought that would be the time to attack, so I went. It’s a mental struggle going into the last three laps. People were telling me that the gap was getting smaller, but having that Stars-and-Stripes in front of you really makes you dig hard and deep.”

In the women’s short-track contest, the silver medalist in Friday’s cross-country race, Rebecca Gross (Durango, Colo./University of Denver), used her Cyclo-cross background to overcome the loosening terrain and win by 28 seconds. Alexis Skarda (Boulder, Colo./Colorado Mesa University), who won Friday’s cross-country race, earned the silver medal while Eva Wilson (Kensington, N.H./Warren Wilson College) earned the bronze medal.

“I’ve been racing Cyclo-cross a lot in the fall,” Gross said. “I’m pretty decent at that. I just put it down at the start and hoped I could hold it. It seemed to work out pretty well.”

Alex McAndrew (East Hardwick, Vt./Clarkson University), who qualified in the top spot during Friday’s seeding runs, opened the men’s Division II competition with the best time of the day. After placing second in the downhill in 2010, McAndrew was not to be denied as he posted a 7:35.89, 10 seconds faster than the Division I winner. Owen Tulip (North Conway, N.H./Western State College of Colorado) finished second with a mark of 8:10.61, which was six seconds faster than the bronze medalist Colin Pickett (Gunnison, Colo./Western State College of Colorado).

“Right out of the gate, first corner I blew it,” McAndrew said. “It kinda set the pace. I had to chill out. I chilled out and nailed a couple of the lines right off the bat that I was worried about. There were some nasty ruts that were really muddy. I took them slow. I just stayed on the bike as best I could. I almost lost it in one spot. I got through to the traverse and started having fun with it.”

Alex McAndrew talks about winning the men’s Division II downhill national title

The women’s Division II downhill competition offered the most drama of the day. Kate Weisenfluh (Brevard, N.C./Brevard College) qualified with the fastest time on Friday and was set to descend first. Weisenfluh was ready to race, but due to unforeseen circumstances, her bike did not meet her at the top of the descent. She was slotted to ride after the first group of men, which meant that, Coleen Pacurariu (USAF Academy, Colo./US Air Force Academy), who posted a 10:42.74 during competition, had to wait longer to be sure of her final placing. Weisenfluh rode a 11:24.60 to finish second while Eva Wilson (Kensington, N.H./Warren Wilson College) placed third.

Matt Schiff (Fort Collins, Colo./Humboldt State University) holds a 101-point lead on Eric Smith (Ripon, Wisc./Ripon College) in the men’s Division II omnium. Schiff won the cross-country race Friday before earning the silver medal in the short-track cross-country race and placing 35th in the downhill. Wilson leads the women’s Division II omnium by 48 points over Elisa Otter (Montpelier, Vt./Union College-Kentucky). Wilson claimed a pair of bronze medals along with a sixth-place finish in the cross-country race on Friday. However, Otter’s Union College-Kentucky holds a strong 184-point lead in the Division II team omnium over Western State College of Colorado.

The competition concludes Sunday after riders compete in the dual slalom.

Visit the official event webpage of the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships for more information on the event, including competition guide,complete scheduleresultsphoto gallery and more. Follow the event on Twitter, using hashtag #CollNats.

USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships
October 28-30, 2011
Angel Fire, N.M.


Men – Division 1
1. Rotem Ishay (Durango, CO/Fort Lewis College) 28:37
2. Howard Grotts (Durango, CO/Fort Lewis College) 28:38
3. Kerry Werner (Banner Elk, NC/Lees-McRae College) 30:37
4. Samuel Morrison (Butler, PA/University of Colorado-Boulder) 31:55
5. Bradford Perley (Banner Elk, NC/Lees-McRae College) -1 Lap

Men – Division 2
1. Matt Lyons (Denver, CO/University of Denver) 28:42)
2. Matt Schiff (Fort Collins, CO/Humboldt State University) 29:10
3. Adam Miller (Colorado Springs, CO/Colorado College) 29:40
4. Drake Lindsey (Hiram, GA/Union College-KY) 29:59
5. Timothy Jenkinson (Mars Hill, NC/Mars Hill College) 30:09

Women – Division 1
1. Sarah Sturm (Durango, CO/Fort Lewis College) 29:14
2. Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, CA/Fort Lewis College) 30:02
3. Jill Behlen (Boulder, CO/University of Wyoming) 30:18
4. Claire Bensard (Denver, CO/University of Colorado-Boulder) 30:26
5. Katharine Hall (Oakland, CA/University of California-Berkeley) 30:32

Women – Division 2
1. Rebecca Gross (Durango, CO/University of Denver) 26:41
2. Alexis Skarda (Boulder, CO/Colorado Mesa University) 27:09
3. Eva Wilson (Kensington, NH/Warren Wilson College) 28:13
4. Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, CA/California Lutheran University) 30:16
5. Elisa Otter (Montpelier, VT/Union College-KY) 30:27

Men – Division 1
1. Joey Schusler (Boulder, CO/University of Colorado-Boulder) 07:46.5
2. David ODay (Fort Collins, CO/Colorado State University) 07:51.6
3. Michael Larsen (Mill Valley, CA/University of Colorado-Boulder) 07:54.0
4. Benjamin Elliott (Holliston, MA/University of Delaware) 08:03.4
5. Timothy Price (Great Falls, VA/University of Virginia) 08:04.8

Men – Division 2
1. Alex McAndrew (East Hardwick, VT/Clarkson University) 07:35.9
2. Owen Tulip (North Conway, NH/Western State College of Colorado) 08:10.6
3. Colin Pickett (Gunnison, CO/Western State College of Colorado) 08:16.9
4. Justin Graves (Arcata, CA/Humboldt State University) 08:18.7
5. Jacob Hinlicky (Arcata, CA/Humboldt State University) 08:21.7

Women – Division 1
1. Andrea Napoli (Reno, NV/University of Nevada-Reno) 12:22.6
2. Brittany Clawson (Sandpoint, ID/Fort Lewis College) 13:07.7
3. Danielle Griffo (Homewood, CA/University of Nevada-Reno) 13:24.1
4. Jill Behlen (Boulder, CO/University of Wyoming) 13:28.9
5. Madison Pitts (Lake Worth, FL/Lindsey Wilson College) 14:05.2

Women – Division 2
1. Coleen Pacurariu (Usaf Academy, CO/US Air Force Academy) 10:42.7
2. Kate Weisenfluh (Brevard, NC/Brevard College) 11:24.6
3. Eva Wilson (Kensington, NH/Warren Wilson College) 13:17.3
4. Klara Rossouw (Marshill, NC/Mars Hill College) 14:07.8
5. Catherine Harnden (Barbourville, KY/Union College-KY) 15:08.1

About USA Cycling
Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX and cyclo-cross. As a membership-based organization, USA Cycling comprises 70,000 licensees; 2,400 clubs and teams; and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions 2,900 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year, manages 17 national championship events and is responsible for fostering the identification, development, and support of American cyclists. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit

About USA Cycling – Collegiate
With over 4,700 student athletes and 300 collegiate clubs and teams, Collegiate Cycling is the division of USA Cycling responsible for administering competitive bicycle racing in 11 unique collegiate conferences. Collegiate Cycling also oversees all four USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships: Track, Mountain Bike, Cyclo-cross, and Road, and recognizes collegiate club and athlete achievements with the Stenner and Kuck scholarships. To learn more about USA Cycling-Collegiate, visit Recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the Union Cycliste Internationale, USA Cycling is the official governing body for all disciplines of competitive cycling in the United States, including road, track, mountain bike, BMX, and cyclo-cross.

About Angel Fire Bike Park
Located in Angel Fire, New Mexico, Angel Fire Bike Park is a premiere mountain bike destination in the southern Rocky Mountains. The Bike Park offers chairlift-accessed terrain for downhill, cross-country and all-mountain styles of mountain bike riding, including beginner, intermediate and advanced/ expert trails. Collective features of the bike park include riding clinics, bike rentals and repairs, guided tours, skills parks, freestyle features, special events and bike-friendly, slopeside lodging. Angel Fire Bike Park is privately owned and operated by Angel Fire Resort, and is open from May to October, providing one of the longest bike park seasons in the United States. For additional information on Angel Fire Bike Park or Angel Fire Resort, please call 800-633-7463 or log on to

Source: Dave Gaylinn, USA Cycling

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