USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships open with cross country contests
Truckee, Calif. (October 16, 2009) – The USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships kicked off on Friday as nearly 300 student athletes converged on the Northstar at Tahoe Resort to compete for a total of 22 national titles over three days.
The first day of racing saw the coeds battle it out for individual titles in the cross country contests. The rain from earlier in the week settled down what is normally a dusty course, making for perfect racing conditions. The women in Divisions I and II went off bright and early at 8:00 a.m. for three chilly laps of the 7.5-mile loop while the men in both divisions toed the line at high noon for four laps.
Arguably putting forth the most dominating performance of the day was Fort Lewis College’s Rotem Ishay. The Israeli National immediately took control of the 30-mile contest, building a substantial lead in lap one. Eventually growing his lead to eight minutes by the end, he rolled into the finish area for the win, looking like he still had the energy to go another lap.
“The course was pretty awesome,” he said. “It was climbing for half way and was really hard with no rest at all. The coming down part was really fast and smooth with berms and jumps.”
“I just waited patiently until the last stretch of climbing in the first lap and then I attacked,” Rotem explained when asked how he built such a huge gap on the rest of the field. “And from there I just gained time on every lap.”
Rolling over the finish line for the silver and bronze medals, approximately 8 minutes back from Ishay, were Mitchell Peterson (University of Utah) and Jon Vivolo (Colorado State University). Bradford Perley (Lees-McRae College) and Menso De Jong (California Poly) descended into the finish area in fourth and fifth.
The Division I women’s contest wasn’t quite as predictable as the men’s was from the get-go. Going into the third and final lap, there were three very strong contenders for the win: powerhouse Chloe Forsman (University of Arizona), the host school’s Lizzy English (University of Nevada), and the defending national champ, Carla Swart (Lees-McRae College)
During that third lap, Forsman and English dropped Swart and the two battled it out until the final section where Forsman gained about 25 seconds on English and soloed over the line for the national title. English rolled across for the silver medal and Swart was about six minutes behind for the bronze. Rounding out the podium places were Erin Alders (University of California) and Sage Wilderman (Fort Lewis College)
In Division II, Montana State University really showed its strength with wins in both the men’s and women’s events.
Lydia Tanner took the first convincing win for the school in the women’s race. She had almost four minutes on her nearest threat, Kay Sherwood (Colorado College), when she soloed in for the win. After Sherwood came through for the silver medal, Julia Tellman (Brevard College) claimed the bronze while Rachel Millsop (Union College) and Johanne Tuttle (Brevard College) rounded out fourth and fifth.
Stephen Ettinger scored a second national title for Montana, finishing the 30-mile contest nearly three minutes faster than the Union College duo of Zach Winn and Greg Gibson. Rolling in for fourth and fifth were Brent Steinberg (Mesa State College) and Tristan Cowie (Brevard College).
Each rider at the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships earns points for his or her school based on their final places in each event. With day one complete, Fort Lewis College leads the Division I team omnium with 177 points compared to Lees-McRae’s 167. In Division II, Union College has 158 points but is followed very closely by Montana State with 156.
The 2009 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships continue on Saturday with the short track cross country races, as well as the four-cross events. Also on tap for day two is the Awards Banquet which will feature the podium presentations for Friday’s and Saturday’s winners. Racing will wrap up on Sunday with the downhill competitions.
USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships
Northstar at Tahoe Resort
October 16-18, 2009
Division I Women Cross Country
1. Chloe Forsman (University of Arizona)
2. Lizzy English (University of Nevada)
3. Carla Swart (Lees-McRae College)
4. Erin Alders (University of California)
5. Sage Wilderman (Fort Lewis College)
Division II Women Cross Country
1. Lydia Tanner (Montana State University)
2. Kay Sherwood (Colorado College)
3. Julia Tellman (Brevard College)
4. Rachel Millsop (Union College)
5. Johanne Tuttle (Brevard College)
Division I Men Cross Country
1. Rotem Ishay (Fort Lewis College)
2. Mitchell Peterson (University of Utah)
3. Jon Vivolo (Colorado State University)
4. Bradford Perley (Lees-McRae College)
5. Menso De Jong (California Poly)
Division II Men Cross Country
1. Stephen Ettinger (Montana State University)
2. Zach Winn (Union College)
3. Greg Gibson (Union College)
4. Brent Steinberg (Mesa State College)
5. Tristan Cowie (Brevard College)
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 consists of 64,000+ licensees including 1,500 coaches, 4,000 student-athletes, 2,200 officials, 1,800 clubs and teams, 350 professional cyclists, 200 certified mechanics and 34 local associations. The national governing body sanctions 2,500 competitive and non-competitive events throughout the U.S. each year and is responsible for the identification, development, and support of American cyclists through various initiatives and programs. Additionally, USA Cycling conducts national championship events for all categories of amateur and professional cycling. To learn more about USA Cycling, visit www.usacycling.org.