For the second year in a row Lees-McRae has claimed the USA Collegiate Cyclo-Cross National Championship in a repeat performance of last year. The Bobcats, led by senior Kacey Manderfield (Davisburg, MI) who grabbed another individual national title, bested perennial powerhouse Fort Lewis College (Durango, CO) who had beat out the Bobcats for the Mountain Bike National title in October.
The Bobcats, in just their second year of Division I competition, have placed themselves on the podium in all three national championships held so far this year, placing fifth as a team at Track Nationals and second at the Mountain Bike Nationals hosted by Lees-McRae in the first ever championships held on a college campus.
Fourteen cylco-cross cyclists represented Lees-McRae in the Cyclo-Cross National Championships held in Kansas City, KS, December 14-16. Training in Banner Elk where cold temperatures and snow are not unusual yielded an advantage for the Bobcats when cold, wintry conditions hit Kansas City during the championships. The cyclists buckled down to compete not only against other opponents but also against the weather conditions.
For the women, senior Kacey Manderfield pedaled her way to another individual title, outpacing her nearest competitor by 1:30 in the half hour race to claim the gold. In addition to her own success, Manderfield saw five of her teammates place in the top 21 of the field. Ally Stacher, a junior from Etna, CA, finished in the top ten, claiming eighth, while sophomore Carla Swart (Buford, GA), junior Krisit Henne (Plainfield, AR) and senior Olivia Maurey (Daytona Beach, FL) finished 13th, 15th and 19th respectively. Jo Markham, a junior from Colliersville, TN, raced to a respectable 21st place finish.
For the men, it was senior Aaron Bradford (Auburn, WA) once again setting the pace for the Bobcats racing to the bronze medal a mere two seconds behind second place finisher Joey Thompson (Fort Lewis College).
The Lees-McRae men had a strong showing with five riders finishing in the top twenty in the national competition. In addition to the third place finish by Bradford freshman Mike Anderson (Alpena, MI) grabbed fifth place with classmate Eric Thompson (Shoreview, MN) trailing closely to claim sixth. Junior Scott Stewart (Oxford, MI) raced to an eleventh place position while senior Chris Consorto (Landberg, PA) also placed in the top twenty, claiming the 16th spot.
Also competing in the race for the Bobcats were freshman Brad Perley (Kennebunk, ME) and sophomore Scott Jackson (Chatham, NJ) who finished 27th and 28th respectively while Gonzalo Escobar, a senior from Falls Church, VA, finished the day in the 60th position.
In a sport set apart by a Team Omnium (which combines both men's and women's scores to determine a team champion) Lees-McRae continues to emerge as a force to be reckoned with at the USA Division I Collegiate level.
The Bobcats have their sights set on a fourth podium appearance at the Collegiate Road Nationals later this spring.
For complete results at the USA Cycling website please CLICK HERE.
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