Above, Brent Bookwalter takes a 90-degree turn as he exits campus onto Highway 194 during Saturday’s Criterium. Below, Monique Hein follows Stephanie Hannos from Cumberland University.
April 17, 2005
The Lees-McRae College cyclists rode away to a strong finish at their second-ever home event this weekend, one week before conference finals at Cumberland University, Lebanon, Tenn.
Nine schools were represented at the event, including Lees-McRae, the University of Florida, University of Georgia, Cumberland University, Appalachian State University, Florida State University, University of South Carolina, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Auburn University.
The weekend started Saturday morning with the 17-mile team time trial, where teams from Lees-McRae, Florida, Georgia, Cumberland and Appalachian rode down Highway 221 from Blowing Rock to MacRae Meadows.
Lees-McRae’s women’s team (sophomore Monique Hein, senior Sarah McAllister and freshman Katie Getchell) captured second place in their first team time trial together. The
men’s team (junior Brent Bookwalter, junior Stuart Lamp, sophomore Taylor Tolleson and freshman Ed Burress) finished second to Florida by only nine-tenths of a second.
The school hosted a Criterium on Saturday around the school campus. Lining up to race for the B men were freshmen Chris Perham, Gonzalo Escobar, Carson Worts, Kevin Holldber and Preston Anderson; sophomore Jesse Hayes; and junior Danny Marquardt. Escobar took off with a blistering pace for a large breakaway from the start, but he had to pull out of the race. Soon after, Marquardt took up where he left off, taking the front for the rest of the race, lapping the field to take first place. Worts finished fourth, Holldber fifth, Anderson eighth, Perham 15th and Hayes finished 16th. They took four of the top eight places.
In the women’s race, Hein, Lees-McRae’s only woman in the event, finished second.
Nine men from Lees-McRae started the men’s A race (senior Luke Winger; juniors Wes Shirey, Stuart Lamp, and Brent Bookwalter; sophomores Chris Saxton, Robert Jameson, Taylor Tolleson; and freshmen Andy Evans and Ed Burress). The team rode strong as several Lees-McRae riders shared the lead. Bookwalter turned on his jets and he also lapped the field for a very impressive victory. In the final sprint for places Winger finished sixth, Jameson seventh, and Burress eighth, again capturing four of the top eight places.
After the A men completed their race, College and community members participated in the open event. Recently named president of Lees-McRae College Dr. David W. Bushman rode, along with Merritt Yackey, vice president for advancement; David Browning, vice president for business and finance; Dr. Michael Vines, humanities professor; Craig McPhail, assistant athletic director; Doug Owen, cycling coach; and Thomas Straughn and Dylan Wregglesworth from the office of information technology. The final race was cut short for time and exhaustion, but fun was had by all.
The final event was the road race on Sunday, which included a six mile-course with 800 feet of climbing and a finish up Beech Mountain Parkway. A team of five Bobcat A riders brought Burress, Jameson, Bookwalter and Tolleson to the bottom of Beech Mountain, where they quickly swallowed up the two lead riders. Bookwalter, Tolleson and Jameson took the top three spots, with Winger finishing 18th. In the B race, Chris Perham took off on a solo break and burned up the course for 5 laps. Finally on the sixth lap he started to feel the effect of the climbs as the group made their way back up to him. Then once again at the base of the climb the Lees-McRae riders turned on the afterburners. Leading the way up the mountain to take the win was Carson Worts with Danny Marguardt right behind him. Kevin Holldber came in hard in fourth with Gonzalo Escobar in fifth, Jesse Hayes in 11th, Preston Anderson in 13th and Chris Perham hanging on for 17th.
In the women’s A race, Monique Hein had some chain problems and also crashed, but was still able to show her strength and resolve by finishing second. In the women’s B race Katie Gretchell in only her fourth race stayed with the climbs and finished fourth.
The Bobcats rode away with a team total of 1088 points to solidify their lead in the conference and stretch their lead to over 1500 points for the conference title. Coming up second in the race was the University of Georgia with 757 points, The University of Florida with 584 points, Cumberland University with 457, Appalachian State with 302, Florida State with 192, Auburn with 145, Georgia Tech with 113 and The University of South Carolina with 3.
The Lees-McRae cycling team would like to especially thank all the faculty and staff who came out to support the event and all of the community members who cheered on the riders as they raced around town. The team would like to throw out a very big thank you for the Banner Elk Police Department for without their incredible help they event would not have been so safe and well protected.
Next week the team is off to Cumberland University for the Conference finals. In May the team will head to Kansas to represent Lees-McRae and Banner Elk in the collegiate road nationals.
For more photos of the race, click here
For more on the cycling team, click here.