Dual Slalom Field Narrowed to Champions
Banner Elk, NC--Competition continued Sunday morning in the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike Championships with Dual Slalom events. Though the temperature was cold, competition heated up quickly as racers flew down the course in pursuit of individual national titles and many raced with the added motivation of an omnium title. By the end of the day all of these would be decided.
The morning began with qualifying for the women followed by the men's runs. Sixteen women at each level made it into the first round of finals, while the men fielded 32 in each division for the first round with two racers competing head-to-head in a best of three series to determine which rider would be moving into the next round.
In Division II Women Leana Gerrard of Western Washington University (Bellingham, WA) completely dominated the field, going undefeated the entire day, crossing the finish line a final time to capture the national title. Jamie Bourgo of Michigan Tech University (Houghton, MI) claimed second. Warren Wilson College's (Swannanoa, NC) Ashlee Robison raced to a bronze over Christen Boyer of Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO) who finshed fourth.
In an event that saw many races go the three run distance, the finals in Women's Division I was no exception. After splitting the first two races, the first by hundredths of a second, the cyclists went to a third trek down the course. Neven Steinmetz of University of Colorado-Boulder edged out Sarah Elsworthy of Fort Lewis College (Durango, CO) for the gold in the final race. In the consolation matchup it was another University of Colorado-Boulder/Fort Lewis race with Ashley Grubb (Fort Lewis College) coming out on top for third place over Danae York (University of Colorado-Boulder).
Three of four of Lees-McRae's women made it into the brackets, but were not able to move into the next round of eight. Olivia Maurey (Daytona Beach, FL), Hannah Trimble (Spring, TX), Kristine Koch (Westfalls, NY) were seeded 13, 15, 16 respectively, with teammate Carla Swart (Buford, GA) barely missing the cutoff with a 17 seed.
In Men's Division II action it was Geoff Fryer of East Tennessee State University (Johnson City, TN) going all the way, defeating Alexander Lewis of Warren Wilson College (Swannanoa, NC) for the championship. Deider Barrick of Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO) claimed third over Warren Wilson's Patrick Hurley.
In intense Div I Men's competition it was Cody Stagner of Lindsey Wilson College (Columbia, KY) outracing teammate Weston Pope for the Dual Slalom National Championship. Erik Nelson of Northern Arizona University (Flagstaff, AZ) beat out Kyle Hickey of UVM for the bronze medal.
For the Lees-McRae men, freshman Ben Hulse took a fall in a third race losing in the elite eight, leaving him in 6th place for the day. Aaron Bradford finished 12th, while Steve Solt missed the seeded 32 bracket by placing 36th in qualifying. PJ Noto did not compete in the race due to an injury sustained earlier in the week.
The Bobcats now await Team Omnium results in hope of bettering their third place finish in last year' nationals.
For complete results CLICK HERE.
PICTURED BOTTOM: Ben Hulse TOP LEFT: Dual Slalom