Cyclists Take Home 23 Top Five Finishes

Auburn, AL--The Lees-McRae cycling team headed to Auburn University for their third SECCC Conference Race of the year. A full squad of Lees-McRae cyclists, both men and women, challenged the contending Division I and strong Division II teams, fairly dominating the field. The Bobcats brought home 23 top five finishes for the weekend.

The weekend's races consisted of an individual time trial (ITT), a road race and a criterium. Riding in a field against top collegiate teams, including Division I opponents Auburn, University of Georgia, Clemson University, and University of Florida as well as the Division II teams of Furman, Cumberland, Georgia Southern, Emory, Life College and Georgia Tech, the Bobcats had strong showings in nearly every race.

Saturday morning began with the Bobcats dominating Men's A individual time trials, pedaling to four of the top seven places, led by Andrew Talansky (Key Biscayne, FL) at third, Scott Jackson (Chatham, NJ) at fourth, John Doyle (Mattawan, MI) fifth and Sam Keesler (Huntersville, NC) in seventh. The Men's B top finisher was Nick Dale (Raleigh, NC) who came in at sixth. Freshman Matthew Owen (Banner Elk, NC) finished 13th in the Men's C ITT.

Lees-McRae's female contingency also dominated the Women's A taking four of the top six places. Carla Swart (Buford, GA) paced the Lady Bobcats with a second place finish. Ally Stacher (Etna, CA) came in at third while Jo Markham (Colliersville, TN), Kristi Henne (Plainview, AR) and Olivia Maurey (Daytona Beach, FL) finished fifth, sixth, and eighth respectively. Rebecca Conklin (Cincinnati, OH) had an eighth place finish for the Bobcats in Women's B.

Saturday afternoon brought intense heat and humidity as the Bobcats raced for over four hours in a grueling road race. Lees-McRae finished with six riders in the top 11 in the Men's A Road Race. Andrew Talansky once again led the way with a second place finish while Kevin Holldber (Idyllwild, CA)came in fifth. The Bobcats then took swept seventh through eleventh with Sam Keesler, Sean Condron (Pittsfield, MA), Scott Jackson, John Doyle and Eric Thompson (Shoreview, MN) finishing in that order. The Men's B racers also dominated the results when Diego Rameriz (Miami, FL) pedaled to third place, Brad Perley (Kennebuck, ME) raced to fourth, Austin Simmons (Greenville, NC) finished seventh and Chris Consorto (Landberg, PA) took eighth. Matthew Owen wrapped up the Men's C race in 26th.

Carla Swart raced her way to the team's first top place finish of the weekend in the Women's A Road Race with teammates Ally Stacher and Olivia Maurey coming in fourth and fifth. Jo Markham (seventh) and Kristi Henne (eighth) also finished in the top ten. The Lady Bobcats were led by Rebecca Conklin in the Women's B Road Race who took her second eighth place finish of the day.

Sunday brought cooler temperatures for the Criterium. Once again the Bobcats Men's A cyclists controlled the race for most of the day, with only a solo rider from Furman getting away with 20 minutes left to race. The Bobcats grabbed five of the top ten spots with Sean Condron finishing second and Mike Anderson (Alpena, MI) fourth. Kevin Holldber, Andrew Talansky and Eric Thompson placed sixth, seventh and ninth in their last race of the weekend. The Bobcats competing in Men's B rode away with the race, sweeping the top three spots. Brad Perley got away halfway through the race to claim a solo victory while Chris Consorto and Diego Rameriz took second and third respectively. Mike Rozelle (Norfolk, VA) finished fifth while Nick Dale claimed seventh. In Men's C the Bobcats had two finishers with Matthew Owen claiming 25th and Sean-Ross McCoy (Ft. Lauderdale, FL) in 28th.

Lees-McRae controlled the Women's A Criterium, placing all five in the top ten. Carla Swart came up just short in the sprint to finish and had to settle for third while Ally Stacher, Olivia Maurey, Kristi Henne and Jo Markham came right in on her heels grabbing fourth, fifth, seventh and eighth in the race. The Bobcats Women's B racers had a strong race with Chloe Jackson (East Hampton, CT) finishing in fifth and Rebecca Conklin riding to sixth.

With this weekend's performance the Bobcats are well on their way to securing their fifth consecutive SECCC Championship Road title and eleventh conference title overall. The Bobcats return home to resume training as they prepare for their next event. The Bobcats will compete in their fourth conference road race in Nashville, TN in the Cumberland and Vanderbilt University Race beginning on Friday, April 4th.

Lees-McRae, after hosting both the Mountain Bike Conference and National Championships this fall, will host the Conference Road Championships here in Banner Elk, NC on April 19-20. The race is free for all spectators.

Pictured: Carla Swart-First Place Finisher in the Women's A Road Race