BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College cycling team announced the signing of Andrew Sparks (Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa) for the 2017-18 season Thursday. Sparks joins Svetlana Mack as signees for the Bobcats for next season.
"Andrew will become our second rider on the team hailing from the continent of Africa," said LMC Head Coach Tim Hall. "Lees-McRae has a history of supporting international athletes from all sports backgrounds, and this past year we have invested a lot of energy in attracting more cyclists from overseas. International cyclists seem to value our small college community, beautiful mountainous terrain, and the chance to compete against the best in collegiate. We encourage international recruits to contact us to learn more."
Sparks, who chose Lees-McRae because of its amazing mountain scenery, friendly students and staff, as well as its having the perfect courses and outdoor lifestyle, will be joining the Bobcats with several accolades already attained. Since the start of 2014, Sparks has notched top three finishes in the Africa Continental Championship (2nd), Cape Town Junior World Series (3rd) and in the Western Cape Open (1st). In addition to his performances competing, Sparks also served as the captain on his school's cycling team and volunteered his time building trails in a local national park.
"Andrew is a strong and versatile rider we believe will make an impact on our elite team right away," remarked Hall. "He has a lot of experience competing at a high level in Africa, and should make the transition to the United State smoothly. We're looking forward to see him showcase his technical mountain bike skills, and with his power he should thrive on our long mountain climbs."
Sparks intends on majoring in business management at Lees-McRae with a concentration in marketing.