Photo courtesy of Jake Miller
BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College cycling team prepares for its final mountain bike event this weekend (Sept. 29-30), competing in the Mad Dog MTB hosted by Union College in Barbourville, Ky.
Event Preview - Head Coach Tim Hall noted that the team has two goals going into this weekend's race.
"Our first goal is to determine which riders will go to compete at nationals in Missoula, Montana in a few weeks," said Hall. "The secondary goal is to hopefully build a bigger lead within the conference so that we will be on top when it's all said and done."
Hall continued on speaking about the team's first goal of determining who will represent Lees-McRae College at the Collegiate MTB event in a few weeks.
"There will be some riders who are disappointed, but they know from day one that they have to compete well and ride their way on to that roster," said Hall.
Assistant Coach Brian Jorgensen commented on the competition for a spot on the nationals roster.
"We have a couple riders on the cusp of going, but hopefully it will be a clearer decision for us after this weekend," said Jorgensen.
Jorgensen also discussed the courses that the riders will face this weekend.
"Union has changed up some of their courses and left some of them the same," said Jorgensen. "The downhill course has either been re-worked or is completely new. It's similar to our downhill course which requires riders to be very technical."
Hall and Jorgensen expect the usual opponents this weekend at Union. This is the last chance for some riders to earn enough qualifying starts to be able to compete at the national event.
Last Time Out - LMC hosted the High Country Collegiate MTB Challenge last weekend (Sept. 22-23), and posted eight victories and six other podium finishes on its home course. The teams faced some great competition from teams out of both the Southeast Collegiate Cycling Conference and the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference. The cross-country and dual slalom events were held on Saturday (Sept. 22), while the short track and downhill events took place on Sunday (Sept. 23).
LMC got four riders in the top 10 of the men's A cross-country event, including three of them finishing right in a row. Nolan VanderZwaag led the way in fourth, while Andrew Sparks took fifth and Jack Perry crossed the line in sixth. Brendan Bengtson would finish 10th, followed closely by Andrew Blackstone in 11th. James Kreuzburg was the top finisher in the B race, taking second. Joseph Penley was the other finisher in the top five in fourth. Jacob Tarbay was the lone Bobcat in the C cross-country race, notching a third-place finish. The men also placed four riders in the top 10 in the A dual slalom event, including three in the top five. Jake Kahn and David Kahn finished in second and third respectively, while Michael Fuerst took fifth. Anthony Khare would be the final top 10 finisher in the A race taking seventh. Blackstone was the lone Bobcat in the B dual slalom event, winning the event. Bengtson would win the C dual slalom event. The men would notch three top 10 finishes in the A short-track event, led by VanderZwaag in third. Sparks would take fifth in the event, while Sdrenka would finish eighth. Kreuzburg would win the B short-track event, while Penley and Zachary Ross finished fifth and sixth respectively. Tarbay would take sixth in the C event as the lone LMC competitor. The Bobcats would sweep the top three spots in the A downhill event with David Kahn, Khare and Jake Kahn finishing in the top three spots. Fuerst would also take seventh in the event.
The women began the weekend notching four top 10 finishes in the A cross-country event. Svetlana Mack took fifth, while Erin Sferrazza, Veronica Laughton and Marla Cline finished seventh, eighth and 10th respectively. Laughton would go on to finish third in the women's A dual slalom, while Mack would take ninth. LMC would get three consecutive top five finishes in the B dual slalom, with Palmer, Sferrazza and Cline finishing third, fourth and fifth respectively. The Bobcats would notch three consecutive finishes in the A short-track event with Sferrazza, Mack and Laughton finishing fourth through sixth respectively, while Krasley also finished ninth for a fourth top 10 finish. Laughton would take second in the A downhill event, while Mack would finish fifth. Cline would go on to win the B downhill event as the lone LMC rider.
Up Next - LMC will travel to Missoula, Mont. for the Collegiate MTB Nationals taking place from Oct. 19-21.