Photo courtesy of Tim Hall
BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College cycling team recently captured the Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (SECCC) championship, winning the conference's mountain bike discipline for the 12th straight year going back to 2006.
"This was the closest finish that I can recall in the history of the conference," said head cycling coach Tim Hall.
Lees-McRae finished with 1,620 points and separated from second-place Brevard by just 62 points (1,558), while Union College (Ky.) finished narrowly behind Brevard with 1,545 points. Auburn took fourth with 1,453 points, while Lindsey Wilson finished fifth with 1,342. Milligan finished in sixth with 1,331 points, while King (Tenn.) took seventh with 1,058 points. The University of Tennessee (876), Georgia Tech (825) and Kennesaw State (782) rounded out the top 10 finishers in the conference. LMC won the overall points total in the SECCC, and is the varsity conference champion while Auburn is the club team conference champion.
Hall explained that the conference championship is an addition to the goals that the team set for mountain bike season, simply because the team did not compete in every conference event.
"Winning conference was not one of our main objectives coming into the season, but we are grateful that we ended up winning overall," said Hall. "It is an accomplishment that we take great pride in, but because we did not attend some other races, we did not expect to be in this position."
Assistant Coach Brian Jorgensen emphasized how this was a team effort for all riders at each skill level.
"We had team points coming from our top A riders, but we also earned lots of points from our B and C riders," said Jorgensen. "Guys like Joseph Penley, Zachary Ross, Jacob Tarbay and James Kreuzburg got us points by finishing first and second each weekend in the lower categories."
Jorgensen also noted that those lower-level top finishes will translate into upgrades and stronger A fields next year.
"They have all been progressing up and getting their upgrades, so next year we will have an even stronger A field to work with," said Jorgensen. "The whole team was definitely key in winning the conference."
Hall noted that there is a great emphasis placed on the regular season because it involves everyone at each level.
"Even though we did not attend every race during the regular season, we do put greater emphasis on the regular season because it involves everyone on the team," said Hall. "We as a program get more out of the engagement and development of our team through the regular season."
The team will travel to Missoula, Mont. next for Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals next weekend (Oct. 19-21).