BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Lees-McRae College cycling team had a strong showing at its annual home mountain bike race this past weekend. The Bobcats totaled 13 victories over the course of the two days, and likely made history by hosting the largest participant list in a regular season collegiate mountain bike event with 260 unique riders for 652 total entries. This was a dual conference event between the SECCC and ACCC, and attracted Marian University of the MWCCC.
In the women A cross country on Saturday, Maria Doering finished 2nd and Madysen Rails came home 6th as three more Bobcats finished in the top 20 of a field of 42 riders. The A race was won by Mackenzie Myatt of SCAD-Atlanta, breaking Doering's string of six straight endurance victories this season. Freshman Emily Taylor finished 4th in the Women C category. The afternoon dual slalom was dominated by the Bobcats with victories in all three categories. Veronica Laughton, the defending national champion, led the way with a victory in Women A against a field of 28, while Madysen Rails won B, and Bailey LaPrade won C.
The men dual slalom team kept pace with the women as they too scored three victories across the categories. In the A field, the Bobcats took four of the top five spots as freshman Max Beaupre won by beating 2018 bronze medalist Angelo Loskota of Lindsey-Wilson in the finals, followed by David Kahn in 3rd, Bergen Khare 4th, and Jake Kahn in 5th out of a field of 41 riders. Brendan Bengtson won Men B, and James Kreuzberg won out of a field of 45 riders in Men C.
"To win all six categories in dual slalom against the largest and most competitive fields in the country is a big accomplishment. I am not sure I have ever seen that happen before, but it's all due to the amount of work and commitment the team has put in recently," said Coach Tim Hall.
In the cross country race, junior Andrew Sparks led the way in Men A with a 4th place finish behind Brevard College's sweep of the top three spots. Nick Sdrenka was close behind in 6th while Kahn rolled in 16th out of a field of 62 riders in Men A. Bengtson was poised for a top result but suffered an early mechanical during the first lap.
On day two the event kicked off with a team relay short track, and the team of Bengtson, Doering, Rails, and Sparks finished 2nd, just behind Brevard College, and ahead of Milligan College in 3rd.
The women short track continued to impress as Doering battled head-to-head with Madeline Bemis of Milligan for most of the 30 minute race, but Doering pulled away on the final lap to take the victory in an A field of 48 riders. Rails continued her consistency with 6th place while Erin Sferrazza was 13th and Riley Gallagher placed 15th. In the B/C race it was Emily Taylor taking the victory in the 20 minute C category.
In the women A downhill it was the trio of Doering, Laughton, and Svetlana Mack sweeping the podium to go 1-2-3, while sophomore Marla Cline also placed 4th. Doering's time of 1:51.05 was eight seconds faster than Laughton, Mack at 2:06.94, four seconds faster than Cline.
The men A short track team put out several top performances with Sparks finishing 3rd, Sdrenka 8th, and David Kahn in 10th out of 59 starters in the 30 minute race. Liam Flanagan handily won the 20 minute C category and was immediately upgraded, allowing him to race B, and he proceeded to win that category as well.
The men A gravity team continued their dominance in downhill as David Kahn took home the victory with a time of 1:25.42, beating brother Jake Kahn by a mere .39 of a second, and Beaupre was .44 of a second behind in 3rd. Khare finished 5th with a time of 1:30.44. There were 38 competitors in the field.
"It was great to see our team have success on day two after a long and challenging first day. The quality of competition was the best we have ever had during a conference race. We are thrilled to see our team have such amazing success, especially for our A riders since we are only three weeks away from nationals in California," said Hall
After this weekend, the Bobcats lead the way in the SECCC team omnium standings, while Maria Doering and David Kahn are at the top of the leaderboards in the women A and men A individual omnium standings.
The Bobcats will return to action on Sept. 28-29 when they head to Lindsey Wilson College in Columbia, Ky. to compete in the SECCC Championships.