Banner Elk, NC--This past weekend the Lees-McRae cycling team hosted their spring home road race. Schools from around the southeast came to Banner Elk to challenge the top ranked team and to try their legs on some of the climbs. Teams from Clemson, Georgia Tech, University of Georgia, Auburn, Georgia State, Georgia Southern, Furman, Cumberland, Brevard and Mars Hill made their way up to the mountains.
Saturday morning started off the weekend with a team time trial. The team from Furman posted the fastest men's time with LMC coming in second and Cumberland in third. In the women's TTT the Bobcats posted the fastest time with the team from UGA finishing second.
Next was the spectator friendly Criterium. In this race the Bobcats showed their team strength. In the men's A race Scott Stewart lapped the field and rode away with an impressive first place finish. Kevin Holldber out sprinted Spencer Beamer from Furman to take home second place. Preston Anderson finished fourth, with Carson Worts finishing fifth. The Bobcats captured four of the top five places. In the Women's race Kacey Manderfield and Monique Hein rode away from the field to take first and second place. Ally Stacher showed she had recovered from her crash two weeks ago by outsprinting Catherine Peacock from UGA to capture third place. Kristi Henne came home in fifth place. The women also captured four of the top five places in their Criterium. In the B race Chris Consorto unfortunately crashed in the last turn after riding a great race. In avoiding the crash LMC missed out on first place but still managed Sean Condron second, Chris Pickerell third and Diego Ramirez fourth to capture three of the top four places. In the women's B race Olivia Maurey finished second and Chloe Jackson finished fourth.
Sunday morning brought cold wet weather for the road race which had 10 mile lap with 1500 feet of climbing each lap. The men's A field suffered the most as all but seven riders abandoned the 60 mile race due to the weather and race conditions. Peter Fairbanks of Cumberland won the race by a large margin with Scott Stewart finishing in fourth place. The women however once again dominated their 40 mile race by sweeping the top four places. Ally Stacher rode the race of the year for the win, with Monique Hein second, Jo Markham third and Kacey Manderfield fourth. In the 20 mile Women's B race once again Olivia Maurey finished second and Chloe Jackson finished fourth. In the 40 mile Men's B race Sean Condron came away with a very impressive win with Chris Pickerell in 5th and Paul Davis in 8th.
The Bobcats have extended their points lead for Nationals with a total of 3657 points to second place University of Florida at 1943 points. The Bobcats now prepare for Conference finals where they will hope to win their second Div I Conference Title of the school year. With a trip to Nationals secured, the team will head to conference finals to fine tune the team they plan on taking to Kansas in May. The team would like to share their appreciation to everyone who came out to support them and help out to make this home race a success, especially to the men's soccer team for enduring the harsh conditions to help marshal the course on Sunday to assure safety for all of the teams.