TAHOE, CALIF. - The Lees-McRae College Bobcats cycling team finished in third place at the Collegiate National Mountain Bike Championships.
The weekend started off with the cross country race. The men raced very solid with Brad Perley finishing 4th, Peter Haile 13th, Scott Stewart 14th, Kerry Werner 15th, and Eric Thompson 18th to start the day. The women followed up with Carla Swart finishing 3rd, Kristen "Jo" Markham in 8th Erica Zaveta in 9th, and Ally Stacher in 12th.
The second day began with Swart exploding off the line to try to get clear of Fridays winner from Arizona. Swart battled all day to shake the Arizona rider and with 3 laps to go she pulled clear and took the victory. Just behind, the Lees-McRae team was having an incredible performance with all the riders finishing in the top 15. Markham rolled in for a 6th place finish, with Stacher coming in 10th and Zaveta in 14th.
The second day continued to get even better with the short track cross country men's race. Perley battled to keep the lead all day as him and two other riders pulled clear of the field and fought for the win. With a few two go, the riders teamed up on Brad but he still held on for a 3rd place finish. Just behind the LMC squad rode in with Scott Stewart finishing in 6th, Eric Thompson in 8th, Kerry Werner in 10th, and Peter Haile in 16th.
After the morning events, the team headed to the gravity events. Crashes to Phillip "PJ" Noto, Swart and Kerry Werner left the team down three riders in the 4X event. Leaving Ben Hulse, Ben Corbalis, Chloe Jackson and Hannah Trimble to attempt to hold a high place in the overall standing. In the end, it was an amazing performance by the bobcats as the four riders tackled the race with Hulse finishing 14th, Corbalis finishing 26th in the men and Jackson finishing 11th and Trimble finishing 12th among some of the best 4X racers in the country.
The next day, Lees-McRae rallied to fill in for injured riders as Haile and Perley stepped up to ride the downhill races in place of their injured teammates. Swart also got back on the bike to race the event. The riders would finish with Hulse in 12th, Corbalis in 37th, Perley in 47th, and Haile in 48th. Then the women would finish with Jackson in 10th, Trimble in 11th, Swart in 18th and Markham in 26th.
Over all the team finished 3rd over all in Division 1.