COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. --- The Lees-McRae Cycling program finished sixth overall in USA Cycling National Division I Team Rankings for the entire 2014-15 season.
“It has been a hugely rewarding and successful season. Our riders earned three more national championship jerseys, and we ended up on the team podium twice,” said Director and Head Coach of Cycling Tim Hall. “The competition level in collegiate cycling continues to rise, so it’s a big deal for a small college like us to achieve national success. We love going into races being the underdog, but coming back home to Banner Elk with medals around our neck.”
LMC ranked third nationally in cyclocross while garnering fifth in mountain bike. The Bobcats finished sixth in both BMX and road.
Coach Hall’s squad will bid farewell to their two respective captains, Matthew Zimmer (DeWitt, Iowa) led the men’s team while Katherine Shields (Salisbury, N.C.) was the women’s captain.
Zimmer won the Men A overall individual omnium after the final race at the final conference championship at Georgia Tech. The senior edged out Johnny Mitchell of Milligan College and Brendan Rhim of Furman. The yellow jersey was decided at Ga. Tech while Zimmer won the road race and placed third in the criterium.
The talented senior had several podium finishes throughout the season, including another victory in the criterium at UT-Chattanooga.
“I missed a weekend of racing and didn’t think I was in the running for the jersey. After winning the road race for double points I knew I had a chance. It came down to a cat and mouse game in the final criterium,” said Zimmer.
He also finished fifth at the road nationals in the criterium.
Shields grabbed second overall in the Women A individual omnium to winner Lauretta Hanson of Milligan while Danielle Clark of Furman swiped third.
The senior finished consistently on the podium throughout the year, but Hanson was clearly the strongest female rider in the SECCC this year.
“Matt and Katherine are excellent leaders on and off the bike, and we are proud of them for their achievements. I feel our conference is the most competitive in the country, and for them to do so well speaks to their ability. Matt took control towards the end of the season and raced aggressively each race to win, which paid off,” praised Hall. “Katherine was our most consistent rider throughout the season. As she became more aggressive she began to see even better results too. Both showcased to their teammates how to achieve success, and did so with a very professional approach.”
Phil Kmetz (Keene, N.H.) put together an incredible freshman campaign by winning national championships in the downhill and dual slalom.
Senior Emily Shields (Salisbury, N.C.) won a national title in the cyclocross while Gunnar Bergey (Ledrach, Pa.) finished fifth in the cyclocross nationals.
- LMC -