Kmetz Claims Third National Title; Bobcats Grab Fourth in DI Team Omnium

Kmetz Claims Third National Title; Bobcats Grab Fourth in DI Team Omnium

SNOWSHOE, W. Va. --- The Bobcats ended their mountain bike season by finishing fourth overall in the Division I Team Omnium at the Collegiate National Championship in Snowshoe, W. Va. 

It attracted all the top college riders from throughout the country.  

The Bobcats competed in five separate races held over three days: short track, cross country, downhill, team relay, and dual slalom. 

The Bobcats battled for the team podium with perennial top programs Fort Lewis College, Marian University, University of Colorado-Boulder, Lindenwood University, and Lindsey Wilson College along with Division I newcomers Brevard College and Colorado Mesa University.  "This year's team competition was the deepest and most competitive ever in the history of collegiate racing," said Head Coach Tim Hall. 

Top individual performances came from Phil Kmetz (Keene, N.H.) in downhill and dual slalom, Michael Zanetti (Santa Rosa, Calif.) in cross-country, and both Matthew Clements (New Market, Md.) and Hailey Sarausky (Littleton, N.H.) in all five races. 

- Credit to Eric Isaacs

The first event was a morning short track, and captain Clements delivered with a fifth place finish.  Clements started on the second row and was able to put himself in a five-rider breakaway that formed after two laps.  Clements also anchored the team relay, and secured consistent results to finish fifth in the individual omnium standings.  "To be able to get fifth in STXC, overall and even the relay was unreal. I just told myself that I was going to be in the lead group no matter what and did it. I held their wheels and hung on for dear life. The greatest part was hearing everyone cheer for me walking up to the podium," said the senior Clements. 

The second race was the cross country on Saturday morning.  The Bobcat men lined up six riders and l Zanetti was the top Bobcat in 12th while Clements rolled in 15th.  There were just two Bobcat women on the team, but they competed in all five races.  Emma Klingaman (Idyllwild, Calif.) finished 11th in the XC while Sarausky finished 16th.  

The third event was the downhill, and Kmetz repeated his 2014 performance by winning the race by just 1.6 seconds with a time of 3:56.9 over Kyle Grau of Brevard College.  Kmetz's victory was his third national championship victory in two seasons as a Bobcat, and the 55th individual title in the school's history. 

Sarausky narrowly missed the podium by one second to finish sixth with a time of 5:16.8.  Sarausky's consistent performances placed her fourth overall in the female individual omnium.  "This time last year I had just been cleared to start distance walking again, so obtaining a fourth place finish in overall individual omnium means a lot to me. I have worked very hard in all aspects to get myself back onto the podium.  Ending the season with that gives me the inspiration I need to keep going after my goals," said senior Sarausky. 

The third and final day began with the team relay, which is a four lap race of a longer-modified short track course.  The Bobcat relay team included Clements, Sarausky, and Klingaman.  The team finished sixth originally, but due to a time penalty assessed to Colorado Mesa the Bobcats officially finished on the podium for fifth.  The relay race was won by Fort Lewis College with Marian University second, Brevard College third, and Lindenwood fourth.  Colorado Mesa was relegated to sixth after the ten-second penalty. 

The dual slalom race completed the event as three Bobcats qualified for the final brackets of 16 women and 32 in men - Sarausky, Kmetz, and freshman Evan Christenson (Dulles, Va.).  Sarausky and Christenson were both eliminated in their first round, but Kmetz rolled victorious throughout all his heats until the final heat of the day.  Kmetz made it into the championship round against Zach Graveson of Fort Lewis.  Kmetz handily won the first heat and had the lead in the Gold medal heat, but he crashed in the early part of the course allowing Graveson to cruise to victory.  Kmetz's second place in dual slalom and victory in downhill this year, along with his 2014 success, demonstrate he's one of the top gravity riders in collegiate cycling.  

The three-time champion reflected positively after the races, "One of the hardest parts about being an athlete is living up to your own expectations. Last year I set a high bench mark for myself, earning both national titles in downhill and dual slalom. This year, I reclaimed the national title in downhill, but a crash the final heat stopped me from reclaiming the title in dual slalom. However, the memory from this weekend that will stick with me is how the team came together to repair my bike literally last second when it was not functioning properly. While dual slalom is usually seen as an individual effort, this second place finish reflects a huge team effort," said Kmetz. 

"Phil is a special athlete with incredible skill, and we are blessed to have him as a Bobcat," said Coach Hall. 

On the final day, Fort Lewis College came from behind to win the overall team national championship ahead of second place Brevard College, a solid result in their first year in Division I, followed by Marian University in third.  Each day the Bobcats were neck-and-neck with Lindenwood, CU-Boulder, and Colorado Mesa, but the success in team relay and dual slalom secured fourth overall in the team omnium.  "The coaching staff is very proud of the team and their competitive spirit throughout nationals.  We knew it would be incredibly tough to finish on the podium, but fourth place is very satisfying on top of a successful regular season," said Hall.

 

The Bobcats finish the mountain bike season with a total of 37 victories and 104 podium placings. 

Short Track – STXC

Men

5th – Matthew Clements

32ndGunnar Bergey

38thCody Phillips

47th – Evan Christenson

51stJack Perry

63rd – Sam Dobrozsi 

Women

16th – Emma Klingaman

24th – Hailey Sarausky 

Cross Country – XC

Men

12th – Michael Zanetti

15th – Matthew Clements

29th – Jack Perry

41st – Evan Christenson

42nd – Sam Dobrozsi

60th – Gunnar Bergey 

Women
11th – Emma Klingaman

16th – Hailey Sarausky 

Downhill – DH

Men

1st – Phil Kmetz

32nd – Matthew Clements

53rd – Gunnar Bergey 

Women

6th – Hailey Sarausky

23rd – Emma Klingaman 

Team Relay

1st – Fort Lewis College

2nd – Marian University

3rd – Brevard College

4th – Lindenwood University

5th – Lees-McRae College

Dual Slalom – DS

Men

2nd – Phil Kmetz

22nd – Evan Christenson

45th – Matt Clements

52nd – Jack Perry

53rd – Gunnar Bergey 

Women

12th – Hailey Sarausky

25th – Emma Klingaman 

Male Individual Omnium
5th – Matthew Clements

13th – Evan Christenson 

Women Individual Omnium

 4th – Hailey Sarausky

9th – Emma Klingaman 

 

Team Omnium Standings:  https://www.usacycling.org/events/2015/omnimtnresults2015.php

Individual Omnium Standings:  https://www.usacycling.org/events/2015/omnimtnresultsIN2015.php

Race results:  http://www.usacycling.org/results/index.php?permit=2015-18

- LMC -