CLEMSON, S.C. --- The Lees-McRae cycling program competed at Clemson University at the SECCC Conference Road Championship event over the weekend.
The weekend included a criterium and team time trial on Saturday along with a road race on Sunday. The results from this championship determined the final standings within the conference as well as which teams and riders would receive national championship start spots.
Women A: Ashlyn Woods (Winston-Salem, N.C.) and Hailey Sarausky (Littleton, N.H.) were part of a five-woman breakaway chasing the eventual solo winner Janelle Cole of Brevard. Woods sprinted to a third-place finish in the end after Sarausky paced the group in the final few laps of the race. Katelyn Pervis (Austin, Texas) was an impactful rider throughout as well. Sarausky finished seventh and Kaitlyn Lawrence (Emmaus, Pa.) sprinted to ninth place out of the chasing pack to place three riders in the top 10.
Men A: The Bobcats entered nine men in a field of 46 riders and were offensive throughout. A four-man breakaway finally formed with less than 10 laps to go which contained Evan Christenson (El Cajon, Calif.). It was a close sprint at the end as Christenson placed second behind the winner from Lindsey Wilson College. Connor Simmons (Austin, Texas) capped off the field sprint by placing sixth while Alec Hoover (Kingston, N.Y.) came in 12th. The Bobcats placed five riders in the top 20.
Team Time Trial: An eight-mile event
Women A: The team of Woods, Sarausky, Paige Bisenieks-Robertson (Oakland, Calif.), and Pervis finished second with a time of 21:06, one minute behind Milligan College.
Men A: The team of Hoover, Michael Zanetti (Santa Rosa, Calif.), Caleb Smith (Marion, N.C.), and Jack Perry (Brewster, Mass.) displayed their best TTT effort all season by taking the victory over Auburn University by a 20-second margin. The Bobcats finished with a time 17:27.
"Both teams are thrilled with these results. The women have closed the gap on Milligan throughout the season, and this after they had a mishap at the turnaround at mile four. The men have consistently improved, and went into this race looking for the victory," said director and head cycling coach Tim Hall. "Auburn and Milligan both have very strong men teams, so to win by 20 seconds is a boost to morale and confidence."
Road Race : A 13-mile loop
Women A: Raced four laps for a total of 52 miles. Woods got into a five-woman breakaway on lap two which built up a big advantage over the field. Woods was outnumbered in the breakaway by two Brevard and two Milligan riders. The final kilometer included a tough uphill before a final 100-meter descent to the finish line. Woods sprinted to third-place finish behind the two Brevard riders. Sarausky finished 11th and Robertson 12th.
Men A: Raced five laps for a total of 65 miles. Aggressive racing by the Bobcats did not lead to any breakaways until an attack on the fifth lap by Hoover on the loop's decisive climb. Hoover built up a winning gap and rode solo to victory the final 20 minutes of the race, winning by a margin of 1:02 ahead of the second place rider from Lindsey Wilson College. The Bobcats placed five riders in the top 12 as Simmons sprinted to sixth, Samuel Dobrozsi (Loveland, Ohio) seventh, Perry 11th, and Matthew Clements (New Market, Md.) 12th.
"The men did a fantastic job softening up the field prior to Alec's attack, which made it possible for him to win by over a minute. Ashlyn continues to prove she's among the strongest women in our conference, and with more experience she will turn these opportunities into more victories for herself and the team," said Hall.
Overall Team Omnium: Season Long Points Standings
The Bobcats finished third overall in Division I behind conference champions Auburn University and second place Georgia Tech.
"This has been a shorter road season for us than in years past, but we have made the most of our opportunities. We did not attend a few of the early season events, and that hampered our total points to vie for the conference championship. Regardless, both Auburn and Georgia Tech had great seasons and always put themselves in winning situations," said Hall. "The Auburn squad has had a resurgence in their club the past couple of seasons while Georgia Tech continues to showcase top notch leadership abilities to everyone in our conference. Hopefully other clubs see their success and are motivated to reach their level of organization."
Other Season Highlights/Quote: Our season began at UGA and ends May 13-15 at Marshall and Burnsville, N.C.
"We have had success spread across more riders than ever, and that has enabled the team to be more aggressive knowing they have other teammates they can rely on to attack. Woods has consistently been on the podium and our entire women team have sacrificed themselves to put her in position to win, which she did twice at UGA," praised Hall. "Moreover, Pervis has been on the podium while other women have been finishing off races better than ever before."
"Zanetti and Hoover both achieved victories in solo fashion this year while Simmons, Christenson and Jake Jones (Tamuning, Guam) have all tasted podium success. Zanetti won the Milligan criterium, which isn't usually his best discipline, while Simmons and Christenson both have second and third place performances in road races and criteriums at Appalachian State."
"Our diversity in strength along with selfless teamwork have allowed for this to happen for both the men and women. We are going into the national championship with high expectations and the confidence knowing we can achieve something special. They have been doing it all season long, and the great thing is we are not having to rely on one rider to get results. It is a total team effort and it could be any number of Bobcats stepping onto the podium at nationals."
- LMC -