Photo courtesy of Sammy Croft
BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College cycling teams will open their 2018-19 mountain bike campaign at King University this weekend (Sept. 1-2).
LMC will be competing with its largest mountain bike roster in the last five years. 25 riders, including seven freshmen will compete in the two-day event. LMC will compete in team relay races, short track races, dual slalom races, downhill races and cross country races.
"All of our riders bring with them a wide variety of talent, ability and skill level," said head coach Tim Hall.
Welcome back Brian Jorgensen - The programs welcome back Brian Jorgensen '14 as the programs' newest assistant coach. Jorgensen was hired on Aug. 1. Jorgensen brings more than 15 years of national-level racing experience in road, mountain and cyclocross disciplines to the Bobcat coaching staff. Since 2011, Jorgensen has served as a Youth Cycling Coach at the Bend Endurance Academy. Additionally, Jorgensen also was a volunteer assistant coach for LMC in the fall of 2014 and in the spring of 2015.
"I'm excited to go and see what the team does out there, being course-side watching them," said Jorgensen.
"Brian is a graduate of the program and a graduate of the College, and he knows collegiate cycling well," added Hall of his first-year assistant coach.
Event preview - The coaches noted that LMC has never competed in a mountain biking race at the new venue for day one, while day two will take place at a venue that LMC has raced at before.
"Day two's venue will be familiar, but Brian and I's role on race day is part skill-based and how to approach certain sections of a course," said Hall.
Riders to watch - Hall noted several riders on both the men's and women's teams to watch in this weekend's event.
"Nolan VanderZwaag, Andrew Sparks and Jack Perry are three of our key A riders for the endurance races," said Hall. "For the gravity races, we're looking to Jake Kahn and Bergen Khare to step up and perform well."
Hall mentioned Erin Sferrazza and Veronica Laughton as key riders on the women's side.
"Veronica is a former dual slalom national champion, and is probably our most well-rounded female rider," said Hall.
He also mentioned freshman Svetlana Mack as a name to watch on the women's side.
"She has a lot of room to grow, and this year is going to be big for her to put everything together," said Hall.
Incoming freshman - Hall mentioned several names that the program hopes to develop and build into consistent performers.
"On the gravity side, David Kahn brings a lot of experience and skill to the table," said Hall.
On the women's side, Hall mentioned freshmen Marla Cline and Kiley Krasley.
"Both of them have a lot of potential for the future, and our hope is that both of them are able to one day make an impact at the A level," said Hall.
From Coach Hall - Hall noted that development and building are key components for his younger riders, and that those riders still contribute in big ways to the team.
"We get as excited about a B or C top result as we do an elite A level result," said Hall. "That development and their success as inexperienced riders feeds our future development."
Hall also stated that there will be some surprises from some riders this weekend.
"There are people in our lineup who are going to raise eyebrows," said Hall. "There are a lot of things to be excited about with so many new faces."