Photo courtesy of Jake Miller
BANNER ELK, N.C. - The Lees-McRae College cycling team will wrap up mountain bike season competing at Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals in Missoula, Mont. this weekend (Oct. 19-21).
Event preview - This will be assistant coach Brian Jorgensen's first Nationals competition with the team since coming on board at the start of the year.
"I'm looking for good results and positive emotions from the team," said Jorgensen. "Nationals being so far away puts a big strain on teams that have to travel that distance."
Jorgensen also explained that it is a team goal to finish in a high place well as for individuals to have a shot to be crowned as the best overall rider.
"We definitely want to see the team on the podium, and there are a few individuals that we feel have a chance to place high in their respective races and also to place high overall," said Jorgensen. "We'll have tougher competition at Nationals, but our riders know that they are in reach of those high results."
Head Coach Tim Hall also spoke on what he feels Nationals provides for teams and individual riders.
"In my view, Nationals is just one more race in the long-term growth and development of every rider on our team," said Hall. "We're going to use that experience to make them faster, stronger bike racers, and ultimately better people."
Hall also echoed Jorgensen's comments about the team's goals and individual opportunities for riders at this race.
"We want to get back on the podium, and for us to do that our riders have to perform up to their ability and in many cases we need them to pull out a performance that's 10-20 percent better than they ever have," said Hall. "Everything has to go our way for us to get on the team podium, and we believe that is possible."
Hall continued on about what he and Jorgensen as coaches expects as well as what the team can expect at this event.
"We expect to go head-to-head with Fort Lewis, Marian, Colorado-Mesa, Brevard, Lindenwood, Lindsey Wilson and other schools whom are traditionally strong at Nationals," said Hall. "Our hope is that everything goes our way, we race up to and above our potential and we get back on the plane to come home to Banner Elk with smiles on our faces."
Starting Roster - Nine men and five women will represent Lees-McRae College at Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals this weekend:
Brendan Bengtson (So. - Anthem, Ariz.)
Michael Fuerst (Fr. - Winston-Salem, N.C.)
David Kahn (Fr. - Putnam Valley, N.Y.)
Jake Kahn (Jr. - Putnam Valley, N.Y.)
Anthony Khare (So. - Brevard, N.C.)
Jack Perry (Sr. - Brewster, Mass.)
Nicholas Sdrenka (So. - Gilberts, Ill.)
Andrew Sparks (So. - Cape Town, South Africa)
Nolan VanderZwaag (Sr. - Holland, Mich.)
Marla Cline (Fr. - Anderson, S.C.)
Kiley Krasley (Fr. - Coplay, Pa.)
Veronica Laughton (Jr. - Lancaster, Calif.)
Svetlana Mack (So. - Silver Spring, Md.)
Erin Sferrazza (Jr. - North Easton, Mass.)
Last Time Out - The team last competed Sept. 29 and 30 at Union College's mountain bike event. The team posted four victories as well as 12 other podium results competing in cross-country and dual slalom events on day one and short track and downhill events on day two. The men took five of the top 10 spots in the A cross-country race, with Nicholas Sdrenka and Jack Perry finishing back-to-back in third and fourth. Andrew Sparks and Brendan Bengtson would finish consecutively in sixth and seventh, while David Kahn would take ninth. Three Bobcats would finish in the top five of the B cross-country race led by a victory from James Kreuzburg and a second-place finish from Joseph Penley. Zachary Ross would round out the Bobcat finishers in fifth place. Jacob Tarbay was the lone Bobcat to compete in the men's C race, finishing second. Two men finished in the top 10 in the A dual slalom, with David Kahn taking third and Jake Kahn finishing sixth. Andrew Blackstone finished third as the lone competitor for LMC in the B dual slalom, while Charles Foster and Bengtson would finish in second and third respectively in the C dual slalom event. The men would place two riders in the top five of the A short track event, with Nolan VanderZwaag taking third and Sdrenka finishing fifth. The men also captured three top five spots in the B short track event led by another win from Kreuzburg. Ross would finish third while Penley would cross the line in fifth. Tarbay would finish second as the lone Bobcat in the C short track event. The Bobcats would capture four consecutive top 10 finishes in the A downhill event, with David Kahn, Jake Kahn, Fuerst and Khare finishing third through sixth respectively. Foster would win the C downhill event as the lone Bobcat competing in the race.
The women notched three top 10 finishes in the A cross-country event, led by a fifth-place finish from Svetlana Mack. Erin Sferrazza would finish seventh, while Kiley Krasley would take 10th and Marla Cline would finish on her heels in 11th. Mack would be the lone representative of LMC in the A dual slalom, finishing seventh. Cline would take third in the B/C dual slalom event, while Sferrazza would finish seventh. The women placed three in the top 10 in the A short track event, with Sferrazza finishing fourth, Krasley finishing seventh and Mack taking ninth. Mack would capture a second-place finish in the A downhill event, while Cline would win the B/C downhill event.
Conference Champions - The team captured the Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference (SECCC) mountain bike championship for the 12th straight year dating back to 2006. Lees-McRae finished with 1,620 points and separated from second-place Brevard by just 62 points (1,558), while Union College (Ky.) finished narrowly behind Brevard with 1,545 points. Auburn took fourth with 1,453 points, while Lindsey Wilson finished fifth with 1,342. Milligan finished in sixth with 1,331 points, while King (Tenn.) took seventh with 1,058 points. The University of Tennessee (876), Georgia Tech (825) and Kennesaw State (782) rounded out the top 10 finishers in the conference. LMC won the overall points total in the SECCC, and is the varsity conference champion while Auburn is the club team conference champion.
This event concludes the collegiate mountain bike season.