Photos courtesy of Tim Hall
AUBURN, Ala. - The Lees-McRae College cycling team opened up its road racing season over the weekend (Feb. 23-24), competing in Auburn University's road event.
The teams competed in road races on Saturday (Feb. 23), before competing in a criterium race on Sunday (Feb. 24). Three seniors are wrapping up their careers for the Bobcats – Jake Jones, Nolan VanderZwaag, and Ashlyn Woods; all of whom graduate this May. Three freshmen were competing in their first ever road race events – Marla Cline, James Kreuzberg, and Joseph Penley. The team traveled with 17 total competitors on the starting roster.
Men on Day One - In the Men A road race, Will Hardin was involved in a three-man breakaway for over 50 miles, but was caught in the final mile of the 56 mile event. VanderZwaag then had a strong pack sprint to earn a fifth-place finish, while Liam Flanagan finished ninth and Jones finished 10th. Brendan Bengtson took 23rd, while Caleb Smith took 25th. Hardin finished in 26th, Matthew Armstrong would finish 31st, while Daniel Jeske took 42nd. Zachary Ross would finish fourth in the B race, while Kent Ayers would finish right behind him in fifth, after being in a three-man breakaway for over 40 miles. Penley would go on to finish third in the C race as the only Bobcat in the event. Nicholas Sdrenka would notch a second place finish in the D race from a pack sprint, while Kreuzburg would finish 13th.
Women on Day One - Woods was in a seven-woman breakaway in the A road race and heavily outnumbered by other teams, but managed to sprint to a strong fifth at the finish. Erin Sferrazza finished strongly in the chase pack for 19th place. Cline finished fourth in the B race, while Dagny Palmer crossed the line in 11th.
Men on Day Two - The criterium races all ended in bunch sprints for the Bobcats, which was held on a 1.6 mile asphalt test venue track near Auburn. VanderZwagg once again took fifth in the criterium, while Jones took 17th, and Hardin finished 18th. The team had executed a great final lap lead-out intended for Flanagan, but he had to walk across the finish line in 34th after his front derailleur broke during the finishing sprint. Bengtson finished 36th while Jeske, Armstrong and Smith would finish 38th through 40th. Ayers finished sixth in the B criterium, while Ross finished 18th. Penley finished 11th in the C criterium. Sdrenka would take sixth in the D criterium while Kreuzburg took 22nd.
Women on Day Two - Woods finished fourth in the Criterium, just 1.36 seconds behind the winner, while Sferrazza finished 12th for her best career road finish. Cline finished eighth in the B/C criterium while Palmer also finished 17th.
Up Next - The team is back on the road on Mar. 23-24 at Clemson University.