BIG BEAR LAKE, Calif. – The Lees-McRae College cycling program put together a strong performance on day one of the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships Friday in California. After one day of competition, the Bobcats sit in fourth place and are just one point out of third place.
The day began with the women's cross country race. A pair of Bobcats placed within the top 15 of the 61-rider field. Freshman Maria Doering finished fifth behind a pair of riders from Colorado Mesa and another pair from Fort Lewis. Teammate Madysen Rails finished 13th with the a time of 1:38.36 as the other top 15 finish for LMC.
"This course favored Maria with the big climb up to 8100' and long technical decent. She got a great start and maintained, and then Madysen gained a lot of spots on the final lap for a solid finish," remarked Hall.
The men's cross country race, which featured 74 cyclists, was a challenging course. Andrew Sparks paced the Bobcats placing 12th. Nicholas Sdrenka (27th) and Liam Flanagan (33rd) also finished in the upper half of riders in the race.
"Our guys had a fabulous start with three in the top 15. They paid the price on lap one at the higher elevation, but Andrew was able to hold his own for 12th without cracking," said Hall.
After the cross country races, Colorado Mesa and Fort Lewis top the leaderboard with 152 points. Brevard checks in at third place with 121 with the Bobcats one point behind with 120. Milligan closed out the top five with 118 points.
"Without a doubt, Fort Lewis and Colorado Mesa dominated the day, but we have a lot of racing to go," said Hall.
Closing out the first day of action from California was the dual slalom qualifying. The Bobcats showed well as Veronica Laughton finished first, while David Kahn was second. David's brother Jake placed ninth in the field. Bobcats also placed in 16th, 24th, 31st for the women's race, while Lees-McRae claimed the 13th, 26th, 27th, 45th places in the men's race.
"Qualifying for dual slalom gives us a lot of confidence going into tomorrow," Hall said. "Veronica is seeking to defend her national title, and David is seeking his first."
Lees-McRae will be back in action for day two of the championships at 12:45 p.m. eastern time on Saturday with the seeding for Sunday's downhill races. The short track and dual slalom races will also take place Saturday afternoon.