Skyhawks’ cyclists count to 18

FLC captures 18th national championship with MTB victory

Let the celebration begin: Fort Lewis is the national cycling champion – again.

The Fort Lewis College cycling team won its 18th national championship Sunday at the Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals in Angel Fire, N.M.

To wrap up the title, the Skyhawks had to collect critical points in the final event of nationals – the dual slalom.

Brittany Clawson of Fort Lewis finished third in the women’s dual slalom.

Lucas LeMaire finished eighth, and Fort Lewis teammate Phil Cowan was ninth in the men’s race Sunday.

Dylan Stucki added points for his 15th-place finish, helping the Skyhawks clinch the overall national championship over the hard-charging University of Colorado.

In the complex team omnium scoring at the mountain bike nationals, Fort Lewis accumulated 644 points to edge CU (636).

Lindsey Wilson College of Columbia, Ky., finshed third (449) with Fort Lewis rival Lees-McRae College of Banner Elk, N.C. (442) fourth.

Fort Lewis bolted into the lead at the 2011 nationals when Lauren Catlin and Howard Grotts won the opening cross country races.

One day later, Fort Lewis crowned two more individual national champions when Sarah Sturm and Rotem Ishay won the short track mountain bike races at Angel Fire.

The national short track title was the second in a row for Ishay, the reigning Israeli national mountain bike champion.

Grotts, who came up through the Durango DEVO youth cycling program, was second to Ishay in the short track.

Catlin was second to Sturm in the short track as the Skyhawks dominated the first two days of the national championships.

In individual omnium scoring, Stucki finshed third overall for Fort Lewis. Kerry Werner of Lees-McRae won with teammate Bradford Perley second.

Clawson was fourth overall among the women for Fort Lewis.

Jill Behlen of the University of Wyoming, who won the USA Cycling (open division) National Mountain Bike Championship in August, was the women’s omnium winner at Angel Fire.

Two CU racers, Diedre York and Claire Bensard, were second and third, respectively, just ahead of Clawson in the women’s omnium.

Union College of Barbourville, Ky., won the Division II national title over Warren Wilson College of Swannanoa, N.C.

Humboldt State of California was third with Western State College of Gunnison fourth.

heraldsports@ durangoherald.com