Close to the top step of the podium so many times in recent years, the Skyhawks will turn to elite Durango talent to try to build toward a 23rd national championship.
The Fort Lewis College cycling program boasts a strong recruiting class that features junior riders who have made a name for themselves in state and national events in recent years.
Seven riders from the Durango area will join the FLC cycling program as freshmen this fall. They are part of 40 new athletes joining the team for the upcoming season.
“FLC Cycling is proud to announce a great recruiting class of new members that as of right now consists of 40 riders, 11 of which are female,” FLC cycling director Dave Hagen said in a news release. “We also get to keep seven locals in town that have developed wonderfully through Durango DEVO and will make an immediate impact. They join riders from all over the country who will be riding for the Skyhawks in 2017.”
Headlining the Durango-area crew are recent Animas High School graduates Keiran Eagen and Camryn Sippy as well as Durango’s Katja Freeburn, a strong competitor on bikes and Nordic skis.
Eagen earned the first-ever Durango DEVO Hometown Heroes Cycling Scholarship. To earn the scholarship, he was required to have results at the junior level, prove to be a good citizen and ambassador of the sport and partake in the DEVO program at some point in his carrer. He also had to have a grade-point-average higher than 2.5 and have lived in the Four Corners Region for more than two years. He can receive up to $1,000 per academic year for four years if he cotninues to meet requirements.
Freeburn and Sippy both earned FLC Cycling Foundation Scholarships. The cycling scholarship fund supports a number of FLC riders with awards ranging from $500 to $3,000 if they maintain a GPA above 2.5.
Durangoan Ellen Campbell, a sophomore at FLC, received the first-ever Gearjammer Cycling Scholarship awarded to students majoring in science with a preference toward engineer majors.
Eagen, Freeburn and Sippy are all strong mountain bikers who figure to help the Skyhawks in other disciplines such as cyclocross and road. Other Durango riders joining the Skyhawks include Will Berger, Austin Munroe and TJ Rifkin.
“We are excited that they will be on the team,” Hagen said.
Hagen also is excited about some of the male athletes joining the team from outside of the Durango area.
“Top male riders from other parts of the country are track and road racer Noah Schossler from California, who brings great experience with him from racing with the Lux Development team,” he said. “Mountain bike and road racer Noah Lindenthal also hails from California and was a force in the NorCal NICA High School League. Nick Gallizioli from California is a recipient of the Bob Warnicke scholarship for BMX racers and is excited to ride all sorts of bikes. Transfer student Skyler Mackey from Oklahoma, who races for KCCX and the venerable Bill Marshall, has a very strong cyclocross background and has been producing some great results on the road this summer. Jason Rowton from Southern California – younger brother of graduate Lucas – rides for the Whole Athlete Development team on the mountain bike and road.”
The same can be said on the always-growing women’s team, as riders with impressive backgrounds are ready to join the Skyhawks as they flock around the country for national races.
“It is tough to beat locals Camryn and Katja, but Kira Payer from Massachusetts has produced some solid results as a Category 2 road racer,” Hagen said. “Luma Randolph, daughter of former Durangoan and pro road/mountain bike rider Greg Randolph, was consistently on the podium in the Idaho NICA High School League. The Skyhawks are also excited to welcome back Emily Abraham from California who is a promising track and road racer and had taken a year off school.”
FLC placed second in the varsity team omnium standings last year, proving its prowess across all disciplines. The Skyhawks will return a strong team that lost only 10 men’s riders and none from the women’s side last season.
“The future looks bright for the ’Hawks,” Hagen said.