Fort Lewis College has a loaded mountain bike roster set for the 2017 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals this weekend in Missoula, Montana.
Led by defending varsity individual omnium champion Stephan Davoust of Durango, the FLC cycling program will seek a 23rd national championship. FLC will enter nationals ranked second in the country and as champions of the Rocky Mountain Collegiate Cycling Conference.
Last year, FLC finished second to Brevard College of North Carolina in the Division 1 varsity team omnium standings.
“Choosing a team to represent the Skyhawks are some of the toughest decisions that coaches (Chad Cheeney, Elke Brutsaert, Lucas LeMaire, Zach Graveson, Phil Cowan and Brittany Cowan) ever have to make simply because there are so many talented riders to choose from,” FLC Cycling director Dave Hagen said in an email to The Durango Herald.
Along with Davoust, women’s rider Anna Scheher will contend for an individual omnium title by competing in both endurance and gravity events. Endurance events include cross-country and short track, while gravity events consist of downhill and dual slalom. There is also a coed team relay component.
FLC won the conference championship by edging Colorado Mesa and University of Colorado at Boulder. Henry Nadell claimed the Men’s A conference title in endurance events with a win in short track against his teammate Davoust.
Always a force in the endurance events, Hagen also is excited about his team’s chances in gravity events this year.
“The Skyhawks have one of the deepest women’s team in history with McCauley Smith, local Lacey Andersen and freshman Elle Runyan, all season conference race winners and podium finishers,” Hagen said.
The women’s endurance team also will be led by Durango’s Ellen Campbell.
FLC boasts a loaded roster of talent, but the Skyhawks can only bring 10 riders of each gender to nationals. Three freshmen women made the cut, as Durangoans Katja Freeburn and Camryn Sippy will compete at nationals along with Elle Runyan of Washington. FLC freshman Jason Rowton also will compete on the men’s side.
Durango will have a few more cyclists competing at nationals for other colleges. Emily Schaldach will race for CU-Boulder looking to add to her success from last year. She won two individual gold medals in the Division 1 club races at Snowshoe Mountain in West Virginia. She also won two team gold medals, as CU-Boulder won the Division 1 club omnium title and the relay event. Durango’s Avra Saslow also will compete for CU-Boulder. India Waller will represent Durango for Warren Wilson College.