Fort Lewis College built an early lead at the 2017 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals, and Durango’s Emily Schaldach captured yet another collegiate gold for the University of Colorado at Boulder.
FLC, in pursuit of a 23rd national championship in cycling, rode strong in the first event of the weekend in Missoula, Montana. The men and women both scored 94 points in the cross-country race to give the Skyhawks an early 188 points for a 22-point lead on second-place Colorado Mesa.
Brevard College was well back with 129 points going into the afternoon’s dual slalom finals.
In the varsity men’s cross-country race, Colorado Mesa’s Liam Early placed first in 39 minutes, 44.5 seconds.
FLC rider Henry Nadell of Carbondale was second in 39:45.2, and Fort Lewis’ Cole Paton of Washington was third in 39:45.5 to give FLC two riders on the podium.
Top-ranked Stephan Davoust of Durango and FLC finished fifth in 42:19.2, and FLC’s Nash Dory of Arizona placed seventh in 45:23.8.
FLC freshman Jason Rowton of California was 14th in 47:46.4.
Schaldach, a senior at CU-Boulder who won four gold medals with the Buffaloes last year at collegiate nationals, won again Thursday in Montana. She finished the women’s club cross-country race in 26:08.5 to finish 1:05 ahead of second-place Rachel Anders of Stanford.
In the women’s varsity cross-country race, Mackenzie Myatt of Savannah College of Art and Design by way of Nova Scotia claimed first place in 20:44.7. She was more than two minutes ahead of Lindenwood’s Hannah Finchamp.
Durango’s Katja Freeburn, a FLC freshman, was fifth in 24:42.5.
She was followed by fellow Durangoan and FLC rider Ellen Campbell, who crossed in 25:40.7.
FLC’s Kelsay Lundberg of Salida was ninth in 29:09. Minnesota’s Carley Endersbe was 13th for FLC in 30:30.4.
Durangoan and FLC freshman Camryn Sippy finished 17th in her first collegiate nationals race in 33:35.1.
Her teammate Anna Schehrer of Salida was 18th in 35:09.6.
Durango’s India Waller, who competes for Warren Wilson College of North Carolina, finished 20th in 37:04.4.
Dual slalom races were scheduled for Friday.
Short-track cross-country and downhill races will be held Saturday, and a team relay event will follow Sunday to close out the championship weekend.
For more on collegiate nationals, follow www.durangoherald.com.