Powered by the strong results of James Hilyer and a women’s team that rode together all weekend, the Skyhawks finished on the podium.
Hilyer, originally from California, took third place in the men’s omnium after a third-place finish in Sunday’s criterium race at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Grand Junction. He helped the Fort Lewis College cycling team finish third in the team omnium standings in the varsity category.
“It was a big move for us today,” said FLC road coach Ian Burnett. “A lot of times we’ve struggled finishing out the weekend, but to do what we did on Sunday in the crit, which is usually a weaker event for us, it was cool to see.”
Hilyer crossed the line in Sunday’s criterium in 1 hour, 21 minutes, 5 seconds, the same time as winner Jonah Meadvancort of Lindenwood University. Marian University’s Ben Schmutte was second, and Marian’s Zachary Carlson was fourth to help the Indianapolis-based school claim a ninth consecutive team omnium championship. Host Colorado Mesa finished second in the team omnium ahead of FLC.
Schmutte claimed the men’s individual omnium, while Colorado Mesa’s Maura Rato was second in front of Hilyer.
“It was a little disappointing to come in third because I came so close in both races,’ Hilyer said. “I want to win, but I am really happy that my team worked for me and put me in position to get on the podium.”
FLC’s Skyler Mackey of Oklahoma finished sixth in Sunday’s men’s criterium. Andre Bos of FLC and Durango was 20th, Arizona’s Nikolas Johnson was 27th for FLC, FLC senior Emmanuel Gagne of Canada was 51st, while California’s Noah Schlosser did not finish.
In the women’s criterium, Piedmont College’s Erica Allar was first to the finish line in 1:09:09. Charlotte Backus of Larkspur led FLC, as she finished 18th in 1:09:12. California’s Emily Abraham was 22nd for FLC, Oregon’s Sophie Russenberger, who was second in Friday’s road race, placed 26th for FLC.
Kira Payer of Massachusetts was 34th for FLC, while Arizona’s Tristen Musselman was 39th and Denver’s Savannah Adams placed 40th.
Allar won the women’s individual omnium. Ashlyn Woods of Lees-McRae College was second, and Marian’s Madison Kelly was third. Russenberger was the top FLC woman in the omnium standings, as she finished eighth.
FLC didn’t have the results it wanted out of Saturday’s team time trials. The women had the goal of winning the championships but finished in sixth place in 49:10.27. Marian had the winning time of 45:27.25. The FLC men placed fifth in the team time trial in 42:10.46. Marian also won the men’s team time trial in 40:01.27.
“Everyone was motivated and refocused after the team time trial,” Burnett said.
“It was a little disappointing but a growing experience for our younger squad. The girls are all young, and they rode great as a team today.”
The FLC men were without top rider Cormac McGeough, as the Jelly Belly professional team rider competed at the Redlands Bicycle Classic professional stage race in California.
The University of Colorado at Boulder rolled to an emphatic team national championship in the club division.
FLC’s cyclists will now compete in various professional races across all disciplines this summer before joining forces again for the 2018-19 season, when the Skyhawks will try to defend the collegiate mountain bike national championship. That win gave the program 23 national championships.