Fort Lewis College got the result it needed out of Marian University, but the Skyhawks weren’t able to get the result they needed.
The FLC cycling team entered Saturday’s team relay at the USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclocross National Championships in second place behind Marian of Indiana. FLC needed to win Saturday’s relay and have Marian take third or worse to claim the varsity team national title. Marian finished third, but FLC finished second behind North Carolina’s Brevard College, and that gave Marian the national title after three days of racing at Joe Creason Park in Louisville, Kentucky.
FLC finished a close second with 249 points, while Marian amassed 261 points thanks to scoring the most points in the men’s and women’s varsity races. FLC scored the second-most points in every event.
“Marian was tough, and it was a win for us to beat them in the final day of competition,” FLC coach Chad Cheeney said. “Very proud of the 2018 Skyhawk cyclocrossers.”
It was the 43rd national title in Marian’s cycling program history, while FLC has 24. Marian defended the cyclocross national title it won in January in Reno, Nevada. FLC also placed second as a team last year in similar fashion.
“We really had fun in the mud these past few days,” said Cheeney. “After some warm cyclocross seasons, it was rad to get out there and really get muddy.”
Fourteen schools competed for the team omnium. Brevard College finished third with 214 points, while Colorado Mesa University was fourth with 186.
FLC’s team relay consisted of Durango’s Jon Anderson and Katja Freeburn along with Carbondale’s Henry Nadell and Sophie Russenberger of Bend, Oregon. Nadell and Russenberger were FLC’s top individual performers of the week, as both finished fourth in their individual races.
Anderson raced the first lap followed by Freeburn and Russenberger. A frantic final lap saw Nadell almost reel in the leader from Brevard, but FLC fell about 20 seconds short after going into the final lap down 2:30.
“The conditions were even more sloppy compared to (Friday),” Nadell said. “Every one on our relay team dug super deep; super stoked on that. I went full gas from the gun, ended up catching everyone but Brevard, but I was able to close the gap a bit.”
The FLC riders will compete in Sunday’s under-23 championship race to close out a wild week in the mud and rain.