Cole Paton led a Fort Lewis College sweep of the men’s endurance events at collegiate mountain bike nationals Saturday.
A day after Paton won the cross-country mountain bike championship for a second consecutive season, he claimed his second short-track national title in a row at the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships at Big Bear Lakes, California.
Paton crossed the finish line on a tricky course in 26 minutes, 36 seconds to finish a little more than six seconds in front of Colorado Mesa University’s Torbjorn Roed, who Paton also beat in Friday’s cross country race.
“It’s a really raw course,” Paton said of the short-track circuit. “There’s not really any trail on it, just kind of routed around the venue there on some dirt roads. It has awkward, loose corners, and it’s hard to feel confident on it with people sliding out on the corners. It’s a lot more punchy than some courses in the past.”
FLC also earned the top points as a team thanks to three other top-10 finishes. Henry Nadell, who was fourth in cross-country, took third in short track, 10 seconds behind Paton. FLC’s Nash Dory placed fifth in 27:12, while Keiran Eagen of Durango placed eighth for FLC in 27:31.
Also for FLC, Guy Leshem placed 11th. Cooper Wiens did not race a day after he sustained a concussion in the cross-country race.
On top of earning the 80 points as the top men’s team, FLC benefited by seeing Brevard College top Colorado Mesa for second place and 72 points. That gave FLC a 14-point lead on the Mavericks going into the women’s short-track, as the Skyhawks are in search of a third consecutive mountain bike national championship and a 25th national title in program history.
In the women’s short-track, defending national champion Savilia Blunk of Fort Lewis College placed second in 25:06 less than a second behind champion Katie Clouse, an 18-year-old for of Colorado Mesa.
FLC athlete Ellen Campbell of Durango finished fifth in 25:47. Also for FLC, Camryn Sippy was ninth, Stella Sisneros placed 10th and Katja Freeburn was 14th. Madelynn Gerritsen added a 21st-place finish for FLC.
Those results helped FLC maintain a slim points lead in the overall standings going into the dual slalom races. FLC has 312 points, while Colorado Mesa is second with 290 and Brevard College is third with 248.
Downhill and team relay will wrap up the weekend Sunday, and it is likely the team relay will decide the team champion.