2011 Collegiate Road Nationals Preview: Division II

  
  


Wondering who to watch for at the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships? We’ve asked the experts, the Collegiate Conference Directors, to give us their picks for each category, based on what they’ve seen week in and week out during the regular racing season, which started all the way back in February and just wrapped up this past weekend. Here’s what they had to say. Today we’ll reveal our Division II picks, and tomorrow come back for a preview of the Division I races.
According to the ECCC Directors Joe Kopena and Ian Sullivan, Katie Quinn has a strong chance of doing well this weekend if she gets in a break.
According to the ECCC Directors Joe Kopena and Ian Sullivan, Katie Quinn has a strong chance of doing well this weekend if she gets in a break.

Division II Women

With the winner of last year’s Road Race and Criterium, Arielle Filiberti (Dartmouth College), graduated, the Division II women’s races are wide open. The Conference Directors from the Eastern Conference (ECCC) agree, though, that their conference will retain the National Championship titles for DII women for another year thanks to MIT. “If Katie Quinn and Laura Ralston (MIT) can get away, it's game over,” says ECCC Director Joe Kopena. “Katie finished out of the top two only once or twice this season, and was almost every time away on a breakaway.  Their whole strategy is to TTT every race, so it's all about whether or not they can manufacture that break.” Assistant ECCC Director Ian Sullivan agrees: “Katie Quinn has emerged as a powerhouse in the ECCC.”

Out of the Midwest Conference (MWCCC), though, Assistant Director Matt Jones has confidence in Jennifer Perricone (University of Notre Dame), while Southeast Conference (SECCC) Director Nathan Haslick says, “Consistent finishers Stephanie Bunnett (Mars Hill College) and Catherine Harnden (Union College) look to do well, as well as Lauren DeCrescenzo (Emory University). Any analysis of the DII women’s races, however, would be remiss to diminish the chances of Rocky Mountain (RMCCC) strongwoman Elizabeth Martin (University of Northern Colorado), South Central (SCCCC) star Allie Hurst (Tulane University), the Western Conference’s (WCCC) Traci Kroll (Humboldt State University) or Lindsy Campbell (University of Montana), who soloed to victory in both the criterium and road race in her Northwest Conference (NWCCC) championships.


Division II Men

Last year’s DII Criterium and Individual Omnium champion, Richard Geng (Mesa State College), will return in 2011 and be looking for even more. Spencer Powlison, RMCCC Director, says, “Richard is by far the most aggressive rider this year, and perhaps that I've ever watched in the RMCCC. On multiple occasions, I've seen him get into breakaways throughout the course of a race and still have the juice at the end to win a field sprint if it fails. I could never understand why teams let him get into breaks, but I think he's just too strong to contain, plus the rest of the Mesa kids ride just as aggressively.” Richard is one of Collegiate Cycling’s many foreign nationals, hailing from Germany originally. Over the years, many national titles have gone to non-U.S. citizens studying stateside; this is allowed because the focus of Collegiate Cycling is on a rider’s school, not his or her nationality.
Richard Geng will return to Madison this year with his Mesa State teammates to defend his Criterium title.
Richard Geng will return to Madison this year with his Mesa State teammates to defend his Criterium title.

Richard will face quite the challenging DII field, however, in the form of the MWCCC’s Maxwell Anderson (University of Wisconsin-Platteville) in the road race and Joe Magro (University of Notre Dame) in the criterium. Hailing from the NWCCC will be Steve Fisher (Western Washington University), the reigning Cyclocross National Champion among DII men. SECCC Director Haslick, though, won’t let his conference be forgotten that easily: “Michael Robinson (Mars Hill College) will represent the SECCC as the conference champion, while other contenders from the DII-rich SECCC could be Andy Baker (Furman University) or Alejandro Padilla (Cumberland University).” Also not to be forgotten is Nicky Boulle, Southern Methodist University’s (SCCCC) sole representative at Collegiate Road Nationals this year, while North Central (NCCCC) Director Mark Guthart adds, “Proving there's more to North Dakota than just snow and ice, Erik Sanders (University of North Dakota) has been a consistent factor all season, and could be a dark-horse for the DII races.”

ECCC Director Kopena, though, is confident in his riders, saying with conviction, “Robin Carpenter (Swarthmore College) wins the DII road race.  He won the brutal Easterns road race, with more climbing than Nationals, decisively, and has done extremely well in top tier races lately.” He holds out hope, however for another rider: “Evan Murphy (RISD) is also a very solid bet.  How can he not be with all that hair?” On that latter point, Assistant Director Sullivan agrees: “Evan Murphy is my man.  Despite (or perhaps because of) the pink jersey and the questionable mullet, he is force of nature on a bike.  He doesn't go to bike races, they come to him.  Almost every race he enters, he is the firebrand in the haymow, winning moves jus seem to emerge around him. Some might even call it a killer instinct.”


Division II Team Omnium
Mars Hill and MIT finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, at Collegiate Cyclocross Nationals in December, and they'll both be looking to claim the top podium spot this weekend in Madison.
Mars Hill and MIT finished 2nd and 3rd, respectively, at Collegiate Cyclocross Nationals in December, and they'll both be looking to claim the top podium spot this weekend in Madison.

The most coveted title available in Madison is the Team Omnium, the overall National Championship awarded to the team made of the fastest all around men and women.  With last year’s DII victors, Whitman College, leaving their men at home this year having lost most of their male talent to graduation in 2010, it will be all but impossible to podium, just as it would be for any all male team. This leaves the stage wide open for a new champion.  According to ECCC Director Kopena, "Division II is all about MIT." Sullivan concurs, adding, “MIT looks poised to win a national title, and anything less than abject domination of the women's fields would be a disappointment. They even have a couple of guys who can race bikes this year. With how many good women they have, the burden of victory really rests on their mens' shoulders.  Dust or Glory.” Not to be outdone, SECCC Director Haslick says, “In DII, Mars Hill College looks to improve on their 2nd place at Cyclocross Nationals with their first team omnium championship at Road Nationals. Mars Hill has a very balanced team, with no clear, consistently dominant rider this past season.” Never write off consistent podium finishers with balanced squads Mesa State College and the U.S. Military Academy, both of which look poised to step onto the podium at the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships this weekend.

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This Article Published May 3, 2011 For more information contact:
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