Cross-country races start 2012 Collegiate Mountain Bike Nats

  
  


Howard Grotts earned his second consecutive Division I men's cross-country national title. (Photo by Jonathan Devich)
Howard Grotts earned his second consecutive Division I men's cross-country national title. (Photo by Jonathan Devich)
Angel Fire, N.M. (October 19, 2012) — Over 200 of the country's best collegiate mountain bikers competed on the first day of the 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships at the Angel Fire Resort in Angel Fire, N.M. The event opened with cross-country races and downhill seeding runs under beautiful, sunny skies and mild temperatures.

Division I

Men's Cross-Country
The day's first race pitted the country's best Division I men's cross-country racers against each other. Fort Lewis College dominated the men's race as the Skyhawks occupied the top three spots of the podium.

Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) secured his third consecutive collegiate national title, including the last two Division I men's cross-country national titles. Grotts opened a 30-second lead at the top of the first climb and systematically opened a larger gap on the field as he turned four laps of the 18.8-mile course.

In the end, Grotts finished in 1:45:32, winning by 7:24 over his teammate, Rotem Ishay (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College). Freshman rider Garrett Lundberg (Salida, Colo./Fort Lewis College) placed third, 1:34 behinid Ishay.

"I wanted to test the waters and see who else would be up with us," Grotts said. "Once I got that initial gap, I decided I would just try to keep it if I could."

Women's Cross-Country
The women's race played out similarly. Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, Calif./Fort Lewis College), who also won the women's under-23 race at the 2012 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships, repeated as the Division I women's cross-country national champion. Catlin opened a large margin on the first of three laps, leaving the field to fight for second.

Catlin completed the 14.1 miles in 1:46:12, to win the race by nearly two minutes over her teammate Sarah Sturm (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College). Deidre York (Indio, Calif./University of Colorado-Boulder) was only 47 seconds behind Sturm in third place. Sturm, York and Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./University of Wyoming) dueled throughout the contest for second place.

"It's been a really long season for me," Catlin said. "I impressed myself today because I thought I'd be totally burned out. I've been racing since March with a big break over the summer. I just hoped I could last until now."

Division II

Men's Cross-Country

Alexis Skarda repeated as Division II women's cross-country national champion. (Photo by Jonathan Devich)
Alexis Skarda repeated as Division II women's cross-country national champion. (Photo by Jonathan Devich)
The Division II men's cross-country race was the most competitive race of the day. Richard Cypress Gorry (Brevard, N.C./Brevard College) was battling with his teammate, hometown rider Lewis Gaffney (Angel Fire, N.M./Brevard College) throughout the majority of the four-lap, 18.8-mile contest. Gorry pulled away from Gaffney late in the penultimate climb and cruised to the finish line in 1:59:07. Gaffney placed second, 1:17 behind Gorry. Michael Burleigh (Denver, Colo./University of Denver) earned the bronze medal, finishing the race in 2:05:00.

"For a while, I was in first and my teammate Lewis Gaffney was in second," Gorry said. "I was feeling really good today. It's nice to have the support from a great coaching staff from Brevard to make the trip really easy for us. We (Gaffney and Gorry) were riding together all week here. It really helped a lot having him show me the lines and whatnot."

Women's Cross-Country
The highly-anticipated Division II women's race was stacked with talent. Defending national champion Alexis Skarda (Boulder, Colo./Colorado Mesa University) needed a strong performance to hold off other talented riders like Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./Brevard College) and Rebecca Gross (Lakewood, Colo./University of Denver).

Those three ladies did not disappoint as they vied for position from the start. After the first of three laps, Skarda and Gross took the lead with Zaveta charging hard in third place. Gradually, Skarda and Gross pulled away from the field, making it a two-woman race for the Stars-and-Stripes jersey.

During the last climb, Skarda, who rebounded from an early crash, attacked Gross. The defending short track cross-country national champion could not match Skarda's motor allowing her to coast to victory.

Skarda won by 1:05 over Gross while Zaveta placed third, 5:21 behind Gross. Skarda and Gross each completed their 14.1-mile race faster than Catlin completed the same distance. Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif./California Lutheran University) and Elisa Otter (Montpelier, Vt./Union College-Ky.) round out the top five.

“It was a really good battle," Skarda said. "I think we were both just hanging on for dear life for most of the race and challenging each other throughout the race. I would try to pass her and she would speed up and we would throw in random surges. Finally I got a little bit of a lead and surged up a hill and got a little bit of a gap.”

Downhill Seeding
In the Division I men's downhill seeding, John Swanguen (San Diego, Calif./Lindsey Wilson College) will be the top seed after completing his run in 2:42.17. The defending Division I men's national champion, Joey Schusler (Boulder, Colo./University of Colorado-Boulder), finished his seeding run in second place, 4.19 seconds behind Swnaguen. Zach Graveson (Pagosa Springs, Colo./Fort Lewis College) was third, finishing the course in 2:47.47.

Brittany Clawson (Sandpoint, Idaho/Fort Lewis College) topped the Division I women's downhill seeding run with a time of 3:34.17. Terah Blake (Albuquerque, N.M./University of New Mexico) finished her run in 3:37.52 while Madison Pitts (Lake Worth, Fla./Lindenwood University) placed third with a time of 3:40.97.

Paul Mayes (Homer, Ill./Michigan Technological University) secured the top spot in the Division II men's downhill seeding run, after completing the course in 2:55.38. Owen Tulip (North Conway, N.H./Western State Colorado University) took second place, finishing only .77 seconds behind and four hundredths of a second ahead of Matthew Callahan (Reading, Mass./Wentworth Institute of Technology), who placed third.

Ariana Altier (Chico, Calif./California State University-Chico) topped the Division II women's field by just under 26 seconds. Altier completed the course is 3:17.83 while her closest competitor, Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif./California Lutheran University), completed the course in 3:43.50. Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./Brevard College), who finished third in the cross-country race earlier in the day, posted the third-fastest time, 3:50.07.

Omnium Update

After the first day of competition, Fort Lewis College holds a 22-point lead in the Division I team omnium competition. After sweeping the top three spots of the men's race and winning the top two spots of the women's race, the Skyhawks earned the maximum 188 points on the first day. The University of Colorado-Boulder is in second place with 166 points after three of its riders appeared in top five of the men's and women's races. Lees-McRae College sits in third place with 129 points. Colorado State University is only one point out of third and the University of Wyoming holds fifth place with 111 points.

Brevard College holds a narrow lead atop the Division II team omnium competition with 167 points. Union College-Ky. is only one point back while Colorado Mesa University is in third place with 143 points, 14 points ahead of fourth-place Western State Colorado University. The University of Denver sits in fifth place with 99 points.

Saturday’s racing features the short track cross-country races in the morning and early afternoon before the downhill competition completes the day’s action later in the afternoon.

Visit the official event webpage of the 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships for more information on the event, including the required eligibility form, complete schedule, eligibility and qualification information, course maps, results, photo gallery, omnium standings and more. Additionally, you can follow the event on Twitter using the hashtag #CollNats.

2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships
October 19-21, 2012
Angel Fire, N.M.

FULL RESULTS

TEAM OMNIUM STANDINGS

PHOTO GALLERY

Division I Men
1. Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 1:45:32
2. Rotem Ishay (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 1:52:56
3. Garrett Lundberg (Salida, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 1:54:30
4. Ryan Ellis (Lusaka Zambia/University of Colorado-Boulder) 1:56:28
5. Samuel Morrison (Butler, Pa./University of Colorado-Boulder) 1:57:37

Division I Women
1. Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, Calif./Fort Lewis College) 1:46:12
2. Sarah Sturm (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 1:48:04
3. Deidre York (Indio, Calif./University of Colorado-Boulder) 1:48:51
4. Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./University of Wyoming) 1:49:38
5. Abigail Mickey (Aspen, Colo./University of Colorado-Boulder) 1:50:38

Division II Men
1. Richard Cypress Gorry (Brevard, N.C./Brevard College) 1:59:07
2. Lewis Gaffney (Angel Fire, N.M./Brevard College) 2:00:24
3. Michael Burleigh (Denver, Colo./University of Denver) 2:05:00
4. Wesley Lamberson (Limestone, Tenn./Union College-KY) 2:05:30
5. Timothy Jenkinson (Mars Hill, N.C./Mars Hill College) 2:07:42

Division II Women
1. Alexis Skarda (Boulder, Colo./Colorado Mesa University) 1:43:20
2. Rebecca Gross (Lakewood, Colo./University of Denver) 1:44:25
3. Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./Brevard College) 1:49:46
4. Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif./California Lutheran University) 1:56:04
5. Elisa Otter (Montpelier, Vt./Union College-Ky.) 1:56:20



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