First national titles awarded at MTB Cross-Country Nationals


The first Stars-and-Stripes jerseys of the 2011 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships were awarded Friday, following the under-23 and junior cross country races presented by Zions Bank at the Sun Valley Resort in Ketchum, Idaho.

Stephen Ettinger (Cashmere, Wash./BMC Mountain Bike Development) and Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo.) took home national titles in the day’s marquee U23 contests, while Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) and AliciaRose Pastore (Durango, Colo./Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory Development) earned the gold in the junior 17-18 men’s and women’s races.

Ride Sun Valley Day 2 from Team i4 on Vimeo.

By virtue of winning national titles today, the four earned an automatic nomination to the team that will represent the United States at the Union Cycliste International World Championships in Champéry, Switzerland, from Aug. 31-Sept. 4.

Ettinger secured his first under-23 national championship covering five laps of the 3.6-mile course in 1:29.16. After trailing U23 road race national champion Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah/Chipotle Development Team) out of the gate, Ettinger overtook Squire at the top of the first climb and never looked back while traversing the 29-kilometer course. As Ettinger was expanding his lead, Jack Hinkens (Eden Prairie, Minn./BMC Mountain Bike Development) overtook Squire late in the third lap to earn the silver.

“I knew Rob was going to be fast today. He's a total wild card because he hasn't raced mountain bikes this year,” Ettinger said. “I didn't know what he was going to be able to do. I stuck with him to the top of the climb. On the descent, I had it and he didn't. I opened it up a little bit and that allowed me to ride my own race. That made the difference, for sure.”

In the junior men’s 17-18 division, which took off just three minutes behind the U23s, Grotts earned a slight gap in the early stages of the 23.2-kilometer course and held off Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah/Whole Athlete-Specialized) for the win.

“I just wanted to hang with Keegan,” Grotts said. “On the second lap, I managed to get a little gap. You just have to go as hard as you can after you get that.”

Also run concurrently, Lucas Newcomb (Nicasio, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) rode to his first national title in the junior men’s 15-16 division. It was not without challenge however as Keegan Swirbul (Carbondale, Colo.) mounted a late race surge to close within a minute of Newcomb who completed the 23.2-kilometer race in 1:19.11.

“About halfway up the climb (of the last lap), I attacked, kept the pace up and dropped him,” Newcomb explained. “I tried to hold him off at the end and I ended up doing it.”
Jill Behlen won her first-ever national title in the U23 women's race on Friday in Sun Valley.
Jill Behlen won her first-ever national title in the U23 women's race on Friday in Sun Valley.

After several second-place finishes,Behlen earned the first Stars-and-Stripes jersey of her eight-year career, winning the women’s under-23 race by 44 seconds. Behlen completed the first lap of the 23.2-kilometer race in just 18:52, opening a 28-second margin on Kaila Hart (Durango, Colo.), and riding to the title in 1:30:39. Behlen, who competes collegiately for the University of Wyoming, placed fourth in the women’s U23 race at the 2010 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships after placing second in 2009 and 2008 in the junior 15-18.

“There were three of us going up that steep hill together,” Behlen said. “Sarah (Sturm) kinda slipped a pedal, so I got around her, got a little gap and kept it going.”

In the junior women’s 17-18 race, Pastore overcame a minor mechanical issue to win by one minute, nine seconds over Grace Alexander (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS). Pastore, keeping pace with the U23 leaders, completed her three-lap, 17.4-kilometer course just as Behlen set out on her fourth lap. Pastore set a fast early pace, completing the opening lap in 21:12, only 18 seconds faster than Alexander. Pastore was able to open the gap in the final lap and pull away for the gold.

“It was really fun. That climb is super hard and steep,” Pastore said. “At the end of my first lap, there was something really loose on my bike and it was making an awful sound. I was a little nervous for the next two (laps), but everything worked out.”

In the junior women’s 15-16 contest, Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) delivered the largest margin of victory of the morning races, winning by nearly three minutes.

In the junior men’s 13-14 race, Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) rode away with the win ahead of Evan Williams (Big Bear City, Calif.), who earned the silver medal.

Tiziana DeHorney (Albuquerque, N.M./Get Out! New Mexico) posted a 50-second win in the junior women’s 13-14 race over Ksenia Lepikhina (Boulder, Colo./Boulder Junior Cycling-Tokyo Joe's Junior Development).

In the junior men’s 11-12 race, Sean McElroy (Palmdale, Calif.) earned his fourth national title of the year, winning by nearly two minutes. McElroy previously won Stars-and-Stripes jerseys in the cruiser class of BMX in April as well as gold medals in the road race and the criterium in Augusta, Ga.

Two girls from Durango Devo topped the podium of the junior women 11-12 race as Camryn Sippy (Durango, Colo.) and Alli Davis (Durango, Colo.) finished first and second.

Mitchell Baldwin (Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas) and Kate Clouse (Park City, Utah/Cole Sport) took the top spots in the junior men and women 10-and-under races, respectively.

National championship mountain bike racing continues Saturday with the category 1 age group national championships warming things up before the marquee pro cross-country races begin at 12:30 p.m.

Visit the official event webpage of the USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships for more information on the event, including complete schedule, results, photo gallery and more.

USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships
Sun Valley Resort, Ketchum, Idaho
July 14-17, 2011

U23 Men
1. Stephen Ettinger (Cashmere, Wash./BMC Mountain Bike Development Team) 1:29:16
2. Jack Hinkens (Eden Prairie, Minn./BMC Mountain Bike Development Team) 1:32:41
3. Rob Squire (Sandy, Utah/Chipotle Development Team) 1:34:19
4. Menso de Jong (San Luis Obispo, Calif./Wonderful Pistachios Cycling) 1:34:47
5. Kerry Werner (Banner Elk, N.C./BMC Mountain Bike Development Team) 1:35:26

U23 Women
1. Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo.) 1:30:39
2. Kaila Hart (Durango, Colo.) 1:31:23
3. Sarah Sturm (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 1:33:32
4. Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, Calif.) 1:33:38
5. Erica Zaveta (Erwinna, Pa./BMC Mountain Bike Development Team) 1:35:59

Junior Men 17-18
1. Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 1:12:02
2. Keegan Swenson (Park City, Utah/Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:12:22
3. Cypress Gorry (Payson, Ariz./AZ Devo) 1:16:42
4. Max Houtzager (Ross, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:17:30
5. Casey Williams (Big Bear City, Calif.) 1:18:03

Junior Women 17-18
1. AliciaRose Pastore (Durango, Colo./Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory DEVO Sweet Elite) 1:03:15
2. Grace Alexander (Boise, Idaho/BYRDS) 1:04:24
3. Sofia Hamilton (San Anselmo, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:08:46
4. Shayna Powless (Roseville, Calif.) 1:11:01
5. Alexis Ryan (Ventura, Calif./The TEAM-SoCalCross) 1:13:56

Junior Men 15-16
1. Lucas Newcomb (Nicasio, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:19:11
2. Keegan Swirbul (Carbondale, Colo.) 1:19:54
3. Stephan Davoust (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 1:21:10
4. Zachary Carlson (Plano, Texas/Matrix-RBM) 1:24:37
5. Levi Kurlander (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 1:24:37

Junior Women 15-16
1. Kate Courtney (Kentfield, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:08:52
2. Kaylee Blevins (Durango, Colo.) 1:11:42
3. Josie Nordrum (Corte Madera, Calif./Whole Athlete-Specialized) 1:15:03
4. Karen Brocket (Raytown, Mo./Ethos Racing) 1:18:20
5. Britney Wimberly (Central Point, Ore.) 1:20:12

Junior Men 13-14
1. Christopher Blevins (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 43:45
2. Evan Williams (Big Bear City, Calif.) 44:12
3. Zachary Peterson (Bountiful, Utah) 45:10
4. Jacob Sacket (Troy, Texas) 45:21
5. Christian Husband (Corona, Calif./Team Velosport Club-Sho-air-Rock 'n Road) 46:42

Junior Women 13-14
1. Tiziana DeHorney (Albuquerque, N.M./Get Out! New Mexico) 51:05
2. Ksenia Lepikhina (Boulder, Colo./Boulder Junior Cycling-Tokyo Joe's Junior Development Team) 51:55
3. Hailey Swirbul (Carbondale, Colo.) 53:26
4. Haley Batten (Park City, Utah) 57:27
5. Avery Morin (Roseville, Calif./Team Mad Cat) 58:19

Junior Men 11-12
1. Sean McElroy (Palmdale, Calif.) 37:30
2. Nathan Baldwin (Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas) 39:29
3. Jake Yackle (Cortez, Colo.) 39:32
4. Cole Avery (Thousand Oaks, Calif./Fast Friday) 40:04
5. Ross Ellwood (Boulder, Colo.) 40:55

Junior Women 11-12
1. Camryn Sippy (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 39:10
2. Alli Davis (Durango, Colo./Durango Devo) 40:03
3. Luma Randolph (Hailey, Idaho) 40:05
4. Elizabeth Hogan (Louisville, Colo./Justin’s-Titus Mountain Bike) 40:59
5. Elle Williams (Big Bear City, Calif.) 42:03

Junior Men 10 and under
1. Mitchell Baldwin (Fair Oaks Ranch, Texas) 23:14
2. Nye Yackle (Cortez, Colo.) 24:02
3. Bryn Bingham (Sandy, Utah) 24:27
4. William Bobrow (Louisville, Ky./Better Cycling of Louisville) 24:49
5. Kerem Ayhan (Hackettstown, N.J./Team Bulldog) 24:49

Junior Women 10 and under
1. Katie Clouse (Park City, Utah/Cole Sport) 24:58
2. Sydney Palmerleger (Park City, Utah) 26:05
3. Lauren Bingham (Sandy, Utah) 30:41
4. Cheyenne Comer (San Marcos, Calif./San Diego Bicycle Club) 32:30
5. Katherine Roberson (Katy, Texas) 35:21

This Article Published July 15, 2011 For more information contact: