Hurricane Korina hits Rock Hill


Korina Huizar wins the final sprint in winning the points race at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track Nationals
Korina Huizar wins the final sprint in winning the points race at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track Nationals. (photo by Weldon Weaver)
Rock Hill, S.C. (August 15, 2014) -- Two thrilling points races highlighted Friday night's action at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships in Rock Hill, S.C. and produced two new national champions in Korina Huizar (Roseville, Calif./Vanderkitten) and Alexandre Darville (Santa Barbara, Calif./Bissell Development Team). Meanwhile, Matthew Baranoski (Perkasie, Pa./Custom Velo) successfully defended his sprint title, while Missy Erickson (San Pedro, Calif./Momentum Coaching Group) became the new national champion in the women's sprint at the Giordana Velodrome.
Nicknamed "Hurricane Korina", Huizar made landfall late in the race and came without much warning to frontrunners Beth Newell (Oakland, Calif./JAKROO Racing Team) and Kimberly Geist (Emmaus, Pa./Team Alliance Environmental). With 30 laps remaining in the 100-lap race, Newell held an 18-15 lead over Geist, with Huizar back in the pack with just six points. As Newell and Geist kept close tabs on each other, Huizar made her move. Working with Emily Thurston (San Pablo, Calif./Threshold Sports p/b Leadout Endurance Coaching), the two riders escaped from the pack and nearly lapped the field in search of a coveted 20-point boost to their point totals. Although they were unable to gain the full lap, Huizar won all of the last three sprints (at 10-lap intervals) to gain a total of 15 points, enough to propel her to the gold medal with 21 points. Geist and Newell both finished with 19 points, with Geist earning the silver medal on the tiebreaker.
"It was a tough race and I just wanted it so bad," said Huizar. "I talked with my coach and you have one strategy going into the race but it's so dynamic, it definitely wasn't the strategy that we had talked about. I saw the opportunity to get away and I took it. Being away I tried my hardest to hold it and to lap, and not being able to fully get the lap but rack up the points gave me the advantage just by two. It was a hard-fought race but I wanted it more than anything and that kept me going to the line. I've got an amazing support system of people who believe in me. Any cyclist has to give up so much and you often question it, but having friends and family who believe in you and keep you going, it makes it all worthwhile and makes a moment like this just mean the world."

Alexandre Darville rides to victory in the points race at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track Nationals
Alexandre Darville rides to victory in the points race at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track Nationals. (photo by Weldon Weaver)
Darville won the men's points race more by sheer power and determination than by surprise, although many may be surprised by the way he has suddenly burst on to the track cycling scene. Having trained on the track with coach Andy Sparks for only the past month, Darville used his superior fitness to lap the field three times and amass a whopping 78 points to easily win the competition. Two-time Olympian Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa./Custom Velo), whom Darville kept a close watch on throughout the race, earned the silver medal with 57 points, while Nicholas Rogers (Philadelphia, Pa./ p/b Felt Bicycles) edged defending points race champion Jackie Simes (Alburtis, Pa./Custom Velo) for third place.
"I've been training in Colorado Springs at the OTC for a month now, so the training that we've been doing is world class," Darville commented. "He's (Sparks) the coach of a lot of good track cyclists and they've followed him around the world now, so he knows what he's doing and pretty much this whole race, actually, he was the director on the sidelines telling me what to do. Of course you have to take the bull by the horns sometimes and go for it without his consent, but he told me what to do for the rest of the time and it worked out great. The main thing was not to go in the first few sprints because those are usually very hectic and incredibly fast, just because everybody's got fresh legs. So, just kind of sit back for the first 30 or 40 laps and after that it was kind of just seeing how my legs were and just attempting to get a lap on the field. Bobby Lea made me suffer today."
Both Huizar and Darville have spent time competing in European road races this year as part of the USA Cycling National Development Program, and both were quick to credit that experience for preparing them for the rigors of the Elite Track Nationals.
"It was a huge factor," said Huizar, who just recently returned from the Team USA base in the Netherlands. "I was fortunate enough to be given the opportunity by USA Cycling as part of their women's development program. I lived over in Holland with two other girls for two months and we mainly raced kermesses. It was just a huge learning opportunity, not only just continuing to develop as a rider but learn the art of racing as well. It was a lot of hard races over there, and to come back over here I definitely had a lot more fitness than I'm used to."
Darville echoed Huizar's sentiments.
"It's helped immensely," he said. "The racing in Europe is top-notch. It's the fastest, hardest racing, and you need to go there to be at a decent level. I was there for two and a half months, actually, this spring and the racing I did definitely developed me for this. It was an amazing opportunity and it's led to this so I can't thank USA Cycling enough."

Missy Erickson celebrates her sprint title at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track Nationals
Missy Erickson celebrates her sprint title at the 2014 USA Cycling Elite Track Nationals. (photo by Weldon Weaver)
In the best-of-three men's and women's sprint finals for the gold and bronze medals, three of the four head-to-head matches went to a third race. The only one that didn't was the men's gold-medal final where defending champ Baranoski powered away from Aaron Kacala (Manitou Springs, Colo.) for the win in two straight races. In the matchup for the men's bronze medal, Danny Robertson (Rolling Meadows, Ill./Custom Velo) needed all three races to edge David Espinoza (Wellington, Fla.) for the final step on the podium.
The women's gold-medal sprint final saw Erickson lose the first race against Wednesday's time trial champion Mandy Marquardt (Allentown, Pa./Team Novo Nordisk), but rebound to take the final two sprints and don the Stars-and-Stripes jersey. In the bronze-medal matchup, Shelby Walter (Los Angeles, Calif./Ritte Van Vlaanderen) and Dana Feiss (Telford, Pa./Chester County Cycling) split their first two races, but it was Feiss getting the better of Walter in the decisive race to claim the bronze medal.
Team pursuit titles were also awarded on Friday, with Darville earning his second national title of the evening as he rode on the winning men's team along with Zack Allison (Fort Collins, Colo.), Adrian Hegyvary (Asheville, N.C./UnitedHealthcare) and Zachary Kovalcik (Portland, Ore./Black Lodge Cycling).
Newell and Geist combined forces along with Jessica Prinner (South Elgin, Ill./Colavita-Fine Cooking) and Tela Crane (Sammamish, Wash./Broadmark Capital) to claim the women's team pursuit title.

On Saturday's penultimate day of competition, national titles will be awarded for the men's and women's keirin and Madison. There will also be qualifying rounds for the men's and women's scratch races.

2014 USA Cycling Elite Track National Championships
August 12-17, 2014
Rock Hill, S.C.


Women's Points Race

1.  Korina Huizar (Roseville, Calif.)    Vanderkitten  21 
2.  Kimberly Geist (Emmaus, Pa.)   Team Alliance Environmental   19 
3.  Elizabeth Newell (Oakland, Calif.)   JAKROO Racing Team   19 

Men's Points Race

1.  Alexandre Darville (Santa Barbara, Calif.)   UCI CT: Bissell Development Cycling   78 
2.  Bobby Lea (Mertztown, Pa.)   Custom Velo   57 
3.  Nicholas Rogers (Philadelphia, Pa.) pb Felt Bicycle   35 

Women's Sprint

1.  Melissa (Missy) Erickson (San Pedro, Calif.)   Momentum Coaching Group p/b Atomic    
2.  Mandy Marquardt (Allentown, Pa.)   Team Novo Nordisk    
3.  Dana Feiss (Telford, Pa.)   Chester County Cycling Foundation    

Men's Sprint

1.  Matthew Baranoski (Perkasie, Pa.)   Custom Velo    
2.  Aaron Kacala (Manitou Springs, Colo.)       
3.  Danny Robertson (Rolling Meadows, Ill.)   Custom Velo    

Men's Team Pursuit

1.  Zack Allison (ARLINGTON VA)   COMBOS   4:28.327 
1.  Adrian Hegyvary (Asheville, N.C.)   COMBOS   4:28.327 
1.  Alexandre Darville (Santa Barbara, Calif.)   COMBOS   4:28.327 
1.  Zachary Kovalcik (Portland, Ore.)   COMBOS   4:28.327 
2.  Jacob Duehring (Irvine, Calif.)   ARTAX!   4:28.598 
2.  Liam Donoghue (GLEN ELLYN IL)   ARTAX!   4:28.598 
2.  Stefan Rothe (Austin, Texas)   ARTAX!   4:28.598 
2.  Zachary Carlson (Plano, Texas)   ARTAX!   4:28.598 
3.  Joseph Wentzell (Philadelphia, Pa.)   QCW CYCLING   4:40.102 
3.  Nicholas Rogers (Philadelphia, Pa.)   QCW CYCLING   4:40.102 
3.  Matthew Furlow (Philadelphia, Pa.)   QCW CYCLING   4:40.102 
3.  Jeremy Shirock (Emmaus, Pa.)   QCW CYCLING   4:40.102 

Women's Team Pursuit

1.  Tela Crane (Sammamish, Wash.)   WOMEN TP 2   4:50.330 
1.  Kimberly Geist (Emmaus, Pa.)   WOMEN TP 2   4:50.330 
1.  Elizabeth Newell (Oakland, Calif.)   WOMEN TP 2   4:50.330 
1.  Jessica Prinner (South Elgin, Ill.)   WOMEN TP 2   4:50.330 
2.  Erin Goodall (Portland, Ore.)   WEST COAST   OVR 
2.  Heather Ross (Felton, Calif.)   WEST COAST   OVR 
2.  Emily Thurston (San Pablo, Calif.)   WEST COAST   OVR 
2.  Kate Wilson (Los Angeles, Calif.)   WEST COAST   OVR 



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