Roberts and Sandoval Crowned First-Ever BMX Freestyle National Champions
Cary, N.C.- On an unseasonably hot day in Cary, N.C., the best BMX Freestyle riders in the U.S. competed for a chance to wear the Stars-and-Stripes jersey at the inaugural USA Cycling BMX Freestyle National Championships. With Sk8-Cary Action Sports Park’s 1200 square feet of ramps, riders had a large area to work with and showcase their skills.
The Elite Women were the first to take the park with 2017 and 2018 World Champions, Hannah Roberts (Buchanan, Mich.) and Perris Benegas (Reno, Nev.) in attendance to vie for the National Title along with four other riders. After the qualifying runs, Benegas and Roberts advanced to the finals along with Chelsea Wolfe (Lake Park, Fla.) and Jesse Gregory (Huntington Beach, Calif.). Roberts, who came into the finals after qualifying first, had a solid run including a back flip over the spine. She handily won the National Title securing 85.75 points to second place Benegas’ 78.75. Roberts’ win makes her not only the first-ever BMX Freestyle World Champion from her 2017 victory, but now also the first-ever BMX Freestyle National Champion.
“It’s awesome, it’s such an honor to be the first National Champion and obviously it was an honor to be the first World Champion as well,” said Roberts, “Just to throw down a run I’m happy with and continue to progress as well as push the sport as a whole makes me happy and is why I do it.”
Benegas just barely edged out Wolfe who claimed the bronze with a score of 78.00. Wolfe’s bronze medal finish marks the first time a transgender athlete has earned a podium position at a USA Cycling National Championship
Next up, the Elite Men took to the park. The field of stand-out riders included reigning World Champion, Justin Dowell (Virginia Beach, Va.). After the qualifying runs, Dowell, along with seven other riders advanced to the finals: Nick Bruce (Cleveland, Ohio), Daniel Sandoval (Corona, Calif.), Kaden Stone (Lake Elsinore, Calif.), Bryce Tryon (Lodi, Calif.), Jacob Thiem (Kennard, Neb.), Nate McCallister (Pasadena, Md.), Keith Schmidt (Holly Springs, N.C.).
After qualifying third, Sandoval put together a solid second run, edging out Dowell and Tryon to earn the top spot with a score of 88.75.
“It’s pretty amazing because it’s the first National Championships, I will always be the first National Champion,” said Sandoval, “I’ve been training a lot and working really hard for this so it’s great to be able to come away with the win.”
The 2019 USA Cycling BMX National Championships kicked off a full weekend of riding at the Sk-8 Cary Action Sports Park which will continue through the weekend with the 2019 Pan-American Continental Championships on Saturday and a UCI C1 competition on Sunday. These competitions give riders opportunities to earn valuable points towards qualifying for the Olympic Games, Tokyo 2020.
USA Cycling will be creating nightly video recaps. For up-to-date information about the 2019 USA Cycling BMX Freestyle National Championships, follow @USACycling across all platforms.
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