Things Shaking up At Track Nationals
For the second time this week, the VELO Sports Center in Carson, Calif. experienced an earthquake, this time with a magnitude of 7.1. The 2019 USA Cycling Junior, Elite, & Para-cycling National Championships continued through the rumbling and six national champions were named on the fourth day of the event.
For sprinters the day started off early with the 200-meter qualifying event first thing in the morning session. James Mellen (Schnecksville, Pa.; Edge Cycling) would set the fast time for the day with a 10.117, marking him as the man to beat throughout the competition. He was over two-tenths of a second faster than the next rider. Mellen would use this speed to dominate the competition and earn the Stars-and-Stripes jersey. Mellen had previously won the title in 2017.
“I graduated from Penn State with a degree in bio-medical engineering in 2018. Trying to balance school and cycling was a little challenging, but this year I was fully focused on cycling. When I could do that I was able to do better”, said Mellen about his marked improvement over his performance in 2018.
Sandor Delgado (Hialeah, Fla.), part of the winning team from Thursday’s team sprint and second fastest qualifier of the day, would take home silver. Rex Ainsle (Fallbrook, Calif.; Performance Cycle Coaching) would round out the podium.
Fellow T-town-based rider Mandy Marquardt (Allentown, Pa.; Team Novo Nordisk) would take the women’s sprint title. Marquardt set the second fastest time of the day for women, and use tactics to overcome the top-seeded rider Madalyn Godby (Louisville, Colo.). Sophia Shuhay (New Tripoli, Pa.; Star Track Racing), the recently crowned junior women’s sprint champion, would take the bronze in the elite women’s field.
Elite International Omnium
Bronze medalist at last season’s UCI Track Cycling World Championships in the International Omnium, Jennifer Valente (San Diego; Sho-Air TWENTY20), would go on to earn her fifth national title in that event. Valente was in command of the event through all four races, earning first place points in each event prior to the final points race.
“Every time you win a national championship it’s really special. Going into an Olympic year, the international omnium, particularly for me, was and is going to be a focus for me”, said Valente about what this title means to her.
Christina Birch (Los Angles; Foundation for American Track Cycling Ambassador) would improve upon her 2018 bronze medal in this event, and take home silver. Kim Geist (Emmaus, Pa.; The Velo Shop/LWA Racing) placed third.
Gavin Hoover (Redondo Beach, Calif.; Elevate-KHS) would accumulate 204-points over the course of the four-event omnium, driven by the three laps he took during the final event of the omnium, the points race. Going into the final, Adrian Hegyvary (Asheville, N.C., Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team) would stay right with Hoover during the points race, and end up taking the silver. Daniel Holloway (Boulder, Colo.; Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team), last year’s omnium champion, would take home the bronze this year
16 & Under Omniums
The 13-14 omnium concluded with the points race on Friday. For the women, Divya Verma (Breinigsville, Pa.; Edge Cycling) and Katie Smock (Indianapolis, Ind.; Midwest Devo) went into the points race tied at 3 points each. Verma is able to win the points race, and
clinches the win of the omnium, Becoming the 13-14 Junior Women’s national champion. Smock would take home the silver. Natalie Wang (San Diego; SDBC powered by Spinergy p/b UC Cyclery) would finish third.
On the men’s side of the 13-14 races, Johnny Rhodes Delbridge (East Point, Ga.; North Georgia Cycling Assoc.) went into the points race with six points and a solid lead over his next closest competitor. Delbridge would place fifth in the points, which was good enough to maintain his lead in the omnium. Grayson Hauck (Allentown, Pa.; Gotham Cyclists), winner of the first scratch race of the omnium, would place second in the points race, and take home the silver. Connell Alford (Chelsea, Mich.; American Cycling League – Detroit), would take home bronze with a total of 15 points.
Enzo Edmonds (Brooklyn, N.Y.; Star Track Racing), winner of the 11-12 men’s scratch race on Thursday, would go 2-0 and win the second event of the 11-12 men’s omnium. He maintains his leader status in that omnium. Emma Jimenez Palos (Plymouth, Mich.; American Cycling League – Detroit) charge into the final sprint for the second scratch of the 11-12 women’s omnium, and secure her victory. Alexis Jaramillo (Colorado Springs, Colo.; Front Rangers Junior Cycling), winner of the first event of the 11-12 women’s omnium, would place second in this event, and secure her lead in the omnium.
The four-event 15-16 omnium, which consists of points, tempo, scratch, and elimination races, begun on Friday, with the racers competing in the scratch and tempo races. For the women, Makayla McPherson (Corona, Calif.; Sho-Air Twenty20 Development) would win the tempo race and place second in the scratch to take an early lead in the women’s omnium. Chloe Patrick (Carson, Calif.; Team Velosport Junior & U23 Development Rock N Road Cyclery) and Kelly Dahlin (Bellevue, Wash.; Jerry Baker Juniors) are tied for second with five points each.
Winning both events so far of the 15-16 men’s omnium, Grant Carter (Macungie, Pa.; Team T Town) is currently leading. Will Sharp (Katy, Texas; Hot Tubes Development Team) is sitting second in the omnium after his silver medal ride in the tempo race. Brian Luciano (Katy, Texas; Northwest Cycling Club) is third going into Saturday with seven points.
Saturday’s schedule features elite keirins, madisons & individual Pursuit, and the junior individual pursuits and scratch races, and the conclusion of the younger junior omniums.
The event will be live streamed during the evening sessions beginning Thursday July 4 through Sunday July 7 on USA Cycling’s YouTube channel.