Cross-Country races start Collegiate Mountain Bike Nats


The men’s and women’s cross-country races opened the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships Friday at the Angel Fire Bike Park in Angel Fire, N.M. Inclement weather two days prior to the start of the event left eight inches of snow behind forcing the riders to contend with muddy and icy sections of the cross-country course.

Lauren Catlin won the women's Division I cross-country race for Fort Lewis College.
Lauren Catlin won the women's Division I cross-country race for Fort Lewis College.
Fort Lewis College dominated the men’s and women’s races as Howard Grotts (Durango, Colo.) and Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, Calif.) won for the Skyhawks. The men from Fort Lewis College posted the top three spots as two-time defending cross-country champion Rotem Ishay (Durango, Colo.) and Gregory Carpenter (Durango, Colo.) placed second and third, respectively.

Grotts, who became the first American junior to win a World Cup race after winning in Windham, N.Y. in July, dominated the men’s race. He opened a lead eclipsing five minutes heading into the last of three laps. Despite incurring a flat tire during the last lap, Grotts cruised to the finish line in 2:04.44. Ishay completed the course in 2:11.40, three seconds ahead of Carpenter.

"This was awesome. This is the first time I've raced in conditions like this. I was pretty happy with my race," Grotts said. "I came by Rotem on one of the switchbacks. I kept it in a low gear and was spinning a lot. I opened it up and settled in."

In the women’s race, Catlin took an early lead and held on to win by 63 seconds over second-place Ashley James (Dousman, Wisc./Appalachian State University). The winner of the women’s U23 race at the 2011 USA Cycling Mountain Bike Cross-Country National Championships, Jill Behlen (Boulder, Colo./University of Wyoming), earned the bronze medal.

Matt Schiff recorded his first national championship topping the men's Division II cross-country.
Matt Schiff recorded his first national championship topping the men's Division II cross-country.
The best time among all of the women belonged to the winner of the women’s Division II competition. Alexis Skarda (Boulder, Colo./Colorado Mesa University) bested the 25-rider field to earn the Stars-and-Stripes jersey with a time of 1:50.23. Skarda, who has a well-decorated background in running, estimated she spent 60 percent of the time riding her bike uphill, leaving 40 percent to her utilizing those running skills to pushing her bike up the steep climb.

“This is my first year cycling,” Skarda said. “I had no idea what the competition was. I was just going to come out here and grind it and see what happens. I was hoping for top 3 in DII.”

Rebecca Gross (Durango, Colo./University of Denver) was 3:42 behind Skarda in second place and Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, Calif./California Lutheran University) overcame a broken chain to secure the bronze medal.

In the men’s competition, Matt Schiff (Fort Collins, Colo./Humboldt State University) earned his first national championship after finishing the course in 2:20.03. The silver-medalist Sam Chovan (Steamboat Springs, Colo./University of Denver) was 15 minutes behind Schiff and only 21 seconds ahead of bronze-medalist Benjamin Senkerik (Ripon, Wisc./Ripon College).

The competition continues Saturday, as riders will contest the short-track cross-country and downhill.

Visit the official event webpage of the 2011 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships for more information on the event, including competition guide, complete schedule, results, photo gallery and more. Follow the event on Twitter, using hashtag #CollNats.

USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships
October 28-30, 2011
Angel Fire, N.M.


Men - Division 1
1. Howard Grotts (Durango, CO/Fort Lewis College) 2:04:44
2. Rotem Ishay (Durango, CO/Fort Lewis College) 2:11:40
3. Gregory Carpenter (Durango, CO/Fort Lewis College) 2:14:42
4. Bradford Perley (Banner Elk, NC/Lees-McRae College) 2:16:31
5. Kerry Werner (Banner Elk, NC/Lees-McRae College) 2:16:32
Men - Division 2
1. Matt Schiff (Fort Collins, CO/Humboldt State University) 2:20:03
2. Sam Chovan (Steamboat Springs, CO/University of Denver) 2:35:52
3. Benjamin Senkerik (Ripon, WI/Ripon College) 2:36:13
4. Wesley Lamberson (Limestone, TN/Union College-KY) 2:38:03
5. Taylor Schmidt (Littleton, CO/Colorado School of Mines) 2:38:42
Women - Division 1
1. Lauren Catlin (Fairfax, CA/Fort Lewis College) 1:53:31
2. Ashley James (Dousman, WI/Appalachian State University) 1:54:34
3. Jill Behlen (Boulder, CO/University of Wyoming) 1:56:11
4. Deidre York (Indio, CA/University of Colorado-Boulder) 1:57:25
5. Claire Bensard (Denver, CO/University of Colorado-Boulder) 1:58:30
Women - Division 2
1. Alexis Skarda (Boulder, CO/Colorado Mesa University) 1:50:23
2. Rebecca Gross (Durango, CO/University of Denver) 1:54:05
3. Essence Barton (Thousand Oaks, CA/California Lutheran University) 2:13:05
4. Elisa Otter (Montpelier, VT/Union College-KY) 2:13:30
5. Angela Vitulli (Gunnison, CO/Western State College of Colorado) 2:16:57

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