The first national titles of the 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships were awarded Friday in the team time trial. Fort Lewis College and Duke University (Division I and II respectively) bested the fields in the men’s races, while Marian University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) used strong efforts to repeat as champions in the women’s Division I and II events.
The men’s Division I proved the most competitive race of the day as the top five were separated by less than 30 seconds. Fort Lewis College fired on all cylinders to edge Stanford University by just four seconds. The final riders out on the course, two-time defending champions Marian University, crossed the line to finish in third, just five seconds behind Stanford.
“It’s pretty awesome. We didn’t win a single conference [team time trial] race this year, but it came together on the more important day,” said Fort Lewis’ Payson McElveen. Joining McElveen was Griffin Easter, Rotem Ishay and Willy Zellmer – all the riders hail from Durango.
“We worked really hard on being cohesive during the training, and I think we got the flow just really dialed in today,” Ishay said. “I think that matters the most in the team time trial because it’s not how strong you are or how fast you can go, but how you can work as a team to pull the whole group together. I think that’s what made the day. We just made it really good as a whole team.”
The Division II race saw Duke victorious, coming off a fourth-place finish a year ago. The squad of Matthew Rinehart (Durham), Gael Hagan (Durham), Baard Haugen (Durham) and Matthew Howe (Raleigh) covered the course in 42 minutes, 22 seconds, besting the previous fastest time of the day, set by MIT, by 31 seconds.
The Blue Devils and MIT then watched as both Mars Hill College and defending champs Colorado Mesa University (formerly Mesa State College) failed to upend the leading teams, finishing in third and fourth, respectively.
The women’s Division I race was business as usual for Indiana’s Marian University, who sped to their third-straight national title in the race of truth.
Boasting a lineup of riders with multiple stars-and-stripes jerseys across several disciplines, the Knights team of Kaitlin Antonneau (Racine, Wisconsin), Jacqueline Kurth (Palm City, Florida), Sinead Miller (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) and Coryn Rivera (Tustin, California) finished more than a minute and a half ahead of the University of Colorado, Boulder, while the University of California, Davis took third.
The women’s Division II race began the day, with MIT the final team to leave the start house. The defending champs crushed the competition, completing the 32-kilometer course just over three minutes faster than second place Mars Hill College, who in turn edged the U.S. Military Academy by nine seconds.
“[We were] trying to conserve energy as much as possible on the way out, even though it’s tempting to go fast and hard with a tailwind,” said MIT’s Yuri Matsumoto (Cambridge).
“When we initially turned around and hit the headwind, we really had to take a couple of minutes to figure out the best configuration and how hard we needed to go so that everyone could stay comfortable and ride well together,” added Matsumoto’s teammate Katie Quinn (Cambridge). Christina Birch (Somerville) and Laura Ralston (Cambridge) completed the MIT squad.
Team Omnium Standings
After one day of racing, Marian University holds a 17-point lead over Fort Lewis College in the Division I standings. Stanford is tied in points with University of Colorado, Boulder, followed by the University of California, Davis in fifth.
In Division II, MIT’s 177 points lead Mars Hill College by 21 points. The riders from West Point are in third, followed by Cumberland University. With their men’s TTT win Duke University is in fifth.
Racing continues on Saturday in downtown Ogden with the criterium.