VERONA, Wisconsin (VN) — Wisconsin native Kaitlin Antonneau (Marian University) repeated as Division I women’s national champion on Saturday in Verona.
Meanwhile, Erica Zaveta (Brevard College) not only bested the 20 riders in the Division II women’s field — she passed everyone in the Division I field save Antonneau en route to her own ’cross crown in DII.
In DI, Kimberly Flynn (University of North Carolina-Greensboro) placed second to Antonneau, outdueling Sarah Sturm (Fort Lewis College), who rounded out the podium in third.
The DII women started their race one minute behind the DI field, but it didn’t take long for Zaveta to make up the difference and pass 37 of the 38 DI riders.
Indeed, she turned her second of three laps in 14:18, 20 seconds faster than any other collegiate woman completed one circuit of the course.
“It feels really good,” Zaveta said. “I won mountain bike nationals a few years ago. I’ve been kind of struggling to get back, but I think I’m back.
“When I rode the muddy course, I knew that was kind of my deal so I was really excited. When I caught some of the Fort Lewis girls I was like, ‘I must be pretty far ahead,’ and then I heard people say, ‘Go, you’re second.’ I knew that just Kaitie was ahead so it was a pretty good feeling.”
Christina Birch (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), who also passed all but one of the DI riders, placed second, only 1:17 behind Zaveta. Birch, who was one of the recipients of a John Stenner Memorial Scholarship awarded by the USA Cycling Development Foundation, finished 52 seconds ahead of bronze medalist Rebecca Gross (University of Denver).
After Saturday’s collegiate women’s races, Marian University and Brevard College lead the Division I and II team omniums. Fort Lewis College trails Marian University by 11 points in DI while Mars Hill College sits in second place, 11 points behind Brevard College, in DII.
The men’s races on Sunday will determine the event’s team omnium winner.