VERONA, Wisconsin (VN) — After finishing sixth in Saturday’s U23 national championship race, Kerry Werner (Lees-McRae College) was out to prove himself in Sunday’s collegiate Division I contest at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships.
Werner finished the six-lap contest in 53:49, winning by 43 seconds over Joshua Johnson (Marian University). The two rode away from the field during the first lap, but as they entered the pit on the second lap, Johnson crashed, allowing Werner to attack and open an advantage.
Johnson bounced up and gradually reeled Werner back, but the defending national champion attacked again and Johnson was unable to overcome that deficit.
Rotem Ishay Fort Lewis College) placed third, 18 seconds behind Johnson.
“After winning it last year, I wanted to take it again and keep the streak going, so I got that done,” Werner said. “It feels good.
“The biggest thing, I think, was yesterday it was so muddy so you just had to ride it real different. There weren’t really any bike chain issues. It was just a matter of staying as consistent as possible, and not getting into your head too much.”
Robert Rimmer (Virginia Intermont College) captured the day’s first race on the frozen terrain as he pulled away to secure the gold medal in the collegiate men’s Division II contest, earning the school’s first cycling national title.
Rimmer was even through the first lap with Casey Hildebrandt (Ripon College) but steadily increased his advantage as the race wore on and crossed the line first in 47:38. Timothy Jenkinson (Mars Hill College) came on strong to finish in second place, 53 seconds behind Rimmer, while Hildebrandt hung on for the bronze medal with a time of 48:47.
“I knew I wanted to get out front in case somebody went down. I didn’t want to be a part of it,” said Rimmer of the start. “I wanted to get the hole shot and then settle in and see what happens. There was one guy who stayed with me for a little while but then he fell off and the gap just kept increasing after that.”
Marian University and Brevard College won the Division I and II team omniums, respectively.
In DI, Marian topped Fort Lewis College by 22 points. Bolstered by Werner’s win Sunday, Lees-McRae College placed third in the team omnium, 42 points behind Marian.
Brevard College and Mars Hill College tied atop the DII team omnium. Brevard won the tiebreaker due to the victory on Saturday by Erica Zaveta (Brevard College).