CMU cycling finishes third
Colorado Mesa University wrapped up the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Biking Division II Championships with a third place in the team omnium competition Sunday.
Competing in Beech Mountain, N.C., CMU lost to Brevard College (N.C.) and Gunnison’s Western State Colorado University. Brevard, which is just a couple of hours from the Beech Mountain courses, dominated the team standings with 835 points. Western State edged the Mavs 617-605.
The third place was the first time CMU has made the mountain biking podium since 2009.
CMU coach Patric Rostel said it was a satisfying performance for the Mavs, especially considering that both Brevard and Western State concentrate specifically on mountain biking.
The three-day championships included five disciplines.
On Sunday, the Mavs competed in the dual slalom and mixed relay.
The CMU team of Alexis Skarda, Jeff Sikes and Morgan Ryan had a strong second-place performance in the relay.
Derek Johnson of Grand Junction had the top finish for CMU in the men’s slalom with a sixth place. Adam Degemann placed 18th..
Grand Junction’s Ariana Dittmer placed ninth for the CMU women.
The highlight of the three-day competition for CMU came in Saturday’s cross country race when Skarda won her third straight Division II national championship.
“She’s such a great competitor, she just wants to win. It’s great to have someone like her on the team,” Rostel said.
Skarda turned in a dominating performance, winning the race by more than three minutes. Weather made the course slippery and treacherous and was shortened from three laps to two.
“I told her to go all out from the beginning,” Rostel said.
With a long climb at the beginning, the strategy was a perfect fit for Skarda, who jumped out to a quick 30-second lead and kept pouring it on.
She also beat Erica Zaveta of Brevard, who finished in third place. The Brevard rider took advantage of a crash by Skarda in Friday’s short track race to edge the CMU rider for first place.
Skarda will compete for the CMU in the cyclocross national championships in January and that will conclude her collegiate career, Rostel said.
The coach said that the goal for CMU is to have a well -rounded team that competes well at the five different cycling disciplines: track, mountain biking, cyclocross, BMX and road.
The third-place finish over the weekend puts CMU on track for a possible repeat as Division II collegiate cycling national champions.
In late September, the Mavericks won the USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships.
Colorado Mesa University clinched a RMAC tournament berth with a 2-0 win over Adams State on Sunday.
Tim Hofer scored his first goal of the season, which came in the 23rd minute to give CMU a 1-0 lead.
Senior Marco Escobar found the net in the 66th minute for the Mavs. Skylar Roy had the assist.
CMU goalkeeper Brandyn Bumpas picked up his third shutout of the season.
The win secures a top-four finish in the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference for the Mavs.
Colorado Mesa posted nine top-three finishes but fell to BYU 216-64 on Saturday.
Jarren Brinton finished second in the 1,000-yard freestyle and Tyler Kaslik was third for the Mavs.
In the 100 backstroke, Rob Eisendrath was second and Drake Mendelson took third. Kent Olson-Stavrakas finished third in both the 100 and 200 freestyle. Peter Szekely finished third in the 50 freestyle.