Mavericks’ Ryan third in criterium
A second straight criterium national title just wasn’t meant to be for Colorado Mesa University’s Patric Rostel, but it was still an impressive day for the Mavericks.
Competing in Ogden, Utah, in the second day of the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals, CMU placed two riders in the top 10 in the Division II criterium race, and the four-man team picked up a bronze medal.
CMU’s Morgan Ryan had a great race and finished third, getting nipped at the finish line in a mass sprint of more than 30 riders.
Ryan had a time of 1:13.47, and Michael Mulvihill of Duke and Matt Lyons of the University of Denver clocked the same time of 1:13.46. Mulvihill won the gold medal and Lyons settled for silver.
Rostel placed seventh, only two seconds behind the winner at 1:13.48.
Rostel’s attempt to repeat as national champion in the criterium served as an example of how tough it can be to make the podium when the race comes down to the final sprint. A matter of inches, pedal strokes and a couple of seconds was the difference between gold or something else.
Last year, Rostel broke free down the stretch to grab the win without being challenged at the finish line. This year, no rider was able to separate from the main pack, and it was evident as they turned for home that it would come down to sprinting power, being in the right position and not getting boxed in.
“The criterium is always hectic,” Rostel said via phone Saturday. “It’s always a gamble, and you can’t really predict the outcome.”
The CMU rider and coach was pleased with Ryan’s performance.
“We had Morgan in the final group, and it was a really good race for him,” Rostel said.
Criterium riders raced for 75 minutes, making laps in downtown Ogden, then turned up the intensity full blast on the final lap.
Quint Berkemeier placed 21st for CMU and was only five seconds off the winner’s time. Gabriel vanderMerwe was the fourth rider for CMU’s bronze-medal team.
In the women’s criterium, CMU’s three-person team continued to have a strong showing at nationals after not qualifying a single rider last year.
Ariana Dittmer, from Grand Junction, finished 14th with a time of 59:12, and Lexie Millard, also from Grand Junction, placed 18th at 59:17.
Like the men’s race, the women’s field battled down the stretch in a frantic final sprint, with 15 riders finishing within four seconds of the winner.
The top three riders all had the same time of 59:09, with Rose Long of Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai in New York taking gold.
Gretchen Carow was the third member of the CMU team.
Today, CMU will finish nationals with the 80-mile road race.
At the end of the day, the Mavericks will find out if they are the overall team national champion. The Mavericks came into the weekend with a 13-point lead over Mars Hill College (N.C.).
In the criterium, the top three Mars Hill riders placed fourth, 13th and 18th. The Mavericks placed third, seventh and 21st.
In the women’s criterium, CMU riders placed 14th, 18th and 29th and Mars Hill riders placed 17th, 28th and 32nd.
The overall team title is determined by points accumulated by the men’s and women’s teams throughout the season.
Rostel is cautiously optimistic that as the sun begins to set behind the Utah mountains that the Mavericks will be crowned national champs.
“I’m pretty confident that we will win the overall team championship,” he said.
The CMU men’s team will have six riders in the road race, which includes a steep climb late in the race.