CMU cyclists add another title
Colorado Mesa’s cycling team has a discipline national title to go with its two overall national titles.
The Mavericks won their first track discipline national title over the weekend at the USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships in Colorado Springs.
“Winning an individual event title is definitely a huge achievement,” CMU coach Patric Rostel said. “All the kids get national championship jerseys. For the kids, it’s pretty awesome to have a jersey. You know you’re the best in one discipline.
“What the overall means is you’re the most steady, but it doesn’t mean you’re the best in one discipline.”
Colorado Mesa won the track national title without having its own cycling track. The Mavericks went to the Colorado Springs Velodrome every weekend for three weeks to practice.
“It was definitely challenging,” Rostel said. “When you race road, most likely you are able to race track. The only difference is you can’t brake or shift and you go in circles in track (racing). It’s pretty easy for a road biker, a little bit harder for a mountain biker, but definitely doable.”
In the track discipline, Division II cyclists compete against Division I racers, but are scored separately.
The Mavericks scored 1,077 points. Air Force was a distant second with 854 points.
Colorado Mesa’s women’s pursuit team of Ariana Dittmer, Ariane Horbach, Lexie Millard and Alexis Skarda took second place with a time of 5:19.645.
The men’s pursuit team of Quint Berkemeier, Peter Davis, Zack LaVergne and Morgan Ryan placed seventh in 4:47.833.
“Those team events, that’s where it comes down to strength,” Rostel said. “There’s no hiding. It shows whether you are good or not. Especially with the women’s team second behind Marian and in front of Fort Lewis and CU-Boulder ... those are the powerhouses. That’s a high achievement.”
Skarda placed eighth in the individual omnium.
The track championships have five individual events, with cyclists’ results combined to determine the omnium champion. Although teams are awarded titles for Division I and Division II, the individual awards are combined into one classification.
“I was really excited to do that,” Skarda said. “I didn’t think I would be in contention for an individual omnium placing.
“Mountain biking is my favorite sport, but I do like track. It’s unique and very strategic. It’s about making the right moves at the right time. It’s about pure leg power.”
Skarda was fourth in the individual points race and fifth in the 3-kilometer scratch race to place her eighth in the individual omnium.
Horbach was 14th and Millard was 20th in the omnium.
LaVergne, a freshman, led the men with a 10th-place finish in the individual omnium. Ryan was 29th and Amrah Hubbard was 31st.
“I had a good feeling about it,” LaVergne said. “The whole team went in strong. Once we started racing I felt better and better about it the whole time.”
Horbach, Millard, Berkemeier, Hubbard, LaVergne and Ryan placed third in the team sprint (2:18.196).
Horbach finished seventh in the women’s scratch race. Millard placed ninth and Skarda was 11th.
The trio also finished in the top 30 in the women’s 500-meter time trial. Horbach was 12th (39.390), Millard was 23rd (40.484) and Skarda 29th (41.598).
LaVergne finished eighth in the major final of the men’s scratch race, and Hubbard won the minor final.
Hubbard was the top finisher for the Mavericks in the men’s 1,000-meter time trial, finishing 15th (1:09.555). Ryan finished 22nd (1:09.966) and Berkemeier was 26th (1:10.141).
The Mavericks have placed second in the track nationals twice, Rostel said.
Colorado Mesa won the 2012-13 and 2009-10 Division II overall championships, which combine all five disciplines: track, mountain, cyclocross, BMX and road.
The mountain bike national championships are Oct. 25-27 in Beech Mountain, N.C.