A few years ago, the Colorado Mesa cycling team skipped the USA Cycling cyclocross nationals.
Now, the Mavericks are showing the program is a force in all disciplines, winning the team omnium cyclocross national title over the weekend, adding to their mountain bike title and runner-up finish in track cycling.
“It was a fantastic weekend,” Patric Rostel, the Mavs’ director of cycling operations, said Sunday as he was making his way back from Lakewood, Washington, with the team’s bikes, gear and another national championship. It was such a good weekend, Rostel didn’t even mind being pulled over at Idaho’s Port of Entry to have the team truck inspected.
With Katie Clouse winning her second national title this year, finishing the women’s varsity race in 51 minutes, 31 seconds, and a third-place finish from Scott Funston (44:06) in the men’s race, the team title came down to the 4X4 team relay.
“In the team relay, normally we never have any luck,” Rostel said.
Instead of a man-woman-woman-man lineup for the relay, the Mavericks put Clouse in the anchor position, which she said was a little pressure, but “it all worked out in the end.”
“Daxton (Mock) had a great start, we were only two seconds back,” Rostel said. “Gwendalyn (Gibson), in her wave she really closed the gap. We told her to stay with the girl, push her a little bit and with Gwen’s competitive nature, she was on that girl and attacked her, put her in the hurt locker. There was about a five or six-second gap leading for Scotty, which was fantastic. The guys came in together and Katie got a hot lap and brought it home.”
Colorado Mesa scored 222 points to win the varsity omnium title, with Brevard College second with 214 and Fort Lewis third with 194.
With two titles and the runner-up finish so far, the Mavericks can win the overall collegiate omnium title if they continue their success at the BMX nationals in April and the road nationals in May.
“It’s going great,” Rostel said of 2019, hoping it continues into 2020. “We’re sitting really good in the overall omnium now, leading by 36, 38 points over Marian, and Marian has always been the team to beat. It becomes more and more reality that maybe we can beat them depending on how the last nationals go.”
Clouse, a freshman from Park City, Utah, had a dream weekend. Not only did she win the varsity women’s race, she won the U23 women’s title on Sunday.
“It was a pretty fast race from the beginning,” said Clouse, who this week heads to Europe for World Cup racing the next several weeks. “I started to feel my lead after the first lap but was trying to stay consistent during the race.
“I knew I could win it when I crossed the finish line. Until then, anything can happen.”
Her collegiate cyclocross race was a thing of beauty, Rostel said.
“Katie took off like a shot from the start and pedaled away from everybody,” he said.
“It was amazing to see. She was riding like on rails, there was nothing that bothered her. It’s great to see in a young, talented athlete.
“Gwen Gibson has never done cross, just mountain biking and a little bit of road work. We said, ‘Why don’t you try this, it’s more up your alley, it’s still in the dirt somewhat.’
“This was probably her second or third proper cross race and she mixed it up with all the girls who have been good for years.”
Gibson finished fourth (53:53), Turner Ramsay was 10th (58:30), Ellie Mitchell 11th (58:57) and Lauren Lackman 12th (58:57), securing the women’s team victory.
Funston was only a half-minute behind the men’s overall winner, with Mock ninth (45:11), Liam Earl 15th (46:36) and Trevor McCutcheon 16th (46:52).
“This year everything coming together and we’re seeing success,” Rostel said.
“This year we were second in track and won mountain bike and cross. That’s phenomenal. That shows we’re going in the right direction.”
Payton Tawater went into the Reno Tournament of Champions with the goal of winning the title.
The Colorado Mesa 157-pounder came away with a podium finish, placing sixth in a bracket stacked with Division I wrestlers.
Tawater was the only Maverick to place in the top six, but CMU was eighth in the team standings, scoring 52.5 points in the 49-team meet.
He pinned his first opponent, then won by major decision before being pinned by Oregon State’s Hunter Willits in the quarterfinals.
Tawater beat Chance McClaine of Oklahoma State 11-5 in his first consolation match, then pinned Joseph Valdez of Cal State Bakersfield. He lost to Matthew Olguin of Fresno State 7-4 in the sixth-place match.
Seth Latham went 3-2 at 174 pounds and Nolan Krone was one win away from placing in the top six at 184.
Indoor Track & Field
Sarah Cerrone and Brooklynn York set school records and national championship provisional marks Saturday at the CU-Colorado Springs Invite Saturday in Colorado Springs.
Kiana Jackson also provisionally qualified for nationals in the triple jump and Justin Thompson did the same in the men’s high jump.
Cerrone cleared 5 feet, 5 3/4 inches in the women’s high jump to break her own school record by a half-inch, which she held with Quincey Pedersen.
York ran a school-record time of 7.51 seconds in the finals of the 60-meter dash, placing third and breaking Whitney Rowe’s record by .01 second.
Jackson’s triple jump of 38-6.25 was good for fourth place in the meet and has her in line to compete at nationals.
Thompson’s high jump of 6-8.75 placed him second on a tiebreaker in the Mavs’ final indoor meet of 2019.