CU Cycling Earns National Championship Invitation, Padilla Wins Individual Title
Thursday, October 18, 2007
Oct. 18, 2007

Over the past weekend, the Cumberland University Cycling team wrapped up its regular season in mountain biking at the SECCC Conference Championships hosted by Clemson University. The CU Cycling team competed in four separate events at Clemson and earned enough team points to qualify for the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships next week at Banner Elk, N.C.

Going into the last race of the season, the CU Cycling team was in third place behind ETSU by 51 points overall in Division II. Once the dust had settled at Clemson, the CU team secured second place with a 1,021 point advantage over third-place Brevard College and 1,102 points ahead of eventual fourth-place finisher ETSU. Warren Wilson College had handily secured first place prior to the Clemson events while a fierce battle for second place was due to rules stating on the top two teams would qualify for the national championship. A third-place team finish by Cumberland would have meant only three of the team's top riders would have received an invitation to the national championship, but second place secured a full team invitation.

The races held at Clemson were the same type of events Cumberland will compete in at Banner Elk: short-track, cross country, dual slalom and the downhill. At Clemson, the highlights for CU were Alex Padilla taking fourth in the men's downhill and seventh place in the cross country events, while Karen Amundson snagged third in the women's downhill and fourth in the short-track. Padilla hails from Guatemala City, Guatemala, and Amundson is from Seattle, Washington.

"Our kids have raced their hearts out every week and flat out earned the opportunity to compete in the National Championship. The SECCC conference is one of the most competitive in the country, so to qualify for nationals as a team is a big accomplishment for our program. Our team's success is due to having much more depth as well as several highly talented riders like Alex and Karen consistently placing high," CU Cycling Team Director Tim Hall said.

Consistency is what also led to Cumberland's Alex Padilla earning the overall SECCC Individual Conference Title for the Men's A Division. Padilla's success at Clemson resulted in him totaling 1,278 points overall for the season, narrowly beating out Pat Hurley of Warren Wilson and Alex Ohman of ETSU, who earned 1,271 and 1,266 points, respectively.

"Alex proved to be the best at being consistent in every discipline. This is a big accomplishment for such a young rider. Some riders are excellent at one or two, but Alex is good at all of them and only going to get better," Hall noted.

Other overall top individual performers for CU Cycling were Karen Amundson finishing fifth in the Women's A Division, while Jeremy Chambers of Murfreesboro finished in seventh place in Men's A.

Amundson is currently the only female rider in the Cumberland Cycling program.

"Without Karen near the  top in the women's races, we'd be sitting in fourth place staring up at the competition," Hall said. "Karen's success has been crucial to our overall success. Having her here at CU gives our program legitimacy, more notoriety, and I am excited to have the opportunity to build our women's team around her."

Regarding the upcoming championship races, Hall continued, "We have had some memorable moments throughout the season, but next week are the only races everyone will remember. We have our work cut out for us, but we're ready for the challenge."

The CU Cycling team leaves next Wednesday to prepare for the National Championship, which will be held in Banner Elk from Friday, Oct. 26 through Sunday, Oct. 28. Stay abreast of news and results about CU Cycling from Banner Elk by visiting or