LEBANON, Tenn. – Four Cumberland riders, including Morganne Endicott, Tanner Hurst, Britton Kinnard and Logan Luker participated in the USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclocross National Championships on January 7-8 in Madison, Wis. Cyclocross is held on a closed off-road course, typically 2.5-to-3.5 kilometers in length, taking place on a combination of pavement, grass, dirt and mud while also jumping over multiple barriers.
The team was expecting harsh weather conditions, but was greeted with sunshine and temperatures ranging from 30 to low 40 degrees.
“Everyone was concerned with the possibility of sub-freezing temps, ice and snow, but fortunately Mother Nature smiled on the event,” head coach Tim Hall said.
The Division 2 women kicked off the championship with a 45-minute race that included teams from Mars Hill College, the US Military Academy, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Georgetown University, Univ. of Denver and Chattanooga. Endicott was able to avoid any mishaps or crashes to finish ninth in the event, while Mars Hill’s Mariske Strauss took the victory by 13 seconds over Denver’s Rebecca Gross. The race endured the “frozen tundra” in literal terms, as the early morning race showcased a course filled with frozen ruts from overnight lows in the teens.
“We rode the course before the race started and knew it had potential carnage written all over it. The frozen ruts were deep, sharp and all across the width of the course. Your only option is to mash the pedals and rely on your instincts to stay upright,” Hall said.
The Division 2 men’s teams included Green Mountain College, Mars Hill, Kutztown Univ., Wake Forest, Colorado College, MIT, Univ. of Idaho, Ripon College and the US Military Academy. The men had a heated battle for the top three positions during the first two laps with Hurst battling with Green Mountain’s Jeffrey Bahnson and Mars Hill’s Tim Jenkinson.
Bahnson finally broke free of Hurst while Jenkinson had to fight during the final two laps to regain contact with Hurst. Both Jenkinson and Hurst exchanged attacks to breakaway for second place, but a couple of crashes cost Hurst valuable time, as Jenkinson took second place by 22 seconds.
Kinnard and Luker fought for top finishes as well. Unfortunately, Luker got tangled up in a crash just 500 meters into the 45-minute race and lost valuable time. Kinnard was able to pass through the carnage unharmed into the Top 15 places. Luker gained a lot of time back, but finished 24th overall while Kinnard rolled in at 14th with a time of 51:08. Bahnson won with a time of 44:48, Jenkinson was second in 45:23 and Hurst posted a time of 45:45.
Cumberland was able to secure second place overall in the Division 2 team omnium competition with 117 points, just ahead of the US Military Academy with 108. Mars Hill won the Division 2 championship with 188 points.
“These team result are our best-ever at a national championship. We had high hopes of earning at least one team medal, but we exceeded our expectations to achieve a Silver for the team and Tanner earned a Bronze. We may be a small team, but it’s amazing what just a few dedicated cyclists can achieve.”
With the Silver at cyclocross nationals the team is now ranked second in Division 2 after three national championship events. CU has earned 193 team points, 26 points behind Mars Hill and 14 points ahead of the US Military Academy. The fourth and final national championship event will take place May 4-6 at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals in Ogden, Utah.
“The team has trained hard and raced their hearts out to earn this ranking. None of our results have come easy, which makes being ranked No. 2 more satisfying. We have our work cut-out for us in Ogden to hold on to No. 2 or overtake Mars Hill. Anything is possible,” Hall said.
Team Omnium results – https://www.usacycling.org/events/2012/cxnationals/omnicxresults2012.php
Division 2 women results - https://www.usacycling.org/results/index.php?year=2012&id=17&info_id=44183
Division 2 men results - https://www.usacycling.org/results/index.php?year=2012&id=17&info_id=44185