"Cyclists compete at the Collegiate National Track Cycling Championships
More than 120 collegiate cyclists from around the country gathered at the Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis for the Collegiate National Track Cycling Championships last weekend.
Cold, wind and sporadic rain could not prevent Marian College, our local division one cycling team, from winning the Collegiate National Track Cycling Championships for the ninth time in 11 years. On their home track, Marian bested Indiana University, Penn State and nearly two dozen other universities from across the country. The endurance of all the competitors was tested when the normal program of two racing sessions per day was abandoned for marathon full-day sessions in an attempt to beat the weather. Many racers found themselves finishing an individual event only to immediately take the starting line for a team event.
Indiana University’s performances were notable, with Indianapolis-based rider Bri Kovac winning the women’s 2,000 meter pursuit with a narrow margin of less than a second over Andrea Fisk of the University of Portland. Kovac’s consistency was evident as she placed second behind Penn State’s Erica Allar in both the women’s sprints and points races.
The men’s team pursuit was a testament to the strength of the Marian cycling program. The squad of Tom Hanley, Jon Royal, Jon Swain and Bennet Vandergenugten posted a time that rivaled their practice times conducted under far better conditions — and smashed the IU squad by more than 10 seconds.
The men’s points race provided the best action of the weekend with an outcome that came down to the wire. Marian’s Vandergenugten narrowly lost his early race lead to University of Washington’s Dan Harm and Florida’s Phillip Gaimon at the closing stages of the race. Competition between the three had been so tight that the result was uncertain until the final sprint of the race: Gaimon won the sprint in a solo attack while Harm snatched away the last of the available points when he overtook Vandergenugten in the last turn. That final sprint gave Harm the victory in the points race — a gold medal to match the one he earned earlier in the weekend in the individual pursuit.
After competing in a dozen events, Marian College won the overall team prize ahead of Indiana University and Penn State. The women’s overall podium included Allar (Penn State) with the gold, Kovac (IU) with the silver and Fisk (University of Portland) with the bronze. In the men’s overall standings, Harm (University of Washington) took the gold and two Marian College cyclists, Hanley and Vandergenugten, took the silver and bronze respectively.
Marian College coach Dean Peterson characterized his team as a “beautiful, well-oiled machine” that performed above his expectations. It was the depth of the Marian team — especially the non-medal winners who suffered to place in the top-15 of the events — that allowed this track cycling powerhouse to continue its domination.
EventOn Sunday, Oct. 1, the cycling community and supporters will come together as a community to support fellow competitor and friend Bret Neylon, who suffered a severe spinal cord injury during a bike race in Ohio. A race ($25 minimum to enter) and a silent auction combine to provide opportunity to support Bret’s rehabilitation. Race options include distances of 12, 25 or 60 miles. Silent auction items include a Roark Custom Titanium Bicycle frame and Zipp Speed Weaponry equipment. Minimum entry: $25. Time: 1 p.m. Location: Brownsburg High School. For more info on Bret: www.truesport.com.