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Cycling team wins national title, plus two individual national titles

team_t.jpgBANNER ELK, N.C. – Appalachian State University’s Cycling Team took home the Division II title of national champions in the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships Oct. 24-26. This is the first national championship title for the cycling team, and it wraps up an impressive season that was also highlighted by a team title at the Atlantic Coast Cycling Conference Mountain Bike Championship.

RebeccaTomaszewski.jpg
Rebecca Tomaszewski finishes first in the women’s cross country competition, becoming Appalachian’s first national champion in cycling.
MichaelThomas.jpgMichael Thomas competes for his national title in men’s downhill.cyclingteam.jpgThe club team celebrates after earning the Division II national championship in USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships.

In addition to the team win, two team members became the first cyclists in Appalachian’s history to earn an individual national champion title: Rebecca Tomaszewski in the women’s cross country competition and Michael Thomas in the men’s downhill. Tomaszewski’s win is particularly impressive considering she competed on a single-gear bike.

“This is her choice of bike – a 29-inch single gear bike. Most everyone else is riding a multi-gear bike with 10 or 12 speeds,” said Joe Carter, director of University Recreation at Appalachian.

Cycling is a club sport at Appalachian, which means that students receive no scholarship support for their participation. Most teams they competed against in the national competition do receive scholarship support as student-athletes at their college or university.

In all, 11 Appalachian cyclists were awarded championship jerseys and medals. They were Tomaszewski, Thomas, Alex Hannah, Alex Ryan, Ryan Fawley, Michael Koballa, Scott Phillips, Andrew Mueller, Steven Trottier, Amanda Gilbert and Bethany Carter.

The team was led by first-year volunteer head coach Doug Owen. Prior to joining Appalachian, Owen coached at Lees-McRae College where he led the Bobcats to multiple national championships. Owen was assisted by team advisors Beth Frye, an assistant professor in the Department of Language, Reading and Exceptionalities, and Michael Trivette, a member of Appalachian’s admissions staff and an adjunct faculty member.

The next challenge for Appalachian is the cyclocross competition in November, where the Mountaineers are expected to be one of the top programs in the country. First-year graduate student Noah Niwinski leads a talented team looking to claim another national championship.

Last spring, Appalachian’s cycling team won the Atlantic Coast Cycling Conference’s Division II “Triple Crown” for the first time in school history after winning championships in three different racing seasons: mountain, cyclocross and road racing.

For more information about Appalachian’s cycling team, visit www.appstatecycling.com and www.appstatecycling.blogspot.com. Cycling is one of 20 club sports at the university, half of which compete at the national or regional level.

Anyone interested in potential sponsorship of the cycling team should contact team president Dan Wendover at appstatecycling@gmail.com.

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