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Appalachian wins Cyclocross National Championship

cyclocrossteam_t.jpgBOONE – For the second year in a row, Appalachian State University’s cycling team received top honors at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships by winning the Division II Collegiate Cyclocross National Championship Dec. 13 in Bend, Ore.  The national title is the third in team history as Appalachian also won the 2008 Cyclocross National Championship and the 2008 Mountain Bike National Championship.

Cycling Team_t2.jpgAppalachian State University’s cycling team dons first-place stars and stripes jerseys as it celebrates having won the Division II Collegiate Cyclocross National Championship Dec. 13 in Bend, Ore. (Photo credit: Ben Ross, USA Cycling)

Thatcher Hurt_t2.jpg
Appalachian State University cyclist Thatcher Hurt rides the track at the Division II Collegiate Cyclocross National Championship Dec. 13 in Bend, Ore. He was the team’s highest placing men’s rider. (Photo credit: Ben Ross, USA Cycling)

A total of 11 Mountaineers competed in Sunday’s event, with four women finishing in the top 10 and four men finishing in the top 20.

The team won with 158 points,  the highest number of combined points in the men’s and women’s competitions.  They beat second-place Western Washington University (139 points) and third-place Massachusetts Institute of Technology (104 points).

Of the team’s 158 points, 94 were awarded from the women’s competition with senior Allison Forkner placing third and sophomore Rachel VandenEnde in fourth place.  Freshman Bridgette McLean took seventh, and senior Ariel Leath took ninth place.

The team’s remaining 64 points came from the men’s competition with senior Thatcher Hurt finishing 13th, followed by first-year graduate student Ross Bowden in 15th and senior Michael Koballa at 16th.  Four other Mountaineers were close behind with senior Wilhelm Wadewitz at 20th, second-year graduate student Noah Niwinski at 22nd, senior Daniel Sapp at 23rd, and second-year graduate student Charles Kutz rounding out the men in 26thplace.

Cycling is one of 20 club sports at the university and one of the few teams that compete at the national or regional level. The team is coached by Sean Weddell, a member of Appalachian’s Health Promotions staff. He  is assisted by Beth Frye, an assistant professor in the Department of Language, Reading and Exceptionalities, Eric Marland, an associate professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences, and Michael Trivette, a member of Appalachian’s admissions staff.

The Mountaineers will now prepare for the road competition that begins in February.  Appalachian will compete in its usual schedule of conference races in the Atlantic Collegiate Cycling Conference.  Following the regular season, Appalachian will send a group of riders to the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships May 7-9 in Madison, Wis.

For more information about Appalachian’s cycling team, visit www.appstatecycling.com. Anyone interested in potential sponsorship of the cycling team should contact team president Emerson Howe at appstatecycling@gmail.com.

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