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Appalachian Cycling Team brings home championship in first Division I season

cyclingteam_t.jpgBOONE – The cycling team at Appalachian State University won the Atlantic Coast Cycling Conference’s cyclocross championships Nov. 13-14, its first championship as a Division 1 team.  Next, the team will compete in the USA Cycling Cyclocross Nationals in Bend, Ore., this weekend. Five men and three women will compete in the event Dec. 9-12., including Ashley James who is current national champion in the Under 23 category.

In the ACCC cyclocross event in November, Appalachian and N.C .State University initially tied for first place, but the tie was broken by the number of category wins for each team: N.C. State had nine, Appalachian had 11.  This was the closest Division I category race in the history of the conference.

cycling team.jpgThe cycling team at Appalachian State University, pictured celebrating in 2008, has a history of victories, including Atlantic Coast Cycling Conference Division II national championships in cyclocross and mountain biking. The team recently moved up to ACCC’s Division I. (Appalachian photo by Marie Freeman)

The 2010-11 school year has brought big changes for the cycling team, which is considered a club sport at Appalachian.  The team moved up from Division II to Division I in the ACCC due to a USA Cycling Collegiate rule, meaning the team now competes against schools with larger cycling programs and budgets.

Many members of these larger teams receive student-athlete scholarships.  Appalachian’s team members do not receive scholarships as student-athletes for participation, and must pay out of pocket for competitions, trips and uniforms.

Appalachian’s Cycling Team competes in the ACCC’s Mountain, Cyclocross and Road racing seasons.  In 2008, the team won its first ever National Division II Championship in Mountain Bike Championships in Banner Elk.  Rebecca Tomaszewski and Michael Thomas won the individual national championship titles for women’s cross country and men’s downhill, respectively.  The team also took home the Division II National Championship at the USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclocross Championships in Kansas City, Mo., that year.  During the 2009-10 season, Thomas took home another individual downhill title in Reno, Nev., and the team again took the Division II National Championship at the USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclocross Championships in Bend, Ore.

“The near future looks good for Appalachian cycling, but there is always the need for additional funding assistance to help ensure the team continues to win national championships year after year,” said Sean Weddell, the team’s coach and advisor.

For more information about the team and sponsorship, visit http://www.appstatecycling.com/index.php.

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