Marian University Wins U.S. Collegiate Road Nationals
For the first time in road cycling history, Marian University won the prestigious Division 1 team omnium by 31 points at USA Cycling's Collegiate Road National Championships on May 9, 2010 in Madison, Wisconsin. The Knights competed against 51 Division 1 schools in a three-day national event. The men competed against roughly 150 riders and women raced against 80 riders.
The Knights battled through cold, wind, rain, and fog on the Blue Mounds Park road race course that consisted of over 6,000 feet of climbing and swooping descents. Marian University's Rob Bush finished 10th for the men's Division 1, sophomore Joseph Kukolla finished 25th, and freshman Weston Luzadder 35th. Sophomore Sinead Miller finished third in the women's Division 1, followed by freshman Anna Young in 25th and senior Becca Finley in 27th. Two of the Knight's top competitors, David Williams and Jackie Kurth, flatted during the race and were unable to finish. After the road race the Knights sat in ninth in the team omnium standings.
The criterium went well for the men, Rob Bush finished second after being in a lead group with three other rides which was caught by the main group with three laps to go. Joseph Kukolla finished 17th, Alex Wieseler 37th, and David Williams 48th.
The women met adversity in their race, due to lapped riders. On the last lap, all four of Marian University's riders, were perfectly lined up for the finishing sprint when a lapped rider crashed in front of three of Marian University's riders which cost them their spot in the top 10. Sophomore star Sinead Miller got caught in another crash on the last lap. Despite the hindrance of lapped riders, Sinead Miller finished fifth, Becca Finley 19th, Anna Young 20th, and Jackie Kurth 26th.
Rob Bush won first place in the men's Division 1 individual omnium and Sinead Miller took home second in the individual women's Division 1 omnium. Marian University sat in second place in team omnium points on the last day of competition.
On the final day, the Knights secured their win with the team time trial. The Marian University men's team made up of Rob Bush, David Williams, Adam Leibovitz, and Zach McBride finished 30 seconds ahead of second place on the 19.2 mile hilly time trial course with an average speed of 31 miles per hour to finish with a time of 36:23.44. The women's team of Sinead Miller, Jackie Kurth, Becca Finley, and Anna Young proved themselves a powerhouse with a time of 42.25.44 and an average of 27 miles per hour that gave them a 10-second lead over Lees-McRae College. Both wins boosted Marian University to claim gold with 459 points, Lees-McRae College came in second with 428 points, and the University of California-Davis came in third with 362 points. This is the first national road championship title in Marian University's history.
Coach Peterson said, "Although all the events [track, mountain, cyclocross, and road] are very competitive, road nationals is kind of the crown jewel of collegiate cycling. A team has to be really prepared and together in order to win, as well as have a little luck. We had all those things this year and we were victorious."
The Knights look forward to hosting the USA Cycling Collegiate Track Nationals September 23-25 at Major Taylor Velodrome in Indianapolis, Indiana. For more information, contact head cycling coach Dean Peterson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317.955.6340.
Photo: Jamie Young