With three team time trial wins and nearly 15 top-five finishes, the Marian University cycling team raced its way into an early-season lead of the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC) road standings in Columbia, Kentucky, this weekend.
Senior Weston Luzadder won the men’s A criterium for the second year in a row with freshman Stephan Hirsch behind him in second. The women’s A team took places first through fifth to cap a weekend of fast racing and set the stage for the rest of the road season this spring, which will unfold around the Midwest in the next three months.
“It was a great weekend, a team win,” reflected Luzadder. “I am looking forward to the coming weeks and leading the team to more wins, throughout the season, and mainly at nationals.”
The 2013 race season started well for the Knights on Saturday, with team time trial wins in the men’s A, women’s A, and women’s B categories. The men’s B team delivered a second-place finish.
A hilly and windy road race that afternoon brought the first individual muscle-flexing of the road season, and the Knights delivered on a challenging course. Freshman C.J. Karas opened her collegiate road career with a win in the women’s B race, and her teammates in the women’s A race delivered a triple punch with junior Coryn Rivera in second, senior Allie Dragoo in third, and senior Jackie Kurth in fourth. Junior Ivy Audrain was not far behind in sixth.
Junior Adam Leibovitz opened his season with a second place behind University of Wisconsin’s Alex Meyer, with Hirsch in fifth in the men’s A race.
Sunday’s criterium saw Karas take her second win in as many days, and in the women’s A race, Marian University ladies achieved a full podium sweep, with Rivera, Kurth, Dragoo, Audrain, and freshman Emily Elbers taking the top five places.
"The MWCCC will be nothing but sizzling this season, all year in all disciplines, racing has been exceptional,” said head coach Dean Peterson. “This [conference] is cycling's Big Ten, and some of the best bike racing in the country is happening here.”
Marian University finished slightly ahead of conference rival Lindenwood University (St. Charles, Missouri) for the weekend, after all results were in. Competition in the coming weeks will also come from Indiana University, University of Notre Dame, and Lindsey Wilson College.
“One-third of the top 12 teams in the country is from our conference,” Peterson added. “We have our work cut out for us. Winning the MWCCC will take guts, brains, and the whole team.”
The Knights road team will travel to Greencastle, Indiana next Saturday and Sunday to compete at DePauw University, while the BMX squad makes their first bid at a national championship at Collegiate BMX Nationals in Phoenix, Arizona.
Follow the team on Facebook, Marian University Cycling Team, for the latest news, race results, and inside look at the team.