October 29, 2005 – Perennial collegiate cycling powerhouses Fort Lewis College and Lees-McRae College jumped out to early overall leads in their respective divisions as the 2005 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships kicked off at Seven Springs Resort in western Pennsylvania on Friday.
Backed by Alex Hagman’s win in the division I men’s short track cross country race, Fort Lewis College also collected two silver medals on the first day of competition as Molly Hummel placed second in the women’s short track and Tina Dominic rode to second in the women’s mountain cross. A bronze medal effort by Tommy Tokarczyk in the men’s mountain cross also contributed to Fort Lewis College’s point tally, giving the defending division I champions a total of 316 points after two events.
Just 19 points off the pace however is the University of Colorado, which posted 297 points thanks to three top-three finishes on the day.
Jessica Vought recorded the best finish for the Buffaloes with a win in the women’s mountain cross while defending men’s division I cross country and individual omnium champion Joshua Bezency placed second in the short track ahead of teammate Chris Jung.
In division II competition, defending champion Lees-McRae College used two victories and four top-three finishes to end the day with a 61-point advantage over Warren Wilson College.
Victories from defending women’s division II overall champion Monique Hein and defending men’s division II cross country and overall omnium champion Brent Bookwalter gave Lees-McRae a sweep of the short track races while Clara Beard added a second place finish in the women’s short track. Hein also captured her second medal of the day with a third-place ride in the mountain cross event.
Behind Lees-McRae, no other division II school placed more than one rider on the podium in the day’s four events creating a logjam amongst teams vying for the silver medal. Just 15 points separate second place from fourth as Warren Wilson College (268), Union College (263), Murray State University (262) and Michigan Tech University (253) are all in the mix for an overall podium.
Individually, Hagman and mountain cross winner Andrew Parson (Lindsey Wilson College) are tied for the men’s division I omnium lead, each earning 140 points for their victories on Friday.
In the women’s division I overall standings, Dominic grabbed 120 points for her second-place effort in the afternoon’s mountain cross, but not before first scoring 86 points in the short track race with a tenth-place finish. Dominic’s 206 points leads Eastern Kentucky University’s Amanda McKay by 24.
Bookwalter is in position to earn another overall title but holds a slim three-point advantage over Travis Mullen (Union College) in the men’s division II standings. Bookwalter’s win in the short track was complimented by a 19th-place finish in the mountain cross event which netted him an additional 15 points to bring his total to 155. Mullen’s 152 points came from a third-place finish in the short track and a 13th-place performance in the mountain cross.
In the women’s division II standings, mountain cross winner Lianna Miller (Michigan Tech University) also placed fifth in the short track to earn a total of 248 points while Hein’s two-medal performance gave her 240 points on the day.
Standings can change dramatically on Saturday as the more heavily weighted cross country race takes center stage and offers 200 points to the winner versus the 140 points up for grabs to Friday’s winners of the short track and mountain cross events.
Other individual event winners on Friday included Heather Homes (University of Utah) who captured a win in the women’s division I short track race and Michael Valach Jr. (Davis and Elkins College) who rode to a win in the men’s division II mountain cross race.
The 2005 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships continue on Saturday with the cross country race and conclude on Sunday with the downhill event.