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US MTB Collegiate Nationals

October 30, 2005 – The 2005 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships continued on Saturday as Fort Lewis College and Lees-McRae College retained their leads atop the overall standings in their respective divisions after Saturday’s cross country race.

Despite a dominating performance by the University of Colorado on Saturday, Fort Lewis College kept its overall lead in the division I standings by a mere four points, ending the day with a 531-527 point advantage over Colorado.

The University of Colorado placed all four of its riders in the top-ten of the men’s cross country race, led by Josh Bezecny’s victory. That result was complimented by a third-place performance courtesy of teammate Chris Jung and eighth and ninth-place finishes by Collin Beckes and Nick Ranno respectively.

The Buffaloes also benefited from the efforts of the women’s squad as Caroline Jarohmek placed fourth in the women’s race to contribute valuable points and Lynn Bush and Janis Sandlin scored top-20 placings, finishing 17th and 18th respectively.

Last year’s cross country winner and defending individual overall champion, Bezecny bettered his silver medal ride in Friday’s short track race to unofficially crown himself as the most valuable rider on a strong Colorado squad while Jung continued his contribution with his second bronze medal of the weekend.

Sandwiched in between Bezecny and Jung was Spencer Paxson (Middlebury College) who turned in a solid ride for the silver medal.

Western Michigan University’s Erin Disterheft took the win in the women’s division I cross country race ahead of Caitlyn Tuel (Penn State University) and Kathleen Weber (Texas A&M).

Eric Ransom was the top men’s Fort Lewis finisher in fourth place, while Tina Dominic’s sixth-place effort led the Fort Lewis women.

In the division II standings, Lees-McRae College continued its dominance with a win in the men’s cross country race and a second-place finish in the women’s race.

Friday’s short track winner Brent Bookwalter duplicated yesterday’s gold medal performance, riding to a win ahead of Andrew Freye (University of Southern Maine) and Travis Woodruf (University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire) putting him on pace to repeat as the individual overall winner. Lees-McRae also got a boost from Friday’s short track silver medalist Clara Beard who earned her second silver medal of the weekend with a second-place finish on Saturday.

Beard finished behind winner Chrissy Burkel (Union College) while Western State’s Amy Scherm rounded out the women’s division II cross country podium.

With a points system in place to determine the overall individual collegiate national champion, Monique Hein (Lees-McRae) currently holds the highest point total in the women’s division II standings – a slim 396-392 lead over Michigan Tech’s Lianna Miller. Hein’s total includes a win in Friday’s short track race, a third-place effort in the mountain cross event and a fifth-place finish in Saturday’s cross country. But Miller, who won Friday’s mountain cross race, could be favored for the overall title with just the downhill event remaining on Sunday.

In division I competition, Dominic holds the lead with one event remaining thanks to a second-place finish in the mountain cross event, a sixth-place finish in the cross country and a tenth-place effort in the short track race. Dominic has an 18-point advantage over Eastern Kentucky’s Amanda McKay, and like Miller in the division II race, holds the advantage heading into the final gravity-based downhill event on Sunday.

In the men’s standings, Ranno and Bookwalter lead the division I and division II overall individual standings respectively.

The 2005 USA Cycling Collegiate National Mountain Bike Championships conclude on Sunday with the final event, the downhill competition.

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