Marian University and Mars Hill College used solid performances from both men’s and women’s squads in Sunday’s criterium to take the team omnium national titles at the conclusion of the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Madison, Wisconsin.
Marian University won its second consecutive Division 1 team omnium title in part due to criterium wins by Adam Leibovitz and Kaitlin Antonneau.
Mars Hill College used a solid team finish in the men’s criterium to overtake a strong squad from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and win the Division 2 team omnium crown.
“Today, we thought it was nearly impossible to win the team omnium,” said coach Hugh Moran of Mars Hill. “We knew our women had to do very well; they ended up second in team points and that gave us a shot. We had to come from behind and beat MIT and stay ahead of Mesa. Everything just worked to perfection. All of the women rode well and with Kyle (Knott) winning the crit and the individual omnium — I couldn’t be happier.”
Alister Ratcliff (Fort Lewis College), who won the men’s D1 road race on Friday and placed 18th in the crit, won the men’s individual omnium. Marian’s Antonneau, a freshman, who placed fifth in the D1 road race before winning the crit, took the women’s individual omnium.
Knott finished fourth in the D2 road race before winning the crit and taking the individual omnium title. Laura Ralston (MIT) won the crit after finishing second in the road race to don the D2 individual omnium crown.
With only one lap remaining in the 60-minute crit the 31-woman field was mostly intact. On the final time around the 0.9-mile circuit, however, a minor crash on the backside split the group.
Martha Buckley (MIT), who won Friday’s road race, continued leading the sprint around to the finish with Ralston on her wheel and five others hanging on.
Ralston shot off Buckley’s wheel to take the win for MIT. Dartmouth’s Elle Anderson and Kimberly Turner (Seattle Pacific University) finished second and third, respectively.
Antonneau captured her first road individual national title in the D1 women’s criterium ahead of Robin Bauer (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee) and Madison local Holly Mathews (University of Wisconsin-Madison), who finished second and third, respectively.
“We pretty much stuck to our plan that we had as a team to go for all of the prime points,” said Antonneau. “Once we got past that it was time to go for the win, so we followed our plan and it worked to our advantage. It was really nice to race here, in front of my friends and family. I could hear them cheering every time I passed.”
Halfway through the 75-minute race Alejandro Padilla (Cumberland University), Paul Webb (Mars Hill College) and Kevin Mullervy (Mesa State) were comfortably off the front.
With a half-dozen laps to go, however, Western Washington’s Steve Fisher drilled it, helping bring back the break with two remaining. Team time trial champs Mesa State then took the reins and led the pack around to the final sprint.
“Going into turn two, my teammate, Paul Webb, screamed to get on him and we got around,” said Knott. “We jumped the Mesa State train and Paul took me all the way into turn four and then Mesa took back over. I came out of that final turn in fourth wheel. I jumped and never looked back; then I got it! It feels better than I thought. It feels amazing.”
Ian Crane (Western Washington University) finished just off Knott’s wheel for silver while Maxwell Anderson (University of Wisconsin-Platteville) earned bronze.
Marian’s Leibovitz, with Nicholas Inabinet (Appalachian State University), Stephen Bedford (Portland State University) and Gregory Christian (Michigan State University) got away midway through the 75-minute race and held off the field. Leibovitz, the reigning elite pursuit national champion, out-kicked the group to win the title.
With Leibovitz in the break, the strong Marian squad organized at the front as the clocked ticked down, helping the leaders hold off the pack.
“We worked really well together in the break; just keeping the field off,” said Leibovitz. “We could see the field on the longer stretches and they were a ways back. I did know how close they were and if I saw them getting too close, I was going to hit it. Ultimately it was a great team effort by Marian to shut the field down so people couldn’t get up to my break.”
Sam Bassetti (University of California-Davis) won the field sprint — and nearly caught the break — to grab the final podium spot.