Lees-McRae cycling club finds five recruits
by Staff Reports
BANNER ELK -- Lees-McRae director of cycling Tim Hall announced the signing of five cyclists for the 2014-15 academic year.
Joining the Bobcats in August will be Taylor Allison, Elliott Baring, Preston Jones, Connor Stark and Ethan Young-Kershaw.
"These first five signings are a big step forward for our program," Hall said. Coach P.J. Noto and I are both excited at the opportunity to work with all five of these promising student-athletes."
Taylor Allison - Roxbury, N.Y.
Allison is a professional downhill rider who raced for Team Drop in 2013. The Roxbury, N.Y., native has a focus on mountain biking. She won Oak Mountain and finished second overall Pro in the 2013 Gravity East Series.
She won 13 races from 2009-11 while she came through the categories before turning professional and has won four total races since then.
Elliot Baring - Cumming, Ga.
Baring's focus is mountain bike and cyclocross. He finished 16th in STXC and 14th in Super D at the Mountain Bike Nationals in 2013. He also placed 26th in the Hendersonville UCI and 30th in the Cincy Kings UCI cyclocross races.
"Taylor and Elliott will both make an immediate impact on our elite team at mountain bike nationals, and Elliott should become a top cyclocross racer as well," Hall said. "Taylor's gravity experience at the pro level fills much needed depth on our women team, and Elliott will help us reload our men's team after losing Kerry Werner to graduation. I expect both riders will be difference makers and help elevate all of their teammates."
Preston Jones - Bethlehem, N.H.
Jones' focus will be road and mountain bikes. His natural ability is climbing, so his skills should sharpen greatly in the High Country trials and roads.
Connor Stark - Waxhaw
Stark's focus is mountain bike racing. He finished third overall in the Charlotte Winter Short Track Series and the Charlotte MTB Summer Series. He earned three victories through the 2013 season and claimed silver in the NC State MTB Championship for juniors.
Ethan Young-Kershaw - Westport, Maine
Young-Kershaw's focus will be road and cyclocross. He notched multiple Top-10 finishes in both road and cyclocross. Young-Kershaw hails from the Northeast Bicycle Club.
"Ethan, Preston, and Connor show great potential for the future," Hall said. "All three are versatile riders on and off road who show great promise to thrive in our environment at Lees-McRae. All of the recruits were attracted to having world-class trails and roads at their doorstep. Plus, all wanted to be a part of a progressive collegiate program that offers the chance to boost their future opportunities in the sport."
Hall and Noto plan to attend the NorCal/SoCal California State MTB Championship in May before traveling to the Road Nationals in Wisc. and Mountain Bike Nationals in Pa.
"We have quite a few offers still on the table to recruits all over the U.S. and internationally," Hall said. "Our goal is for all of them to be wearing the Bobcat uniform next fall, and if so we greatly improve our chances at winning an 11th team championship."