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Originally published: 2014-05-07 14:52:53
Last modified: 2014-05-07 14:53:09

Lees-McRae cycling team takes 10th in nationals

by Staff Reports

RICHMOND, Va.-- The Lees-McRae cycling team earned a 10th-place finish in the overall omnium at the 2014 Collegiate Road Nationals that took place over the weekend.


In the Men's Team Time Trial, Lees-McRae finished 12th with a time of 43:14.47, which was 2:41 behind the winning squad of Fort Lewis College. FLC knocked off defending champion Marian by a healthy 33-second mark.


Appalachian State claimed 11th by beating Lees-Mcrae by a mere five seconds.


On the women's side, Lees-McRae claimed an eighth-place finish with a time of 50:10.62. Marian successfully defended their 2013 victory by registering a time of 46:42.56.


On Saturday, Katherine Shields paced the Bobcats in the women's criterium with a 20th-place finish. The race was 50 minutes plus three laps, while the race was on a closed 1.5 kilometer course in downtown Richmond.


The women's field was quickly reduced from over 70 riders to 25 after an initial fast pace up a repeated long decisive climb. Marian's Coryn Rivera claimed the win.


The men criterium began with 126 riders, but saw many of them drop out quickly due to the speed and long hill. Lees-McRae trio Matthew Zimmer (25th), Christopher Meacham (26th) and Dylan Knutson (41st) performed well and finished in the Top 45.


"The criterium was the fastest and toughest criterium nationals' course that collegiate has ever had," Lees-McRae coach Tim Hall.  "Shields, Zimmer and Meacham all raced superbly at the front all race, but lost some positioning in the final lap to be able to go for the sprint."


On Sunday, Emily Shields and Katherine Shields impressed at the women's road race that was five laps on a 10 mile course, while finishing 20th and 21st, respectively.


The Bobcat squad suffered some mishaps on the men's squad while Meacham and Zimmer experienced flats, while Meacham also had a broken pedal. Fort Lewis's Griffin Easter claimed the victory on the men's road race.


"We obviously had expectations of better results, but Coach P.J. Noto and I are very proud of their effort," Hall said. "Every rider gave it their all to be in heat of the action at the front, but now they know it'll take a little bit more power to finish off each race stronger next year. They were all disappointed in the final outcome, but it was a great experience builder for them and their future."


The weekend was kicked off when the Governor of Virginia, Terry McAuliffe, and the Mayor of Richmond, Dwight Jones, spoke to prior to the start to welcome all riders and spectators. The CEO of USA Cycling, Steve Johnson, was also on hand to speak to the crowd.