Following a dramatic second-place finish in the Team Relay, the Brevard College Cycling team finished runner up in the final Team Omnium standings at the 2019 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships held Thursday and Friday at Fort Steilacoom Park in Lakewood, Washington.
It marked the second straight top-three finish for the Tornados at a USA Cycling collegiate national championship as BC finished third at the 2019 Collegiate Mountain Bike Team Omnium held this past October in Big Bear Lake, California. It also marked the fifth consecutive season that Brevard has finished in the top-three in the varsity team competition at the cyclocross national championships.
The team omnium championship came down to a showdown in the always exciting collegiate team relay. Following individual men’s and women’s competitions held Thursday and early Friday, Brevard and Colorado Mesa entered Friday afternoon’s team relay deadlocked at 142 points in the team omnium standings.
Brevard utilized its 2018 national championship team relay lineup of sophomore Tyler Clark, junior Tyler Orschel and senior Hannah Arensman for the mixed relay which requires two laps by a men’s rider(s) and two laps by a women’s rider(s). Clark would race lap one with Orschel handling lap three. Arensman would handle two laps, racing laps two and four.
The end result was a neck-and-neck battle between Brevard and Colorado Mesa throughout the team relay with the high stakes of a team omnium championship simultaneously on the line at the same time. Clark was able to give the Tornados an early lead after an effective hole-shot from the start line en route to a five-second advantage entering the transfer to Arensman for lap two. Arensman and CMU’s Gwen Gibson battled closely with a two-second difference entering lap three. The tight racing continued on lap three as Orschel was able to generate a five-second advantage. Lap four, however, went to Colorado Mesa as anchor Katie Clouse was able to top Arensman, who was racing her second lap of the relay, to take the victory.
The team relay marked the second race of the day for Arensman who raced a total of seven laps on the challenging cyclocross course over the span of eight hours. Earlier Friday, Arensman raced in the Women’s Varsity Cyclocross national championship where she finished with a second-place podium. In the Women’s Varsity competition, Arensman fell behind many positions due to a first-lap mishap, yet battled all the way back to second place turning some of the quickest laps of the day.
In addition to Arensman, four other Brevard College student-athletes also competed in the Women’s Varsity race. Freshmen Emma Schwab (17th place), Rachel Pageau (19th place) and Aliza Tobias (29th place) all made their collegiate cyclocross national championship debuts. Sophomore Hannah Dickson finished 26th in her second trip to cyclocross nationals.
Brevard College student-athletes took two of the five podium spots at the Men’s Collegiate Varsity national championship held Thursday as Orschel finished second and Clark placed fourth. Senior Carson Beckett (11th), sophomore Ryan Johnson (18th), freshman Tyler Miranda (23rd) and sophomore Dalton Collins (24th) gave BC six riders in the top-25 in the men’s competition.
Next up for the Brevard College Cycling team, under the guidance of Head Coach Brad Perley and Assistant Coach Cypress Gorry, will be the road racing season beginning with an event hosted by Georgia Tech in Atlanta on March 7-8, 2020. The road racing season will culminate with the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships to be held May 8-10, 2020 in Augusta, Georgia.
Brevard College is consistently recognized as one of the best liberal arts colleges. The College’s focus on experiential learning, small class sizes, and location in the mountains of Western North Carolina near Asheville make Brevard a top choice college for students around the world.