Tyler Orschel Wins National Title; Brevard College Team Finishes Third at Cyclocross National Championship

Men's Varsity Podium

WHEATON, Ill. –The Brevard College Tornados finished third as a team and BC senior Tyler Orschel won the Men’s Varsity Collegiate national title at the 2021 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships with the collegiate portion of the six-day event concluding Friday at Cantigney Park in Wheaton, Illinois. 

Twelve Tornados raced in the national championships with eight racing on the men’s side and four competing in the women’s competition on Thursday.  The all-senior combination of Orschel, Tyler Clark, Rachel Pageau and Erica Leonard raced in the mixed collegiate team relay on Friday, finishing fifth to secure the third-place team omnium result.

“We had 12 student-athletes competing this week in Chicago and coach Gorry (Assistant Coach Cypress Gorry) and I are extremely proud of them all,” said Brevard College Head Cycling Coach Brad Perley.  “Often times standout individual results are the most publicized but this team is one cohesive unit. The durability and determination shown by these students to race and perform in different disciplines across the calendar year is truly impressive and their performances this week have stepped up yet again. The team is proud to represent Brevard College across the country.”

Orschel won the cyclocross national championship by 1:26 over second-place finisher Scott Funston of Colorado Mesa University.  Senior Tyler Clark finished third to give the Tornados two of the top three podium spots.

“I had a bit of a rough start; I missed my call-up, so I started on the third row,” described Orschel about his race. “I had a pretty clean start, got to the top-5 at the sand pit, and it was me, Scott Funston and my teammate, Tyler Clark, the first couple laps together. I put a dig in on Lap 3 on Scottand shortly after that, he had a mechanical. After that, I kind of just attacked as hard as I could the next couple laps, rode with it, and put in a good gap at the finish.”

Orschel, a native of Uxbridge, Ontario, won the cyclocross national title to increase his total to four individual national championships, all coming this collegiate season.  Orschel won three individual national titles – men’s varsity cross country, short track and individual omnium – in October at the USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships in Durango, Colorado.  It also marked the sixth individual national championship won by a Brevard College student-athlete in 2021 with Tyler Clark (men’s varsity downhill) and Leonard (women’s varsity downhill) each also winning titles at the Mountain Bike National Championships.

In addition to Orschel and Tyler Clark, Brevard freshman Owen Clark (13th place) and junior Tyler Miranda (15th) also finished in the top-15 in the men’s varsity competition.  Freshman Dylan Richardson (26th), senior Ryan Johnson (31st), freshman Philip Ford (32nd) and senior Dalton Collins (40th) gave the Tornados a total of eight men’s varsity finishers.

On the women’s side, freshman Paige Edwards led the Tornados with a 15th place finish in her national championship debut.  Three Brevard College seniors – Pageau, Leonard and Dickson – finished 16th, 18th and 29th respectively in the women’s competition.  Katie Clouse of Colorado Mesa won the women’s varsity race held early Thursday morning followed by second-place finisher Anna Christian of SCAD-Atlanta.

The team relay was the singular collegiate event of Friday’s competition with Brevard entering the day tied with Fort Lewis College, each with 138 points (14 points behind first-place Colorado Mesa) in the overall team omnium standings.  

Orschel raced the first leg of the relay before handing off to Tyler Clark for the second leg.  Pageau raced the third segment followed by an anchor lap by Leonard.  At the finish, Brevard placed fifth in the team relay with Colorado Mesa finishing first and Fort Lewis second in the event and therefore the team omnium standings. 

With the mixed team result, Brevard finished third in the final team omnium standings.  It marked the fourth straight top-three finish in the team omnium for the Tornados at USA Cycling National Championship collegiate events.  BC placed third in the 2021 and 2019 Mountain Bike national championships and second in the 2019 Cyclocross nationals.   The 2020 national championships were not held due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The ten-time national champion Brevard College Cycling program features varsity programs in the disciplines of Mountain Bike, Cyclocross, Road, and Gravel Racing.  For the latest news and updates surrounding Brevard College Cycling, follow @brevardcycling on Instagram and ‘Brevard College Cycling’ on Facebook.

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