INDIANAPOLIS - A beautiful and sunny Saturday afternoon greeted the 12-time collegiate track cycling national champions as they played host to the 14th Annual Midwest Cycling Classic in and around the Major Taylor Velodrome.
However, the gorgeous skies clouded up and only one event was able to make it clean without a drop of rain as the weather changed and made the collegiate events rather treacherous as the roads began to slicken. But, the Knights endured and they ran away with the team title as they garnered 631 total points and Lindsey Wilson College's 216 the closest in second place.
The lone race that saw sunny skies, the men's D race, was the first race of the day and freshman Michael Kubancsek
was the lone MU rider in the event. He notched a 14th-place finish in the D event as he rode very well and tallied one of his highest career finishes.
The next event for the Knights was the men's B race and it turned into a great race for Marian University even though the rain began and was unrelenting throughout the race.
Freshman Adam Kosela
took a flyer from the start and jumped out to a huge lead before the peloton caught him and made the event a contest. Over the next 30 minutes, the lead would shift as the teams jockeyed for position, but eventually the Knights jumped back in front. As the race was coming to a close, the only two riders seen heading up the last hill toward the finish line were Kosela and sophomore Peter Deucher
. Deucher had a little bit more left in the tank as the duo settled for a 1-2 finish with Deucher earning his first career collegiate victory. Kosela took second, and the pack followed. Freshman Nick Abal
took the final sprint to pick up fourth, while freshman Sam Stone
earned a 10th-place finish.
Although the rain continued to fall, the flagship events were able to go off without a hitch. The women's A race was controlled by the Knights from the start. Freshman Jackie Kurth
and a DePauw rider broke the start and opened an insurmountable lead. The duo raced together for several minutes before Kurth broke away and set her sights on lapping the field. Senior Rebecca Finley
just missed the break at the start and battled for third place throughout the race eventually hanging on for third place.
However, when Kurth caught the pack she joined the MU riders and began riding a strategic race with her teammates. The trio of juniors Anna Sklorenko
and Megan Somerville
along with senior Sierra Siebenlist
held off the peloton to allow Kurth to break open a more than one minute advantage.
When she caught the group, she worked with the trio to set them up in position to earn the top finishes from the pack. Sklorenko cruised across the line with Kurth right on her wheel in fifth place, while Somerville was right behind her in sixth place. Siebenlist picked up an 11th-place finish for the Knights. The win was the sixth straight for the ladies as they are yet to lose a race this season.
With 36 starters, the men's A race proved to be one of the more exciting races of the afternoon. The Knights rode a strong team race as they were able to pick up second, fourth, fifth, and sixth places in the race. Senior David Williams
led the Knights with the runner-up finish, while freshman Tyler Karnes
finished in fourth place. Junior Alex Wieseler
finished in fifth place with sophomore Joe Kukolla
coming across the line in sixth place. Sophomore Zach McBride
finished in 11th place, while sophomore Rob Bush
earned a 12th-place finish. Freshman Weston Luzadder
finished in 17th place, while sophomore Adam Leibovitz
, who took a flyer early in the race and completed several laps including the first prime, finished in 22nd place.
The Knights are in a strong position as they lead the overall MidWest Collegiate Cycling Conference points standings with 4,295 total points. Lindsey Wilson College is in second with 3,192 total points.
MU will head to the Ohio State University and Ohio University weekend on April 10 and 11 as they look to increase their lead in the MWCCC standings.