ST. CHARLES, Mo. - The 17-time collegiate national champion Marian University cycling team traveled to St. Charles, Mo., this weekend for the second event of the spring road season for a dual-conference race with both the Midwest and North-Central Collegiate Cycling Conferences. The unique dual-conference event saw huge fields and gave MU cyclists a special opportunity to perform as defending MWCCC champions.
Thunderstorms disrupted some racing on Saturday, but not before the Knights scored wins in the men's "A", women's "A" and men's "D" team time trials.
The early road races also saw freshman John Kelley
win the men's "D" road race with help from senior Tom Williams. In the women's "B" road race, senior Mika Jackson
earned a fourth-place finish with freshman teammate Stephanie Torres
The afternoon road races were canceled due to severe weather. The cancellations gave the rest of the Knights extra motivation for Sunday's criterium, especially after learning they trailed the University of Minnesota by only ten points for the weekend team points competition.
The criterium was contested on Sunday in downtown St. Charles on a 1-kilometer course with a cobblestone-style brick straightaway. Senior Tom Williams scored a ninth-place finish in the men's "D" race, with freshmen John Kelley
and Alex Canon suffering from bad luck; flat tires and crashes were common throughout the day of racing.
Senior Mika Jackson
turned in a fifth-place finish in the women's "B" race to cap a great effort by her and Stephanie Torres
to grab most of the available prime (mid-race sprint) points.
The men's "A" race, a fast sixty-minute affair, saw many riders push through bad luck to result in a team win and an impressive performance. Early attempts at a breakaway by juniors Sam Stone
and Alder Martz
as well as freshman Josh Johnson
all failed, while senior Isaiah Newkirk
and freshman Neal Forbes
were involved in crashes in the first half of the race.
After one break where only two MU riders got away, all in the field worked hard to bring it back and set up senior Alex Wieseler with a win.
"The team did all the work out there today, and I was happy to be the one who crossed the line first for us," said Wieseler, who was involved in a pre-race crash and came back to narrowly win a sprint over rival riders from Lindsey Wilson College.
Stone turned in a sixth-place finish to help the Knights finish their successful run at the weekend championship and advance their place in the overall conference standings.
The Knights will travel to Columbus, Ohio next weekend to compete in a regular conference weekend hosted by Ohio State University. Follow the Knights on Twitter (@MarianCycling) and on Facebook (Marian University Cycling Team) for updates throughout the weekend.