SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The Marian University cycling team captured its fifth straight Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference championship this weekend in South Bend, Ind. The championship weekend hosted by the University of Notre Dame sets the stage for the Knights' trip to the 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Ogden, Utah, on May 4-6.
The team began the weekend with wins the men's "A" and women's "A" team time trial, a strength of the squad and an event in which they have won national championships in the past two years.
In the road race, Wieseler led the men's "A" team with a sprint win. After making it into a small break with two other riders early in the race, Wieseler showed his sprinting power by easily coming around his opponents on the finishing stretch. "Those guys went early, and I was ready when I knew it would happen," he said after the race.
On the women's side, Antonneau earned her fourth win of the spring road season, leading teammates Miller and Rivera across the line.
In Sunday's criterium, on a six-corner course in downtown South Bend, the Knights wrapped up their ninth conference title. The men's "C" squad raced aggressively and delivered freshman John Kelley
to a fifth-place finish and Stephanie Torres
notched yet another victory in the women's "B" field.
The women's "A" race was yet another opportunity for the MU ladies to shine, as four escaped from the field with one rider from Lindenwood and eventually dropped her to take a 1-2-3-4-5 finish. Sophomore Elizabeth Engwis
won the field sprint behind Miller, Dragoo, Antonneau and Rivera, who was first to the line.
Blistering speeds again characterized the men's "A" criterium, which head coach Dean Peterson
has called "aggressive and highly strategic." An early escaping group included Luzadder, Martz and Wieseler along with riders from their major competitors like Lindenwood University and Lindsey Wilson College.
Despite strong chases and counter-attacks from those in the field, the move was gone. In the end, Wieseler confirmed his overall conference individual championship with a sprint for second place behind Lindsey Wilson's Justin Lowe, who had gone away solo for the win.
As a result of aggressive racing, teamwork, and dedication throughout the season, the Knights earned the title of MWCCC Division I Conference Champions for the ninth time to guarantee the squad the maximum allowable starting spots at nationals in Utah. In addition, Wieseler's and Antonneau's individual conference championships have earned them front-row starting spots in both events at nationals.