HARTFORD, Conn. - The Marian cycling team finished second at USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclocross Nationals Thursday and maintained the top spot for the Omnium over Fort Lewis with the finish.
It's the third top three finish at a national competition for the Cycling Knights this season. Marian previously finished first at track nationals (September) and third in mountain bike nationals (October).
RACE RESULTS | OMNIUM REPORT
The weather threw everything at the riders as Wednesday's course was muddy, while Thursday's course was frozen as temperatures dropped Wednesday night into the morning. The muddy conditions on Wednesday meant riders had to exchange bikes for cleaning nearly every lap.
Despite the weather, five men placed in the top 20 in Wednesday's varsity race. Junior Anders Nystrom led the way with a sixth-place finish, while freshman Cade Bickmore was right behind him in seventh. Senior Zach Bender's rode for a strong 13th place, freshman Hugo Scala finished 19th, and junior Sam Winters crossed the line in 20th place.
Four Knights finished in the top 20 in the women's varsity race as Sophomore Emma Swartz finished second, 1:29 behind the winner. KK Santos was also in the top five, finishing fifth. Gabriella Arnold finished 10th and Angelina Palermo crossed the line in 19th place.
After Wednesday's races, Fort Lewis and Brevard were tied for the lead and Marian sat two points behind in third. That made Thursday's relay a winner-take-all between the three programs.
In the relay, Marian's team consisted of Nystrom, Bickmore, Santos and Swartz. The Knights got out of the gate with the leaders, but Brevard, which won the title, pulled away in the second lap and never looked back. Marian fell to fourth, but battled back to claim second place with a time of 28:32, which was a minute behind the winners.
The Knights have two more national events remaining with BMX due up next in April and road in May.
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