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Skyhawks confident heading into cyclocross nationals

FLC aiming for 25th national title
Fort Lewis cyclists Luca Haines, left, and Geroge Piepgras practice on their cyclocross bikes recently. FLC will compete in the CX national championships next week. (Photo by David B. Curry)

The Fort Lewis College Cycling team will head to Wheaton, Illinois, next week and look to capture the program’s 25th national title at the 2021 USA Cycling Collegiate National Championships of Cyclocross.

Freshman Natalie Quinn has been the Skyhawks’ top CX racer this fall and has the fitness and skills to compete for a podium spot in Chicago, said FLC Cycling Director Dave Hagen. Local mountain bike phenom Ruth Holcomb, a freshman, has enjoyed CX this fall and with along with sophomore Madelyn Roberson of Alabama and freshman Sabrina Hayes, the young Skyhawks team aims to surprise the competition at nationals.

The Skyhawk men are led by senior Sam Brown, who traveled the country for CX events this fall and has shown great form going into the nationals. Junior Guy Leshem, local talent sophomore Cobe Freeburn, freshman Alex Green of Alabama, sophomore George Piepgras and senior Kobi Gyetvan have trained hard and used the local CX series to prepare for the nationals.

The four-woman and six-man CX nationals team will depart Tuesday and use Wednesday for course reconnaissance and equipment checks.

Bright an early on Thursday morning, the FLC varsity women and then the varsity men will compete against the top varsity schools in the country, including Marian University, Brevard College and Colorado Mesa University.

Friday, the Skyhawks will compete in the team relay with two women and two men doing battle with the other teams for one lap a piece. This race is always the determining factor in the Skyhawks’ main objective – the overall Team Omnium title. With that said, FLC has a few riders who can compete for the win, which would go a long way for Team Omnium points, Hagen said.

The event also will hold cyclocross national championships for junior, master, U23 and elite racers, so many of the Skyhawks also will compete Saturday and Sunday.

A handful of Durango locals also will race throughout the week. Sarah Sturm will defend her singlespeed title from 2019 in Tacoma, Washington, as will Caleb Thompson in the master’s 35-plus race. Local team Segment 28 is sending a strong group to nationals.

The Skyhawks will keep fans updated on their social media accounts, facebook.com/FLCCyclingTeam and @flccycling on Instagram and Twitter. More information is at usacycling.org.