We were wondering when the bigger dogs would start coming out to play, and (with the notable absence still of Brevard College) the best of the Southeastern Conference were on the line at Georgia Southern University last weekend. Lees-McRae showed up in full force, as did Furman University and Cumberland, two of the strongest teams in Div II. Still, at the end of the weekend’s racing, MHC still maintains its overall team omnium lead and Klara Rossouw still leads the women’s A overall rankings, with Paul Webb riding to a superb 3rd place in the road race to maintain his 3rd overall ranking in A men’s individual omnium.
Here’s the rundown on the weekend’s events. In the TTT, the MHC women’s team of Klara Rossouw, Yolanda Colon, and Melissa Holloway placed 1st in our Div II. The course was fast, and Furman blew everyone away in the Men’s A TTT with MHC finishing a few minutes down but still in 2nd place in our division. While our guys lacked the TT equipment to compete on an even playing field, Furman would still have beat us quite handily. But the MHC boys are improving weekly, and they will have better TT set-ups for the conference and national championships.
The criterium was held on a very short and fast course with eight corners to negotiate every lap. With horsepower from Lees-McRae and Furman driving the pace from the gun, the starting field of 45 was reduced to less than half soon after the start. The MHC team rode well to start with Matt Willing sitting in 2nd and covering LMC riders for the first five laps, but the effort took its toll, and by the end of the race Paul Webb and Matt Willing barely made it into the top 20 in 19th and 20th respectively, earning valuable points for the team. Zach Felpel of LMC won ahead of Chris Butler from Furman. The women’s race was dominated by the LMC women who had eight of the thirteen starters in the A women’s event. Klara could only follow so many attacks and eventually had to settle for 7th as LMC women took the first six spots. Yolanda Colon wasn’t too far back and earned more points for the team. Rachel Warner won the women’s criterium in a solo effort. Melissa Holloway from MHC placed a strong 5th in the Women’s B event, her first race of the year.
The road race was held on a 22-mile loop that offered wind and rolling hills to break up the fields. In the Men’s A race, a break of six formed on the first lap and included MHC’s Paul Webb, Chris Butler (Furman), two LMC riders, Alejandro Padilla from Cumberland, and a UF rider. With most of the big teams represented, the break stayed away but splintered on the last lap with Chris Butler taking the win ahead of Brad Perley (LMC) and Paul Webb. MHC’s Kyle Knott took the field sprint for the 3rd consecutive race. The women’s A race was a little confusing as many riders were accidentally led off course. In the end it was sorted out and Rachel Warner (LMC) again won and MHC’s Klara Rossouw rolled across the line in 5th. Melissa Holloway (MHC) earned another strong 6th place result in the Women’s B road race and now sits in 11th overall after competing in just two events.
After GSU, Mars Hill continues to lead the Division II team standings:
Mars Hill College: 312
King College: 147
Furman Univ: 126
College of Charleston: 76
Univ of Central FL: 57
In the overall Women’s A standings, MHC’s Klara Rossouw continues to lead:
Klara Rossouw (MHC): 357
Heather Davis (UF): 257
Emily Fancher (UGA): 205
Rachel Warner (LMC): 170
Carla Swart (LMC): 131
The overall Men’s A standings:
Ben Zawacki (Clemson): 365
Shawn Gravois (UF): 251
Paul Webb (MHC): 248
Kyle Rohan (UF): 200
Spencer Bearmer (Furman): 172
Full results can be found at www.collegiatecycling.org/seccc
Thanks to all of our sponsors, supporters, and partners. We expect the level of competition to continue to increase leading up to conference championships. Bring it on!