SECCC Championships Good Prep for Nationals

19 04 2011

Seniors Paul Webb and Matt Willing led the TTT team to a conference title.

Mercer University hosted the SECCC Championships last weekend on courses that were great preparation for upcoming nationals. After a one hour delay due to tornadic activity that sent us scrambling for the inner confines of a nearby Starbucks (the hotel next door had its roof blown off) the TTT was held in remarkably calm conditions on a 17-mile course that featured two turnarounds and a number of sharp rollers. In the men’s A TTT, Mars Hill posted the fastest time in 37:09, bolstering hopes for a podium at nationals. Lees-McRae was just 16 seconds slower in 37:25. The LMC women’s team won their event over FSU. Steph Bunnett finished second in the individual time trial, which was won by Rachel Warner (LMC).

Later that afternoon, the criteriums were held on a square 1km course around Tattnall Park, which was also host to an outdoor concert that added to the festivities. In both of the A races, impressive individual performances defined the day. In the women’s A event, Rachel Warner (LMC) escaped with Kimberly Flynn (UT-Chattanooga), both of whom eventually lapped the field. Warner then escaped again, this time with teammate Cinthia Lehner in tow. In dramatic last lap action, Warner lapped the field for a second time and helped Lehner get on even laps with Flynn and claim 2nd place. Steph Bunnett finished in 7th.

In the men’s race, an early break of eight, including Paul Webb and Sebastian Scherf, escaped from an aggressive field of 48 riders. With a solid gap and most of the strong teams represented, the break looked to have staying power until Brian Sheedy (LMC) attacked and took off solo with 40 minutes remaining. Despite multiple chase and bridge attempts, an inspired Sheedy held a 20-25 second advantage until the end. Alejandro Padilla (Cumberland) outsprinted a 3-man chase for 2nd with Kyle Rohan (UF) in 3rd. Kyle Knott was 6th and Maitland Jones was 10th.

The early 8-man break in the mens A criterium. Photo courtesy of Andrew Lockwood.

The road race was held on a 16-mile loop with a few short but challenging climbs. The women’s field splintered on the first lap and then Warner and Flynn again rode away, the former eventually taking the two-up sprint at the end. Lehner won the chase group for 3rd. Steph Bunnett flatted on the last lap but rode it in for 9th. In the men’s A race, a large 12-man break escaped on the last lap and came to the finish intact. Andy Baker (Furman) crossed the line first followed by Alejandro Padilla (Cumberland) and Michael Robinson (Mars Hill). Baker, however, was subsequently disqualified for an earlier centerline violation, moving Padilla into 1st and Robinson into 2nd. Paul Webb was 10th and Sebastian Scherf won the field sprint for 13th.

Full results are HERE. Check for finalized season omnium results to be posted by Wednesday HERE. Next up are the national road championships in Madison, WI, May 6-8. Team selections will be announced soon.

Big thanks to our sponsors for a great season. A special shout out to new sponsor Spin-Tech who has equipped the team with a trailer so we can haul more people and bikes to the races. Spin-Tech is a new cycling training center in Asheville where our athletes will have access to power, VO2 max, and LT testing. Check them out HERE.

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