USA Cycling announced on Monday the 14 riders named to the US squad for the upcoming Pan American Continental Mountain Bike Championships in Puebla, Mexico, on April 4 - 8.
With five male and five female automatic nominees declining spots on the elite cross country squad due to scheduling conflicts with upcoming World Cups, and no discretionary petitions received by the posted deadline, the United States will not be sending any representatives to Mexico in the elite men's and women's cross country divisions.
Four young, rising stars will however represent the United States in the U23 men's cross country division. Jack Hinkens (BMC MTB Dev. Team) and Kerry Werner (BMC MTB Dev. Team) received automatic nominations due to their position as the top-ranked American U23 males in the UCI rankings. Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek) who earned eighth place in the U23 men's race at the 2011 Mont-Sainte-Anne World Cup will join the team, along with junior cross country national champion Howard Grotts (Team Specialized Racing), who also won the junior men's division at the Windham World Cup last season. No U23 women automatically qualified for the squad and no petitions were received.
Two juniors, both discretionary selections, will represent the US in Puebla. Currently ranked 18th in the UCI overall rankings, Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing) will race the junior men's cross country event. Silver medalist in the junior event at the US cross country national championships and ranked 74th internationally, Grace Alexander (BMC MTB Dev. Team) will contest the junior women's event.
Six discretionary selections will represent the US in the elite men's downhill. Junior downhill national champion Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing), Brian Buell (Geronimo) who was ninth at the 2011 Highland Pro GRT, reigning 15-16 downhill national champion Logan Mulally, Max Morgan (Georgia Bicycle Racing Association), runner-up at the Beech Mountain Downhill, bronze medalist at the 2010 Pan Am Continental Mountain Bike Championships downhill Joey Schusler (Yeti Fox Factory) and John Swanguen (ODI-X-Fusion-Intense) who was seventh at the Northstar US Pro GRT will make up the powerful squad.
The reigning women's continental downhill champion Jacqueline Harmony will be joined by Katie Holden (CU Cycling-Boulder) to make up the women's downhill squad.
Competition is expected to begin on Saturday, April 7.
US Team for the 2012 Pan American Continental Mountain Bike Championships
Elite men cross country
Elite women cross country
U23 men cross country
Jack Hinkens (BMC MTB Dev. Team)*
Kerry Werner (BMC MTB Dev. Team)*
Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek)
Howard Grotts (Team Specialized Racing)
U23 women cross country
Junior men cross country
Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing)
Junior women cross country
Grace Alexander (BMC MTB Dev. Team)
Elite men downhill
Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing)
Brian Buell (Geronimo)
Max Morgan (Georgia Bicycle Racing Association)
Joey Schusler (Yeti Fox Factory)
John Swanguen (ODI-X-Fusion-Intense)
Elite women downhill
Katie Holden (CU Cycling-Boulder)