Powless wins U23 women's cross country national championship

Courtney and Batten earn junior titles

Shayna Powless (BMC Development Team) raced to victory in the U23 women's cross country race on a very hot and humid Friday morning at Bear Creek Resort in Pennsylvania. Kaila Hart (NoTubes Women's Elite Team) and Deidre York (Gear Movement) completed the top three

In the beginning of the three-lap race, Powless was battling with defending national champion Lauren Catlin (Durango Devo).

"We went out pretty fast. Lauren took off right from the start, and I was just trying to hang on the first lap," said Powless to Cyclingnews. "She maintained a good distance, but then I passed her going up to the climb. I didn't see her or anyone else after that."

Catlin had a rear wheel problem and pulled out going into the second lap.

"It was a fun race and it was tough. I definitely had to clip out a few times because it was pretty technical, but it was one of my favorite races so far," said Powless. "I could hear the announcer talking when the others came through, but it was hard to tell where they were."

Powless soloed onward for the win - her first cross country mountain bike national title.

Hart could frequently see her rival up ahead.

"I was just pinning it trying to stay with Shayna and Lauren in the beginning," said Powless. "My race was awesome - it was so fun. The course was awesome - even though I was suffering the whole time, it was so fun."

"It wasn't as hot as I was expecting. In Wisconsin last weekend, our race was at 1 pm, and that was brutally hot. I was glad we were racing in the morning. I remembered to drink a lot and poured a lot of water over me."

Hart's strategy was to focus on Powless in front of her, rather than on those chasing her. She improved upon her fourth place finish from last year.

In third place, York had a disappointing day.

"My race wasn't as good as I would have liked, but I'll take third," said York, still seeing the good part of the day. "The riding was great and the course was suited to me. It was just a bad day for my body - you can't do anything about that."

"I was going back and forth with the girl in fourth. She was a better climber than me, and I'd pass her on the descents. On the last lap, she unfortunately got a flat," said York, who was second last year.

Jill Behlan (University of Wyoming) and Emily Shields rounded out the top five.

Junior women 17-18

Kate Courtney (Whole Athlete/Specialized) won the two-lap women's 17-18 race ahead of Kaylee Blevins (Durango Devo) and Mercedes Drummond.

Courtney started her on a good note. "There was a tough start lap with a big climb. I got in front there and was able to hold it the whole race," she said to Cyclingnews.

"It was a great race. I loved the course. It was super technical and fun which is kind of a change for this year. Everyone was super courteous out there on the trail. I loved riding that course. To me, it was a 'real mountain bike course'. It had rocks, it had roots, it had climbing. It was physically and technically challenging, which is fun to ride and pushes you."

It was Courtney's first junior 17-18 cross country national title, which she added to two previous junior 15-16 titles. Last year, she finished third at nationals in the 17-18 race.

"It's been a great season. I've had great support and I've been working a lot on technical skills and training to compete on the international level. This year I was able to hang more with the top girls, which was definitely my goal."

Ellen Noble (CF Racing) and India Waller (Durango Devo) were fourth and fifth, respectively.

Junior women 15-16

Haley Batten gave Whole Athlete/Specialized a second junior women's title by winning the two-lap 15-16 race. Despite starting in a wave behind her elders, she was quickly mixing it up with the U23 women and came through in seventh overall on the first lap.

"I've had bad starts recently, but I got off the line and was able to get into first on the prologue. I was first into the singletrack, and then I was having really good laps," said Batten to Cyclingnews. "I usually crash a lot, too, but I didn't, and I was feeling very smooth. It went well."

Batten, who was the junior 13-14 national champion last year, was off the front the entire time. "I was sweating a lot and feeling the heat a little bit, but I was trying to get it out of my mind, and that helped me a lot."

Emma Drummond and Ksenia Lepikhina round out the top three.

Lepikhina was in second place until the last lap, when Drummond got around her on a steep climb.

"It was a very hard race. The hills made it hard, and it was a technical course, but I liked it. Right before the first rock drop, I moved up into second," said Drummond.

Lepikhina said, "I finished third. It was a good race, but it was pretty hot out there. On a steep climb on the last lap, I was in second, but Emma passed me. I hit a heat wave and was tired, but it was a fun race."

Tiziana Dehorney (Get out! New Mexico) and Melissa Seib (Bikeman.com) completed the podium.

Full Results

U23 women
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Shayna Powless (BMC Mountainbike Development Team USA) 1:28:37  
2 Kaila Hart (No Tubes Elite Womens Racing) 0:00:56  
3 Deidre York (The Gear Movement Pro Cycling Team) 0:09:12  
4 Jill Behlen (University Of Wyoming) 0:11:58  
5 Emily Shields 0:14:19  
6 Hailey Sarausky 0:17:45  
8 Nicole Miranda (Mirco Racing) 0:13:45  
DNF Nathalie Krantz    
DNF Lauren Catlin (Durango Devo)    
Junior women 17-18
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Kate Courtney (Whole Athlete) 0:42:08  
2 Kaylee Blevins (Durango Devo) 0:03:55  
3 Mercedes Drummond 0:03:57  
4 Ellen Noble 0:04:33  
5 India Waller (Durango Devo)    
6 Karen Brocket (Jet Cycling/Jetcycling) 0:08:24  
7 Caroline Woods 0:08:41  
8 Ginny Jeppi (Sublime Athletics Velo) 0:11:01  
9 Jessica Kruse (Team Bulldog) 0:13:33  
10 Sarah Ogden (Bear Development Team) 0:15:36  
11 Angelina Palermo 0:15:37  
12 Maddie Ortenblad (Bear Development Team) 0:17:33  
13 Morgan Tardy (Bear Development Team) 0:24:56  
DNF Emily Schaldach (Durango Devo)    
Junior women 15-16
# Rider Name (Country) Team Result
1 Haley Batten (Whole Athlete/Specialized) 0:42:48  
2 Emma Drummond 0:02:30  
3 Ksenia Lepikhina 0:02:46  
4 Tiziana Dehorney (Get Out! New Mexico) 0:05:14  
5 Melissa Seib (Bikeman) 0:07:37  
6 Emma Swartz (Brazen Dropouts/Junior Dropouts) 0:07:56  
7 Katherine Santos (Borah Girls) 0:09:57  
8 Avery Morin (Bear Development Team) 0:12:26  
9 Daisy Ward 0:21:51  
10 Emily Croft (James River Velo Sport) 0:22:03  


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