Ropelato and Kintner win four cross titles

Finals run under the lights in Sol Vista

A mix of new names and familiar names topped the podiums at the elite four cross national championship on Saturday evening in Granby, Colorado. Jill Kintner (Red Bull / Intense / Crankbrothers) and Mitch Ropelato (Café Rio / Canfield Brothers) took home the titles after the finals.

In the women's race, it was a battle between two of the best women in the world: Kintner and current four cross World Champion Melissa Buhl (Red Bull / Intense / Crankbrothers). The two hooked elbows at the top, but both showed their skill and experience by keeping it upright and then riding away from their competition.

"Buhly and I are always pretty even," said Kintner. "She is always really fast out of the start. She got kinda of loose and I got kinda loose at the start." Kinter came out of the tangle faster and found herself at the top of the run with a significant gap.

"After that she had a big gap and it was hard to close it," said Buhl. "We were drifting in every corner. It was tough. It was unfortunate as we couldn't accelerate at the start, and it balled up the pack a little, but that's racing. It's four cross and I expect it. If that kind of thing doesn't happen, you'd wonder if you tried hard enough."

"It's good to get the stars and stripes back," said Kintner after her win, recalling her last championship win in 2006. "The more loose and crazy it got, the more fun it was." Many racers commented that the track got looser and looser over the course of the evening.

Kathy Pruitt (Jamis) and Darian Harvey (Cannondale Factory Racing) finished third and fourth in the big final.

In the men's race, the 17-year-old Ropelato surprised many by winning the final.

"I got a little tangled up but pulled out of it the best I could and just pinned it," said Ropelato, who lives in Ogden, Utah. "I'm so excited right now."

Rich Houseman (Intense) and Ropelato split one way at the top of the run while Brian Buell (Team Geronimo) and JD Swanguen (Intense / Troy Lee Designs) split the other.

"That last run was hectic," said Buelle, who passed Houseman to occupy second for a brief period during the final run. "I kinda went through the middle. First and second bobbled and I moved into second, but then Rich came and got me back when I almost fell off the course." Buelle is a pro racer and manager for the junior development Team Geronimo.

Houseman ended up second, Buell took third and JD Swanguen finished fourth in the big final.

Elite men
1Mitch Ropelato (Cafe Rio / Canfield Brothers)  
2Richard Houseman (Intense)  
3Brian Buell (Team Geronimo)  
4John Swanguen (Intnese/Troy Lee Designs/ODI/Fox Racing Shox)  
5Joseph Backus (Factory Staats)  
6Blake Carney (Hayes / Sun Ringle / Nema / Manitou / ODI / Yeti)  
7Jamas Stiber (Stiber Racing)  
8Ross Milan (Yeti Fox National)  
9Logan Binggeli (KHS Bicycles)  
10George Stephenson (Yeti Fox Regional)  
11James Schwanke (Haro / Axo / Oakley / Subway)  
12Nick Van Dine (Cannondale Factory Racing)  
13Sean Mcclendon (X-Fusion/Intense)  
14Thomas Tokarczyk (Jamis Bikes)  
15Fisker Tj (Mafia Racing)  
16Jordan Rupe (Team Totally Wired)  
17Cody Wilderman (Yeti Fox Regional)  
18Joshua Hubbard  
19Arthur Daley  
20James Hollibaugh (Mafia Racing)  
21Michael Buell (Team Geronimo)  
22Chase Bohn (Versus Cycles)  
23Steven Wentz (Team SolVista / Commencal USA)  
24Tyler Wilson (X-Fusion/Intense)  
25Kayman Benetti (Go Pro Camera)  
26David Ziegman (Yeti Fox Racing Team)  
27Dante Harmony (All Mountain Cyclery/Hayes)  
28Jarrod Jakubiak  
29Daniel Cortina (CR1 Engineering / NEMA / Cortina)  
30Michael Haderer (Fox Shox/Orange Bikes/Easton/Bell)  
31Heikki Hall (E13)  
32Taylor Cuisinot (Xtreme Outfitters)  
33Rudy Unrau (Yeti Fox Regional)  
Elite women
1Jill Kintner  
2Melissa Buhl  
3Kathy Pruitt  
4Darian Harvey  
5Jacqueline Harmony  
6Rachel Bauer  
7Neven Steinmetz  
Cat. 1/2/3 Women
1Johanne Tuttle  
2Alisha Gibson  
3Catherine Cantway  
4Christen Boyer  
5Christin Mccurdy  
6Brittany Jackson  
7Maddie Crowley  
8Soraya Khalje  
9Katy Monger  
Cat. 1 Junior Men 15-18
1Garrett Rose  
2Christian Wright  
3Teddy Benge  
4Kevin Aiello  
5Sam Powers  
6Harrison Ory  
7James Ontiveros  
8Samuel Stevens  
9Max Syron  
10Andy Proctor  
Cat. 1 Men 19-29
1Shawn Eason  
2John Clark  
3Keaton Ward  
4Matthew Russell  
5Joel Shelton  
6Daniel Mazuti  
7Geoffrey Fryer  
8Billy Parker  
9Max Beard  
10Casey Norton  
Cat. 1 Men 30-39
1Eric Landis  
2John Lewis  
3Jon Houde  
4Joshua Graham  
5Jason Halverson  
6Jason Wilber  
7Shawnee Mcgovern  
8Chris Webb  
9Jeff Kegu  
10Brian Pier  
11Evan Chute  
12Steve Valenti  
Cat 1 Men 40+
1Chris Cawley  
2Damon Kirchmeier  
3David Decker  
4Randy Hall  
5Wade Wilderman  
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