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Abbott, Sears receive USA collegiate scholarships

USA Cycling announced the recipients of the 2007 John Stenner Collegiate Cycling Scholarships on Thursday. Mara Abbott (Whitman College) and Jason Sears (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) were each granted $2,500 scholarships based on academic achievements, athletic accomplishments and service to the community with an emphasis on collegiate team involvement and leadership.

Abbott, a senior economics major, carries a 3.70 GPA in the classroom and is arguably the most successful collegiate cyclist in the US. At the 2007 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, Abbott brought home three gold medals with an overall Division II championship, a victory in the road race and as part of the winning Whitman College team time trial squad.

Abbott's accomplishments extended to cycling's highest level, seeing the 22 year-old finish second in the Montreal Women's World Cup, a stage win and the mountains classification as well as second overall in the Redlands Classic, as well as the US Elite National road championship and the U23 time trial title.

Abbott, who signed a professional contract with Team High Road for the 2008 season, also sits on the National Collegiate Cycling Association's Board of Trustees.

The men's recipient of the 2007 John Stenner Collegiate Cycling Scholarship, Sears is a graduate student at MIT where he is a research assistant at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center and secretary of the MIT Cycling Team. He currently carries a 4.70 GPA with a double major in electrical engineering and computer science and minor in mathematics.

On the bike, Sears captured an overall national title at the 2007 USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships and finished seventh in the criterium at the collegiate road national championships. Throughout the season, Sears also claimed eight top-five finishes in various regional and collegiate events throughout the U.S.

Sears is the secretary of MIT cycling, and has made numerous strides in improving the cycling programs at MIT and assisting other institutions with starting collegiate cycling programs.

"The contributions of both Mara and Jason to collegiate cycling throughout the 2007 academic year have been tremendous," commented Steve McCauley, USA Cycling Director of Development. "Their success in the classroom, on the bike and in the community is unparalleled and their contributions define them as the best all-around collegiate cyclists in the U.S. this year. On behalf of USA Cycling, I'd like to thank and congratulate them for a phenomenal year."

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