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South African Strauss to compete for Mars Hill

Mariske Strauss on her way to winning the Under 23 title

Mariske Strauss on her way to winning the Under 23 title (Image credit: Zoon Cronje)

Mars Hill College near Asheville, North Carolina, picked up some extra firepower for the 2012 collegiate season. South African under 23 cross country champion Mariske Strausse, 19, will join the school's team in January according to the team's website.

Strauss has logged top 10 finishes in the UCI World Cup and finished 18th in the under 23 race at the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. She also has experience racing in the women's professional road peloton.

She has been a national champion of some sort for each of the past 10 years and is looking earn some collegiate titles as she pursues a dream of being selected to South Africa's 2012 Olympic team

Strauss will race road, mountain bike and 'cross and she will also dive into some track racing.

"I always put my wheel on the start line with winning in mind. I don't come to races to finish second," she said according to the Mars Hill College Cycling website.