Summerhill breaks bad luck streak to win Under 23 American 'cross title

Race winner Danny Summerhill (Garmin) leads the next time around and for the rest of the race

Race winner Danny Summerhill (Garmin) leads the next time around and for the rest of the race (Image credit: Bill Hurley/FASTshots)

Danny Summerhill (Garmin-Felt) and Ashley James won their respective events in the Under 23 US Cyclo-Cross National Championships held in Bend, Oregon, on Sunday.

Ashley James triumphed in her first stars and stripes jersey with her win of the Under 23 women's national title. She placed 29th in the elite women's race won by UCI World Cup leader Katie Compton (Planet Bike).

Summerhill won his first Under 23 title which comes somewhat as a surprise after he captured a silver medal at the 2007 Junior Cyclo-Cross World Championships. Summerhill admitted that a series of bad luck and illness kept him from winning the national title in the past.

"The Under 23 title has eluded me up until now," Summerhill said. "Every year there was a big reason why I didn't win it. First year, I dropped my chain when [Bjorn] Selander won. Next, last year, I came down with the flu and raced with a temperature of 101 [degrees Fahrenheit]. I'm glad the unlucky streak is gone."

Summerhill was grateful to win the Under 23 title in front of a cheering corner of friends and family who came to support him in the Old Mill District of Bend.

"I did get a lot of support and congrats from people," Summerhill said. "I was happy and satisfied to finally accomplish this. I was pleased that it was finally done because it was something that had eluded me for so long. [I put] an end to the haunting of bad luck at the other races. I was pleased after the race that my family and friends were there."

Summerhill will turn his attention to the International Cycling Union (UCI) Under 23 Cyclo-Cross World Championships held in Tabor, Czech Republic, in January. He is scheduled to depart on December 16 to Belgium where he will participate in the annual Geoff Proctor's Euro 'Cross Camp leading up to the grand finale.

"I'm pretty sure I'll be on the worlds' team with some really good guys like Jerome Townsend and [Zach] McDonald," Summerhill said. "I've been apart of the Euro 'Cross Camp for five or six years, and that's where I learned a lot about 'cross. The camp is based out of the Under 23 US national team house in Belgium."

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Kirsten Frattini