Tight collegiate racing ends in tie-breaker

Carla Swart's win gave Lees McRae the team title

Carla Swart's win gave Lees McRae the team title (Image credit: Mitch Clinton)

By Andrea Smith, USA Cycling

The USA Cycling Collegiate Cyclo-cross team and individual titles were awarded in two categories - Division I (D1) and. With a tie amongst the top two schools in D1, Fort Lewis College and Lees-McRae College, the team title came down to the highest placing of the day by an individual rider from that institution. That meant Carla Swart's (Lees-McRae) gold-medal performance in the women's race broke the tie and handed the Bobcats the win over their Colorado rivals.

Swart, now a collegiate national champion in all four disciplines, was closely shadowed by last year's second-place-finisher Amanda Miller (Colorado State University). Ultimately Miller had to settle for another silver, finishing in front of Lindsey Wilson's Ashley James who grabbed the bronze. Fort Lewis' top finisher, Teal Stetson Lea was fourth.

The D1 men's race saw Will Dugan (University of Vermont) surge from the back row to pull on his first stars and stripes jersey. Dugan was able to hold off the reigning collegiate cross country mountain bike national champion, Benjamin Sonntag (Fort Lewis College) and his partner in an early race break, Eric Thompson (Lees-McRae College) to win the national title.

The D1 team podium wrapped up with Lindsey Wilson College in third, Colorado State University in fourth and Indiana's Marian College in fifth. In Division 2, Appalachian State, with a balanced attack from both men and women, was able to take home the team title by just ten points over the United States Military Academy. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology finished third while Western Washington University was fourth.

USA Cycling Mountain Bike Development Team member and former collegiate mountain bike national champion Colin Cares (Colorado College) took home the D2 men's title over Mesa State's Kevin Mullervy and Steve Fisher of Western Washington University. Former collegiate road champ Devon Haskell (University of Chicago) earned the D2 women's title in commanding fashion while MIT's Katherine Harris grabbed the silver.

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