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USA earns seven medals at Continental MTB Championships

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Todd Wells (Specialzied) rides in third position on lap two

Todd Wells (Specialzied) rides in third position on lap two (Image credit: Dave McElwaine/
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Men's short track winner Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek) with Brendon Davids (Sho-Air Specialized) chasing

Men's short track winner Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek) with Brendon Davids (Sho-Air Specialized) chasing (Image credit: John Muller/US Cup)
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Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing)

Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing) (Image credit: Sue George, Mountain Bike Editor)

The United States won four golds, two silvers and one bronze medal at the 2012 Pan American Continental Mountain Bike Championships this weekend in Puebla, Mexico.

American Todd Wells (Specialized) rode to gold in the the elite men's cross country race on Sunday in a time of 1:32:15. He finished 1:29 ahead of Catriel Andres Soto (Argentina) and 3:12 ahead of Rubens Valeriano (Brazil). Wells was the only American in the elite men's race; no Americans did the elite women's race.

The US also collected gold in the U23 elite men's cross country race thanks to Russell Finsterwald (Subaru-Trek). Colombia's Diyer Rincon was second just 11 seconds ahead of the next American Kerry Werner (BMC MTB Development Team), who earned the US the bronze medal. First-year U23 racer Howard Grotts (Specialized) was sixth.

On Saturday, Grace Alexander (BMC MTB Development Team) wowed the spectators in Puebla with an outstanding race in which she soloed over the finish line to take the win in the junior women's cross country contest. The 17-year-old Alexander beat out second- and third-place finishers Xiomara Guerrero (Colombia) and Andrea Fuentes (Mexico) to claim the continental title.

Adding to the success of American women this weekend was Jacqueline Harmony, who finished the downhill course with a time of 2:40.88 to get the gold medal in the elite women's competition. The American bested silver and bronze medalists Diana Lorena Droomundo (Mexico) and Diana Maggraff (Ecuador) by three seconds. Also riding to an impressive finish for the US was Katie Holden (CU Cycling-Boulder) in sixth place.

Keegan Swenson (Cannondale Factory Racing) continued the medal winning ways for the US in the junior men's cross country when he rode to a silver medal behind winner Jose Tito Hernandez (Colombia). Rounding out the podium for the junior men was Luis Camacho (Costa Rica).

Also riding to a medal on Saturday was Neko Mulally (Trek World Racing) who posted a time of 2:11.11 to finish second in the elite men's downhill time test. He finished behind Marcelo Gutirrez (Colombia) while Mario Jarrin (Ecuador) rode to the bronze medal. Fellow American Joey Schusler (Yeti Fox Factory) placed 14th.

See full results from the Pan Am Championships in Puebla, Mexico.