Monday, October 5, 2009

Ripon Secures MWCCC Div. 2 Title

The Red Hawks headed into this weekend’s Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference Championships trailing Michigan Tech by 529 points in the Division Two standings. When the dust settled on the trails near the University of Missouri campus Sunday, Ripon had built a 217-point advantage over Tech to secure the 2009 title.

The Red Hawks effort was led by Tiffany who garnered 228 points with fourth-place finishes in both the Women’s A cross country and short track cross country events. T’s hard work moved her up in the overall individual season standings to third place — tops among Division 2 females — and ensured her spot at the upcoming collegiate mountain bike nationals at Northstar Resort at Tahoe in Truckee, Calif., Oct. 16-18.

Joining her at nationals will be Smitty, who claimed the Div. 2 individual conference championship. Smitty was ninth in the Men’s A cross country event Saturday morning. He then injured his left hand during a trial run of the downhill course that afternoon. Somehow, he was able to suffer through the pain and finish his two runs of the descent for an 11th-place result. He proved his mettle once more by returning Sunday to compete in the short track race on a challenging course that included a steep uphill climb and a rock-strewn downhill. The downhill section was so rough on his injured hand that we was forced to walk it on his final two laps. He still finished in the top 10.

Smitty merely needed to complete the downhill and the short track events to secure a spot on the starting line in those events at nationals. He wasn’t sure he would be able to compete with his injury, but he showed true grit and determination in not only participating in both events, but in performing very well considering the pain he was in.

Shaggy brought home two individual titles from the championship weekend. He won both the Men’s C cross country event and the short track event while also competing in the downhill and dual slalom events. He grossed the most points for Ripon behind Tiffany. Shaggy has shown a lot of progress in what is really his first season racing bicycles. He has a real competitive energy and a drive to expand from the cross country events into the gravity discipline.

Furby garnered the Red Hawks' only other podium placing with a second place in the Men’s B short track race. He also finished fourth in the Men’s B cross country event.

Zach flatted and crashed out of Saturday’s cross country race but returned Sunday to finish fifth in the Men’s C short track event. Paul was eighth in the short track and 10th in the cross country.

I’m very pleased with how far our program has come in just its second year. We’ve won the conference title and two of our riders have earned a trip to compete at nationals. Our progress is ahead of schedule.

Look for the Red Hawks at the final race of the Wisconsin Off Road Series, Sunday, Oct. 11, in Sheboygan.

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