Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Red Hawks finish 13th among D2 schools at Nationals

Eric Smith capped the Ripon College cycling team's efforts at USA Cycling’s Collegiate Mountain Bike Nationals at Northstar Resort at Tahoe Sunday with a 13th place finish in the men’s D2 downhill event. Smith’s run time of 4:29.8 was just three seconds off a top-10 pace and helped propel the sophomore from Charlottesville, Va., into 9th place in the individual omnium competition.

With help from fellow sophomore Andy Fehrenbach of Stevens Point, Wis., Smith put the Red Hawks into 13th overall in the team omnium. Junior Renee DeBruin of Appleton, Wis., crashed hard in the opening cross country event, breaking her right collarbone and forcing her out of competition.

Ripon opened the weekend’s racing at the ski and mountain bike resort near Truckee, Calif., with a 25th-place finish by Smith in the cross country race. Fehrenbach placed 34th and DeBruin did not finish. In Saturday’s short track race, Smith placed 20th and Fehrenbach was 39th. Smith also competed in Saturday’s four cross gravity race.

He was eliminated in the first round and placed 27th.

Overall, Smith scored 161 points to put him securely in the top 10 among the D2 men’s omnium participants — one spot up from last year’s 10th place finish.

DeBruin's unfortunate accident hurt Ripon in the team omnium competition as the Red Hawks lost a spot from last year’s 12th place finish.

It is unfortunate that Renee was unable to finish her race. She was positioned in the middle of the pack after the first lap and doing very well. Of course it is disappointing both for Renee and the team, but thankfully her injury was not more severe. In fact, it is one of the most common cycling injuries. She is recovering, and she'll be back next year.

Our cycling program remains ahead of expectations set forth when the team was established in the fall of 2008. We've won our conference championship twice now and qualified multiple riders for nationals in each of the last two years. There is a lot of room for improvement, but our trajectory so far has exceeded expectations. We have a solid foundation of talent to build upon, and we will only get better.

For complete results, visit USA Cycling's web site. And check out the photos I took posted on flickr.

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