Jeremy Powers (Easthampton, Mass./Rapha-Focus) and Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Rabobank-Giant) took home elite national titles as the 2012 USA Cycling Cyclo-cross National Championships concluded Sunday with thousands fans watching live both in person and on line. Collegiate national titles were also decided on the final day of competition; wrapping up five days of racing which saw more than 1,100 competitors and 5,000 spectators at Badger Prairie Park outside Madison, Wisconsin.
The men’s elite competition was a story of five riders driving the front of the race as Jonathan Page (Northfield, N.H./Planet Bike), Jeremy Powers (Easthampton, Mass/Team Rapha-Focus), Ryan Trebon (Bend, Ore./LTS-Felt), Tim Johnson (Topsfield, Mass./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) and Dylan McNicholas (Stratham, N.H./Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) quickly established themselves outfront. The leading riders played a long game of cat and mouse, with multiple attacks quickly being chased down. After an early-race mishap, youngster Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Team Rapha-Focus), fought to bridge to the group of veteran leaders and eventually caught them, giving Powers a teammate in the front group.
With two laps remaining in the eight-lap affair, Powers saw a slight opening and attacked, leaving Trebon behind. As he pursued the first national title of his career, Powers shredded his last two laps in 8:03 and 8:04 to cruise to the top step of the podium. Trebon finished 17 seconds behind Powers. Page secured the bronze medal, 12 seconds ahead of McDonald while Johnson rounded out the podium in fifth place.
“I can retire happy now,” a very emotional Powers said. “I don’t care really what happens after this. This was the one thing that’s eluded me and to get this it means so much. I’m going to proudly wear that national champion’s jersey every day next year.”
With the victory Powers earned an automatic nomination to represent the United States at the upcomining UCI Cyclo-cross World Championships in Belgium.
Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team) rode away with her eighth consecutive women’s national championship, finishing the five-lap contest in 46:42. The battle for second, however, was hotly contested between Wisconsin native and a pupil of Compton’s, Kaitlin Antonneau (Racine, Wisc./Cyclocrossworld-Cannondale Cyclocrossworld), and her teammate Nicole Duke (Boulder, Colo.). On the second-to-last lap, Antonneau attacked to open a 19-second gap on Duke and did not relent, finishing 18 seconds ahead of Duke to earn the U23 women’s national championship as well as the silver in the women’s elite race.
“I took the technical parts as slow as possible without making a mistake,” Antonneau explained. “As long as I didn’t make a mistake I was happy. I didn’t care how slow I went I just didn’t want to crash. So it was good.”
Compton, who will contest the International Cycling Union Cyclo-cross World Championships in Koksijde, Belgium on Jan. 28-29, was thrilled with her win.
“It’s awesome,” Compton said. “I don’t think it’s really sunk in yet, but I’m pretty excited to have eight national championships in a row. Its special; I love wearing the Stars-and-Stripes and competing in Europe. I get a lot of respect for that. So hopefully I have good form and I come into cross worlds feeling strong.”
The DI men started the day’s racing on a ground left frozen by an overnight freeze and lower temperatures than earlier in the event. The course hardly presented a challenge to the lead group of four riders, Kerry Werner (Banner Elk, N.C./Lees-McRae College), Skyler Trujillo (Fort Collins, Colo./Fort Lewis College), Eric Emsky (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) and Joshua Johnson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Marian University) churned through their first lap in 8:27. Emsky gained a slight edge after the second of their five laps, but Werner stepped on the gas on the third lap, finishing it in 7:56 to take the lead, leaving Trujillo and Emsky to work together to try to catch up. The two SkyHawks were unable to track him down as Werner secured the Stars-and-Stripes, 13 seconds ahead of silver medalist Trujillo and bronze medalist Emsky. Fellow SkyHawk Rotem Ishay (Durango, Colo.) finished fifth, just behind Johnson.
“Everybody was cheering really loud especially in the pit area,” Werner said. “It was really motivational.”
In the men’s DII race, Jeffrey Bahnson (Newark, Del./Green Mountain College), who finished third in Saturday’s men’s U23 race, quickly opened a strong margin, posting the fastest time on each of the first three laps. Closely pursuing him were Tanner Hurst (Gallatin, Tenn./Cumberland University) and Timothy Jenkinson (Mars Hill, N.C./Mars Hill College), who were locked in a battle for second place. After Hurst bested Jenkinson by 12 seconds on the third of the five-lap contest, Jenkinson returned the favor by 23 seconds on the fourth to help him secure the silver medal, 35 seconds behind Bahnson and 22 seconds ahead of Hurst.
“I got in front made a gap and stuck with it, stayed steady and tried to keep upright.” Bahnson said.
Marian University edged Fort Lewis College for the DI team overall (omnium) title. After today’s competition finished with a deadlock between the two powerhouse cycling schools, the best individual finish, Antonneau’s win in Saturday’s women’s DI race, gave Marian the tie-break win. Lees-McRae College finished in third just one point off the leaders.
On the strength of Mariske Strauss’ (Mars Hill, N.C./Mars Hill College) win in Saturday’s race and two top-10 finishers in Sunday’s men’s race, Mars Hill College took the DII team omnium. Cumberland College finished nine points ahead of the U.S. Military Academy to place second and third, respectively.
1. Jeremy Powers (Easthampton, Mass./Team Rapha-Focus) 1:05:57
2. Ryan Trebon (Bend, Ore./LTS-Felt) 1:06:14
3. Jonathan Page (Northfield, N.H./Planet Bike) 1:06:23
4. Zach McDonald (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Team Rapha-Focus) 1:06:35
5. Timothy Johnson (Topsfield, Mass./Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld.com) 1:07:03
1. Katie Compton (Colorado Springs, Colo./Rabobank-Giant Off Road Team) 46:42
2. Kaitlin Antonneau (Racine, Wisc./Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) 48:41
3. Nicole Duke (Boulder, Colo./Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) 48:59
4. Teal Stetson-Lee (Durango, Colo./Califonia Giant Cycling) 49:14
5. Coryn Rivera (Tustin, Calif./Exergy Twenty12) 50:21
1. Kaitlin Antonneau (Racine, Wisc./Cannondale Cyclocrossworld) 48:41
1. Kerry Werner (Banner Elk, N.C./Lees-McRae College) 41:03
2. Skyler Trujillo (Fort Collins, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 41:16
3. Eric Emsky (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 41:23
4. Joshua Johnson (Fort Wayne, Ind./Marian University) 42:28
5. Rotem Ishay (Durango, Colo./Fort Lewis College) 42:29
1. Jeffery Bahnson (Newark, Del./Green Mountain College) 44:48
2. Timothy Jenkinson (Mars Hill, N.C./Mars Hill College) 45:23
3. Tanner Hurst (Gallatin, Tenn./Cumberland University) 45:45
4. Zachary Semian (Mertztown, Pa./Kutztown University of Pennsylvania) 46:50
5. Adam Miller (Colorado Springs, Colo./Colorado College) 47:34
Collegiate Team Omnium
1. Marian University 167
2. Fort Lewis College 167
3. Lees-McRae College 166
4. Lindsey Wilson College 113
5. University of Wisconsin-Madison 113
1. Mars Hill College 188
2. Cumberland University 117
3. U.S. Military Academy 108
4. University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire 78
5. Georgetown University 77