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November 6, 2012
By Megan Akers
For the second year in a row, the University of Nevada, Reno's Cycling Team finished in the top ten at the 2012 Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships, held Oct. 19-21 in Angel Fire, N.M.
The Nevada Cycling Team, which is recognized as a USA Cycling Team, placed ninth out of 36 competing Division I colleges in the team omnium category at the championships. More than 18 national championships were up for grabs in several racing categories, including cross country, short track cross-country, dual slalom, downhill, individual omnium and team omnium. Team President Casey Hoffman placed fifth in the individual omnium category, earning him the fifth-best "all-mountain" rider ranking in Division 1 cycling. Fellow team member Kristy Peck placed 14th in the women's individual omnium category.
The team had hoped for a top-five finish this year, but struggled with bike and injury-related issues that prevented the achievement of this goal. However, the team was able to rise above and overcome these common cycling sport setbacks in order to continue their battle for an overall high team-omnium standing.
"We can hold our heads high knowing that our racers left everything they had on the trails and we came home for the second year in a row as one of the top 10 cycling teams in the country," team member Chris Dugan said. "That shows that our program is really growing and improving."
Currently, there are 32 members on the Nevada Cycling Team. The team provides University students with the opportunity, encouragement and support to participate in the bicycle racing sport. Throughout the last year, the team has heavily focused on helping new cyclists develop their skills in mountain and road biking, as well as further developing the skill level of its experienced members. This, and the cycling team's emphasis on endurance events and women's events throughout the last year, also helped improve the team's standing at the recent national championships.
The Nevada Cycling Team is now preparing for the upcoming Western Collegiate Cycling Conference Championships. The University team is currently ranked first in the conference, which includes teams from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo; University of California, Davis; Stanford University, California State University, Humboldt; University of Southern California; University of California, Los Angeles; California State University, Chico; California State University, Sacramento; California State University, Fresno; University of California, Berkeley; University of California, Santa Barbara; and University of California, Santa Cruz.
"We have a comfortable lead in the conference going into the championships," Dugan said. "We are going to do our best to defend our lead and bring home some hardware for the school."
After conference championships, the team will begin focusing on next year's road cycling season and gaining new sponsors. As of now, the team is almost entirely funded by local corporate sponsors including Sierra Nevada Corporation, International Gaming Technologies, Trial Science Incorporated and Felt Bicycles, and local bike shops including Velo Reno and Great Basin Bicycles.
"The team is really trying to grow into one of the best programs in the country, and that is going to take more money and more racers," Dugan said. "I think the future of this program is extremely bright and we are looking forward to what the future has to offer."
Megan Akers is a student writer for University Media Relations.