Tornados continue to impress at Lees-McRaeSeptember 13, 2015
By Joshua Cole
BANNER ELK, N.C. – The Tornados took home podiums in nearly every category and event over the weekend, including cross-country and dual slalom on Saturday and short track and downhill on Sunday, after two days of racing hosted by Lees-McRae College.
The conditions were cold and rainy which made the courses treacherous with slick roots and rocks – traction was difficult to find.
Saturday started with the cross-country races, in which the Tornados' newly-minted U-23 Cross-Country National Champion Cypress Gorry took first in the men’s A race. “It started raining during the cross-country race, quickly making the course very muddy and greasy,” said Gorry. “This course is one of the most challenging courses in the dry, and with the rain it only gets harder.”
The Tornados continued their streak of success in the women’s A race with Sarah Hill taking third. “Always staying relaxed with good form while racing at your hardest intensity is so difficult to maintain,” said Hill. Freshman Zack Lowden finished the men’s B race with a very solid second place; Jesse Heard, also a freshman at Brevard, took an aggressive hold of the men’s C race with a win, mirroring his victory last weekend at Georgia Tech.
Dual slalom, an exciting event where racers fly down a tight and tricky to negotiate course to see who is the fastest, was held immediately after the cross-country race. Brevard freshman Ethan Thompson won his first-ever race for the Tornados in the dual slalom event. Regrettably, one of BC’s A category gravity racers, Callum McEwen, suffered a concussion riding dual slalom.
Sunday morning was again cold and wet. The short track race commenced with the men’s A race. Again Gorry’s smart and aggressive riding netted him a podium spot with a second place finish followed by teammate Zach Valdez fending off the competition for the last spot on the podium in third. In the women’s race Hill again finished in third.
“The short track race was my personal highlight for the weekend,” said Hill. “Steep climbs and fast descents left no time to rest; 25 minutes of everything you had meant you really couldn’t leave anything left in the tank.” Allison Arensman finished in fourth, just off the podium. Zack Lowden took third in the men’s B race. Heard’s success from Saturday continued into Sunday securing first in the men’s C race.
The downhill race was the finale event in which two Brevard freshmen took podiums: Kyle Grau, an extremely talented addition to the downhill team, finished in second during men’s A race; Thompson found repeated success in the downhill race taking second in the men’s B race.
The Tornados' next race will be at King University on Oct. 3-4.