Tornados eager to continue Division I Cycling growth

BREVARD, N.C. – With five Division II Mountain Bike National Championships to their credit and a steady will to ride against the best teams the nation has to offer, the Brevard College Cycling Team capped off their first season at the Division I level in traditional podium fashion. Taking home a second-place finish October 25, 2015 in Snowshoe, W.Va. accruing 711 total points over the weekend’s events.

“The first year in Division I Mountain Bike Nationals was also our first national competition racing head-to-head with the DI powerhouses across the nation,” said head cycling coach Brad Perley. “We went into competition with a lot of question marks and considered a bit of an underdog. The team raced very well, ultimately claiming the second-place overall DI honors, surprising many people. We are back this year looking to improve upon our performances with what we have learned.”

The upcoming 2016 mountain bike season will again prove to be a challenge for the growing Tornados program as they will be without decorated riders Cypress Gorry, Spencer Lowden and Nicole Miranda as the trio wrapped up their college careers last May. Gorry, however, will return for the upcoming season as coach Perley’s assistant coach with the hope that the seasoned national champion can help mentor the next wave of young Brevard College riders.

I’m very excited to be able to come back to Brevard as part of the coaching staff,” said Brevard College assistant cycling coach Cypress Gorry. “I look forward to working with an already very strong team towards furthering the successes of Brevard College Cycling.”

The 2016 Brevard roster will feature a plethora of returning race veterans including senior Zach Valdez (Hemet, Calif.) ninth-place Men’s DI Cross Country, sophomore Kyle Grau (Terrace Park, Ohio) second-place Men’s DI Downhill, junior Walker Shaw (Henderson, N.C.) sixth-place Men’s DI Slalom and second-place DI Men’s Individual Omnium, senior Allison Arensman (Valdese, N.C.) fifth-place Women’s DI Short Track and sixth-place Women’s DI Cross Country. While senior Sarah Hill (Bryanston, Johannesburg) makes her final ride in the blue and white taking home a seventh-place ride in Women’s DI Cross Country, seventh-place Women’s DI Downhill and second-place honors in the DI Women’s Individual Omnium.

“While we graduated a few of last year’s top performers,” said Perley. “We have a bunch of strong and experience returners ready to get back at it.”

In addition to a talented returning class, coach Perley has worked this off-season to help position the Tornados for future success at the Division I level, as he added a world championship level rider in freshman Carson Beckett (Benton, Ky.) who will look to make an immediate impact on this season’s squad.

The Tornados are set to begin their run at another hopeful season podium finish when they travel to Clemson, S.C. the weekend of September 3-4, before rounding out the first month of competition with races in Barbourville, Ky. and Banner Elk, N.C. on the weekends of September 10-11 and September 24-25, respectively.

Brevard will than have one last tone up race in Bristol, Tenn. October 1-2, before setting their sights on the Southeast Cycling Conference Championship in Mars Hill, N.C. on October 8-9 and later the USA Cycling Collegiate National Championship back in Snowshoe, W.Va. October 21-23.

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