Cycling looks for another National Championship in CyclocrossJanuary 3, 2017
BREVARD, N.C. – The Brevard College Cycling team is setting its sights on another championship in cyclocross, after capturing its first USA Cycling Division I National Championship in mountain biking in the fall. The team is traveling to Hartford, Connecticut, this week for the 2017 Cyclocross National Championships.
Head coach Brad Perley said he looks to build on the success of last year’s nationals performance, when the team turned in great results on its home turf at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville.
“Our students are approaching the races with their own personal goals and aspirations in mind, but there is no question that the primary objective is our overall team result,” Perley said. “While there are three different events during the week (men’s DI, women’s DI, and team relay), they all contribute to the overall team placing. The omnium is certainly our goal this year.”
Brevard is taking a talented bunch of student-athletes to Hartford for the competition, including four experienced seniors leading the way for the Tornados. Seniors Ray Dangelmaier (Brighton, Mich.), Zack Staniack (Brighton, Mich.), Zach Valdez (Hemet, Calif.), and Allison Arensman, (Valdese, N.C.) have shown success at both the DI and DII levels throughout their careers, including two cyclocross national titles in 2013 and 2014.
Valdez said he believes the team has the opportunity to walk away with a podium in the team omnium this year.
“This would be a major feat too, considering our DI win in mountain bike nationals last fall. Winning team omnium at Snowshoe, as a senior, was the absolute best way to leave the collegiate mountain bike scene,” Valdez said. “If we are able to get a top three or even a win in team omnium at cyclocross nationals, that would be an even better way to cap off my senior year. We have a great group of guys and girls this season, and I am very excited to be racing alongside them this coming week.”
Walker Shaw (Hendersonville, N.C.) Trevor Kingbury (Petoskey, Mich.), and Zack Lowden (Cary, N.C.), will also join the roster as they have one year of Division I competition under their belts. Janelle Cole (Rockford, Mich.) and Samantha Miranda (Valley City, Ohio) return to lead the Tornados women’s team. Miranda turned in a top-10 finish at Furman earlier in the season.
The Tornados will take three very talented freshmen to Hartford. Hannah Arensman (Valdese, N.C.), Scott McGill and Carson Beckett (Benton, Ky.) will add depth to the roster. Arensman and McGill have competed at high levels of cyclocross competition as junior cyclists before joining the Tornados. Beckett completed a successful mountain bike season last fall, finishing in fourth place. The freshman picked up cyclocross quickly, finishing seventh in the Men’s A race at Furman earlier this season.
Despite its success in last year’s competition and the national championship in mountain biking, Brevard is still considered the “underdog” in Division I. However, Allison Arensman knows that her team is a force to be reckoned with and would like to close out her successful collegiate career with another national title.
“Brevard College brought the noise at the 2016 DI Mountain Bike National Championships, and we were able to come away with the team omnium win. This is a huge boost for our team as we head into our second year in DI,” Arensman said. “We continue to establish ourselves as top contenders. The 2017 Cyclocross Nationals is setting up to be another amazing effort by our team. I am ready and anticipating an intense showdown in the New England elements.”
The Tornados last competed on Dec. 10 when they hosted the conference championships in Hendersonville. Although the team has been away from campus, they have kept up a strict training regimen since nationals falls on the final week of winter break. Another challenge faced by hese North Carolina cyclists is competing in the wintry New England weather in January.
Coach Perley said he believes his team will not let the challenges affect their focus for a spot on the podium.
“We are extremely proud of the team’s efforts throughout the mountain bike season, as well as nationals in October,” Perley said. “However, we continue to be a team that is constantly looking to move both forward and upward. There are many other teams competing against us in Hartford, possessing some major talents, but we will remain focused on our own goals and preparation to ensure we will represent Brevard College well on race day.”
The Tornados kick off competition on Wednesday, Jan. 4, with the men’s and women’s Division I Varsity races. Races continue Thursday with the team relay. Find out the latest results at www.usacycling.org.