Werner and Gilbert Win Singlespeed Titles on Day 5 of Cyclocross Nationals

December 10, 2022

Crabbe, Meegan, O’Donnell, Morozowich, Newlands, Mullins, and Bravman earn additional titles on the penultimate day of #CXNats.

HARTFORD, Conn. /ENDURANCE SPORTSWIRE/ – The 2022 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships continued on Saturday with freezing temperatures that changed the course conditions drastically. What were once pits of mud have now become deep, frozen ruts.

The day began with the Industry races. Taking the lead right after the pit was Jon Gallagher (Heber, Utah; One2Go Event Services-Rule 76 Racing). He maintained a consistent lead the entire race, earning him the win. Brian Rosener (Princeton, N.J.; TMB Racing-Trek Bicycle Summit) took second, and John Ricardi (Hampden, Mass.; Competitive Edge Racing) rounded out the podium for third. Taking the win on the women’s side was Pat Murray (San Diego, Calif.; SDBC Powered by Bonnici Law Group p-b UC Cyclery). She finished over 4 minutes ahead of second-place finisher Mei Zhao (Azusa, Calif.; Bike Hub).

Junior racing was full throttle all day long. Taking home the first junior national title of the week was defending national champion Matthew Crabbe (Buford, Ga.; Mission Devo Cycling p/b Tyler Perry Studios). Crabbe rode a stellar race to finish over a minute ahead of second place finisher Tucker Platte (Littleton, Colo.; Avout Racing). Rounding out the podium in third was Project Echelon rider Lukas Young (APO).

The Junior Women 13-14 had a stacked field. Delaney Meegan (Littleton, Colo.; Avout Racing), the eventual race winner, went out front early on. After riding consistent laps and being the smoothest racer through the technical sections, her attention to consistency paid off. Meegan became the Junior Women’s 13-14 national champion. Leah Morozowich (Scottsdale, Ariz.; Durango Devo) finished in second, and Tessa Beebe (Boise, Idaho; BYRDS Racing) took third.

The battle for the youngest national title of the weekend started their races just as temperatures began to rise. After finishing in a time of 23:45, Chase O’Donnell (Delmar, N.Y.; Capital Bicycle Racing Club) rode three clean laps to earn the coveted title of national champion. Mazen Lazar (Baltimore, Md.; Baltimore Youth Cycling) finished in second, and Colt Grimm (Pittsford, N.Y.; Suburban Disposal Corp.) finished in third.

Junior racing continued with the 11-12 Women. The younger women raced three laps on a shortened course. Anna Morozowich (Scottsdale, Ariz.; Durango Devo) finished her race as the gold standard, Abby Cole (East Granby, Conn.; Competitive Edge Racing) secured silver, and Lily Cole (East Granby, Conn.; Competitive Edge Racing) took bronze.

USA Cycling held the first-ever Non-Binary National Championship race. From the start, the race was a battle between Summer Newlands (Portland, Ore.; Team S&M) and Kristin Sundquist (Burlington, Vt.; Green Mountain CX), with Newlands eventually extending their lead to almost a minute. After crossing the line in first, Newlands was named as one of the first non-binary national champions in the world. Henrietta Watts (Bellingham, Wash.; Breakfast Racing Team) secured the bronze medal.

“It’s great to see this category represented on a national level. For a long time, I’ve felt like it’s hard to come out to these races and feel represented,” said Newlands after the race. “In the future, I’m working on getting more access to more trans and non-binary athletes. BRAP Biking Club on Instagram is a team where trans and non-binary athletes, particularly in the northwest, can come make a group and try to just get people to races however possible.”

Kira Mullins (Littleton, Colo.; Avout Racing) is new to the Junior Women’s 15-16 class. After winning the 13-14 race last year in Illinois and the 11-12 race in 2019, she was the racer to watch for the title. Although she crashed on her second lap, Mullins recovered quickly and flowed through the technical section on the south end of the course. Her strength is riding in the mud, and it showed as she won with more than 40 seconds. It was a battle for second between Alyssa Sarkisov (North Potomac, Md.; CXHAIRS DEVO / Trek Bikes) and Alyssa White (Elkins, W.Va.; Finkraft Junior Cycling Team). After three laps, they stayed together the whole way to the pavement for the final sprint. Sarkisov would take silver and White bronze.

The Junior Men’s 15-16 race was sure to be an exciting one, with 96 riders on the starting line. Benjamin Bravman (Golden, Colo.; Boulder Junior Cycling) would find himself on top of the podium after finishing in a time of 30:43. Boulder Junior Cycling has been a powerhouse in cycling over the years, and they brought a full team to this weekend’s race. Finishing second on the day was Jack Bernhard (Pittsford, N.Y.; Finkraft Junior Cycling Team). Bernhard completed three laps in 31:57. Rounding out the podium, Kai Peterka (Littleton, Colo.; Avout Racing) took third.

Reigning champion Sunny Gilbert (Niwot, Colo.; Blue Competition Cycles p/b Build) came to the line with one goal to earn another stars-and-stripes jersey. She did just that. Gilbert dominated the entire race and beat second place finisher Ivy Audrain (Missoula, Mont.; Squid Bikes) by over two minutes.

Gilbert spoke more on her race, “I missed a pedal at the start. No surprise there my feet are frozen. Almost immediately, as soon as we hit the wood chips, I was like, ‘alright, I’ve got this,’ and just found every clean line. I had a couple of bobbles, I mean, who didn’t, but I was able to pull some stuff and got a gap almost immediately and went with it.”

The biggest field of the weekend was the Men’s Singlespeed race with 101 registrants, and it lived up to the hype. In one of the closest races of the day, Kerry Werner (Vinton, Va.; Kona Adventure Team) and Tobin Ortenblad (Santa Cruz, Calif.; Santa Cruz Bicycles ) stayed wheel to wheel for the entire race. It came down to the final stretch, where Werner was able to create a small gap as they went onto the pavement, not even having a moment to post-up after giving everything he had to win on that last lap. The duo rode the fastest lap of the day on the course, riding under a 9-minute lap time. Casey Hildebrand (Antigo, Wisc.; Broken Spoke) made his comeback to racing after taking some time off to pursue teaching full-time. The kids in his classroom were cheering loud for him to take third in a stacked Singlespeed field.

Werner spent the day playing defense. He said, “I think [that was] partly luck and partly putting my head down and going for it. Tobin was really crafty on that last lap, I just kept on trying to take away lines from him that he had been taking, but then he would just do the opposite line, and he would get in front of me, I knew there wasn’t a lot of space to pass in the last two minutes of the lap, so I really wanted to be in front, and I passed him in the dip on heading into the stairs, and once I got on the front, I had to stay on the gas.”

When looking ahead to the Elite race tomorrow, Werner said, “I’m not saying I thought this would be easy, but I didn’t think it would be quite so hard. I was kind of using it as an opener, but I don’t know. I think we’ll just go into it and do the best we can for recovery tonight. I typically do better on the second day in a weekend, but I’m also racing against a lot of other guys that also will be racing for the second day, so it will be interesting to see.”

Racing continues tomorrow morning at Riverside Park. A full schedule of racing can be found at cxnats.usacycling.org or by clicking here.

Visit USACycling.org for more information on the athletes, events and membership programs, and follow @USACycling across all channels for the latest on Team USA.

For more information, contact Angelina Palermo at apalermo@usacycling.org.

ABOUT USA CYCLING (usacycling.org)

USA Cycling is the national governing body for the sport of cycling and oversees the disciplines of road, track, mountain bike, cyclocross, and BMX. USA Cycling’s mission is to grow participation and engagement with the sport of bicycle racing and achieve sustained international success across all cycling disciplines. USA Cycling supports cyclists of all levels and abilities, from those just beginning in the sport to international caliber athletes. The organization identifies, develops, and selects cyclists to represent the United States in international competition through the support of youth and interscholastic programs, amateur and grassroots bike racing events, athlete development programs, and operational support for cycling clubs, racing teams, and event organizers. USA Cycling has a membership of 80,000, sanctions over 2,500 events annually, and is a member of the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) and United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee (USOPC).