Durango Telegraph - Top of the nation: FLC retains National Mountain Bike Championship
Top of the nation: FLC retains National Mountain Bike Championship

Fort Lewis College cemented its status as the nation’s collegiate cycling powerhouse last weekend. The local team successfully defended its overall National Mountain Bike Champion title at the races held in Truckee, Calif. Fort Lewis took the Division I prize with a dominant performance over second- and third-ranked University of Colorado and Lees-McRae College.

The competition drew to a close on Sunday with the downhill contests, where riders descended a 1.33-mile course that boasted 973 staggering feet of vertical drop. Fort Lewis’ Sage Wilderman blazed to gold as the only woman in her division to break the five-minute barrier. Having already won the short track cross country race, Wilderman won the overall omnium prize. Her teammate, Kaila Hart took fifth place in the omnium competition. On the men’s side, Nate Byrom, of Fort Lewis, was awarded third place in the overall competition.

Not to be forgotten, FLC’s Rotem Ishay handed in dominating performances in both cross-country and short-track. The Israeli National led the cross-county race in its entirety, holding off attacks from Lees-McRae, Cal-Poly and Colorado State riders. Then Ishay dominated the short-track taking a second gold for the weekend.

Durango also earned two other titles in a roundabout way at the championships. Durango DEVO phenom and current Colorado School of Mines rider, Howard Grotts, claimed Division II victories in both the cross-country and short-track races.

– Will Sands

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