The Nitany Lion Roars: Season Overall
By Ian Sullivan
Top 5 Teams
1. The Men and Women of Penn State roared into their first weekend omnium win and season lead of the 2011 season at the Rutgers Scarlet Scurry. They were able to make up for their relatively weak showing in the men’s and women’s ITT during the two mass start events of the weekend. Strong placing throughout the Men’s fields and a 3 rider presence in the Women’s A field played a large factor in their victory. While Penn State is perennially strong when they show up, they are also notorious for their absences at some of the northern races later in the season. Penn State is the host of Eastern’s this year, and if the first weekend is any indication they will have a lot to celebrate at their home race.
2. MIT had a slower start to the season placing second. They have won the team omnium the past two years and also look to be a strong favorite to repeat. Though they were lacking Martha Buckley, their women’s team represented well. Between several new girls and veterans that have stepped up their game the teams seems rock solid at the start of the season. Once Kate Quinn gets her A license MIT’s point scoring woes should be alleviated.
3. Harvard had a huge first weekend out in their new kits, placing third. While their men weren’t able to put up any team points, their women were flawless winning every team event. This was driven by Anna McLoon and Eun Young Choi going 1,3 in the ITT, 1,3 in the Crit and 1,2 in the points race. Although Harvard’s point scoring potential is very high, it rests on the shoulders of very few racers. An absent weekend or a mechanical can easily derail the brilliance they displayed this first weekend.
4. Bucknell has continued their upward trend as a racing club starting the year out with a fourth place finish. Bucknell also rose to the top on the shoulders of their women’s team, who scored 81 of their 139 points. As their strong Women’s B racers bump up to the A’s, the team should be able to pull down even larger point totals and fight it out for a higher placing. The men of the team seemed to have a pretty frustrating weekend. Jeffrey Salvitti was right at the front of all of the Men’s A races, but without any teammates or enough luck he wasn’t quite able to pull off a win this first weekend.
5. Dartmouth opened up the year with a respectable fifth place, although I bet this result is bitter fruit. After a breakout season last year the team must have been aiming for a top three out of the first weekend. A crash in the Men’s A criterium cost them their only A racer for the weekend. As the nordic ski season ends the team will probably have a few more stand out racers trade in their Big Green Skis for Big Green Chamois.
Things that Especially Impressed me:
- Franklin and Marshall: The Diplomats came out huge, winning the Men’s ITT as a team. While there other racing efforts didn’t bear such sweet fruit, they were a presence in almost every race they were in. The last couple of years it seems like this team has really ratcheted up their efforts.
- Kate Quin of MIT was a C racer last year and in her very first A/B race went on the attack with Anna McLoon and lapped the field. I don’t care who you are, that takes some moxy.
- Rutgers Points race: In the higher categories this produced races of an entirely different tenor than we would have otherwise seen. The course was fast, fun and interesting.
Things that Especially Disappointed me:
- My Alma Mater. I think this is the first time in recent memory where not a single UVM racer finished in the top three in a weekend. There are probably a lot of excuses, maybe even a couple of reasons, but in the end not of those are consolation for devastating defeat. Ultimately I have a lot of faith they will turn it around and get back to winning. On the up side I think the women had their best weekend since Rose Long move on.
- Not enough rambunctious cheering. The somewhat steep incline in the circuit race made for a great opportunity to heckle teammates and foes alike, yet few seemed to avail themselves of the opportunity. Come on, that is what makes collegiate cycling so great.