CLEMSON, S.C. – Over the weekend, the King University cycling team won their first conference title securing enough points at the Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Championships to hold off other strong contenders in the conference. The Tornado got off to a rough start on Saturday, but put together what may have been their best performance all season in the criterium on Sunday to take the title.
The race got started on Saturday with the time trial where the men's A team came to a sixth place finish. On the women's side, the A team Tornado came in with a third place finish. In the individual time trial Derek Hurst placed third in the strong men's B category
Things got interesting for King in the road race as they had three men's riders get caught up in two different crashes in the race. Both Alex Jensen and Reuben Dupre got caught in the first wreck and had to drop out of the race while Casey Stallard got slowed down in the second crash. In the same race, T.J. Killelea finished 20th in a field of more than 60 riders.
On the women's side, things went much smoother in the road race as Keely Easterling finished ninth in the women's category B race. In the women's category A race, the Tornado had two riders in the top-10 and three in the top-15. Stephanie Cucaz was King's high finisher, placing fifth while Kate Ross joined her in the top-10 at 10th. Megan Rogers rounded out the group with a 15th place finish.
The King men rebounded on Sunday, however, as the category A riders turned in their best race all season. In what was the toughest race of the season, the Tornado put two riders in the top-15. Julian Cabra finished 10th while Jensen came in right behind him place 11th. In category B, Zach Maness came in with a sixth place finish.
Cucaz found herself at the back of the pack with one lap to go in the women's category A race before she made her move. The sophomore passed the pack and with a strong sprint she pulled away from the field to take the victory. Despite losing her chain on the last corner, Ross still placed 10th in the same race. Jordan Galewski rode her best race of the season in the women's category B race, and placed 8th.
Hurst finished the season with a third place finish in category B while the Tornado took home their first SECCC title and earned the automatic berth into the national race May 3-5 in Ogden, Utah.