RICHMOND, Va. – The King University cycling team reached new heights all year long, starting with a fourth place finish at cyclo-cross nationals, and winning their second consecutive Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference championship. It is only fitting the road season culminated with their best finish at USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals over the weekend, taking fourth against more than 50 Division II teams.
The weekend started out with strong finishes in both the men's and women's team time trials. The Tornado men came in fifth of 12 teams, just under two minutes behind the race winners while the women took sixth in their race to get the weekend off to a great start.
On Saturday, Jennifer Caicedo got King off to a solid start in the criterium after dealing with a little adversity. Caicedo not only had to deal with a crash in the race, but she also had a flat tire. However, she fought back to an impressive second place finish, only one-half of second behind the winner.
The men's criterium was a very deep and fast field, but Alex Jensen still posted a top-10 finish. The senior came in eighth, just 29 second behind the winner. In a field of more than 80 riders, Drew Bailey took 35th in the criterium while T.J. Killelea and Julian Cabra took 42nd and 47th, respectively.
After Saturday, the Tornado were in third place, with just the road race remaining on Sunday. The final day didn't go as planned for the Tornado as Caicedo had to take herself out of the road race due to an injury, but Kaysee Armstrong turned in a gritty performance to take 16th and keep the Tornado close to the top of the standings.
Things didn't go much better on the men's side as Jensen was the highest Tornado performer, taking 24th in the road race. Killelea took 28th, Bailey 43rd, Blake Adams 61st and Zach Maness rounded out the group with a 91st place finish.
However, the Tornado still scored enough points to take their best finish at USA Collegiate Road Nationals, taking fourth place with 238 points. Colorado Mesa University finished first with 504 points, and fellow SECCC member, Brevard College took second with 313 points. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) finished third, just ahead of the Tornado with 302 points.