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Bees bring home the gold

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by Patrick Cox

The SCAD Bee’s Savannah Cycling team traveled to Augusta, GA this past weekend to compete in the USA Collegiate Nationals hosted by USA Cycling and bringing together schools from coast to coast. The race weekend kicked off on Friday with the Individual and Team Time Trials. SCAD Savannah dominated the podium’s top three in the women’s individual time trial event as Olivia Ray took 1st with a time of 34:26, Abby Youngwerth in 2nd at 36:41 and Erin Blumel rounding out the trio with a time of 40:12.

Finishing Friday on a high note, the Bee’s went into Saturday morning’s road races with high hopes. Ray again took the top spot to collect her second gold medal this weekend. The race was four laps inside Fort Gordan, totaling 60 miles for the women and what was supposed to be a five lap, close to 75-mile race for the men, was shortened to four laps after thunder and lighting were spotted in the area nearby.

In an interview with USA Cycling talking about the course and her win Saturday, “It was pretty difficult again today. The course is very hilly and punchy. There were a lot of attacks towards the last one and a half laps. Everyone was holding back and waiting for the last climb,” Ray said, 21, who has three collected three collegiate track titles over the past two years. “I think everyone was sort of saying ‘she can only do track.’ I wanted to prove to everyone, and myself, that I’m not just a one trick pony. I can do a couple of disciplines.” At the start of the Fall 2018 quarter Ray was just coming back from Colorado Springs, CO having won Track Nationals. The future looks bright for SCAD’s own Olivia Ray.

The men’s club division had a huge crash less than 10 minutes into their almost three-hour race. The start of the men’s varsity team was put on hold for nearly 40 minutes while the bikes from the crash were untangled, dissembled and brought back to the start while the riders involved were cared for.

As the team departed the hotel and headed towards downtown Augusta, as the criterium race began, rain started to pour down. The criterium for Nationals was a 1.4km (.86 mile) circuit with six corners, using a four-block section to circle the Augusta Commons. Both club and varsity divisions of women raced for 70 minutes and both mens divisions raced for 90 minutes.

The rain started to clear and roads began to dry up as the women’s varsity race started. While rounding the last corner of the first lap, a huge pile-up taking out both Youngwerth and Lisa Neumüller caused the race to come to a half hour hold while riders were cared to. Neumüller was taken to Augusta University Hospital but was released later that day and is doing okay. Ray, however, managed to stay upright despite multiple crashes in the race and took home her third and final gold for the weekend. Shortly after, the rain returned and created a dangerous race for the men with slick roads and tight, fast turns. Rand Allison and Nic Nikuradse, both riders for SCAD Savannah, ultimately pulled out of the race early.

Spring has been a successful season for the Bee’s as Cycling took the title for USA Cycling Varsity Division 2 Top Ranked Team for the 2018-19 season and the overall Top Ranked Varsity Division 2 Omnium for the weekend.

Just as victoriously, the Women’s Lacrosse team won the NAIA National Championship, and the Equestrian team won the American National Riding Commission National Division National Championship in April.

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