Western State mountain bikers keep on truckin’ in Truckee

Team takes 11th place overall in national championships

“We wanted to show everyone that we’re still here,” says Eric Booton, president of the Western State College mountain biking team, and one of five riders who competed last weekend in the USA Cycling’s Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships in Truckee, Calif.
The WSC team took 11th place in the Division II category, out of 25 colleges. In Division II, Brevard College took this year’s championship, with Fort Lewis College securing the Division I title.
The team is in the process of rebuilding itself. In 2007 the team was the Division II champion. Last year they did not even make an appearance at the national championships.
In fact, Booton, a sophomore, shared that they weren’t really considering making an appearance at nationals, until they saw the potential in this team’s athletes. “We had a rough start with a lot of our riders not returning from last year,” he said. “But as our season progressed, we did well at our races and decided to make an appearance for Western in Truckee.”
The championships took place over three days at the North Star Resort. The different types of races were: downhill, 4x (four cross), short track and cross-country. On an individual level Jordan Newth took sixth place in the downhill event out of 50 riders. Booton took 23rd, Samuel Degenhard took 36th and Owen Tulip took 50th, the result of a broken rear shock.
Overall in the downhill category WSC was the 6th place team. In the 4x race, Jordan Kewth took 12th place. In short track Dylan Stucki took seventh place. Stucki also took sixth place in the cross-country race.
This was Stucki’s first year racing for WSC; he previously raced for the cycling powerhouse Fort Lewis, a team that continually dominates the collegiate circuit.
“Racing with Western this year has been more about just having a good time versus getting on the podium,” he said. “At Fort Lewis I was on a team that has 200 some riders. Here we have fewer than 20.”
Bootan said that the riding was similar to some of the riding in the Crested Butte area. “There was some rocky terrain, riding in the woods, all in all some really fun riding.”
All of the riders on this year’s team will be returning next year. Bootan said that the team is in need of some female riders to truly strengthen the group. “The schools that have women on their teams make it to the top.”
“We feel we represented Western really well this year,” Bootan said. “Everyone was truly excited to be there.”

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