Mars Hill College had a successful 2010 cycling season. As previously reported, the Mountain Lions were second in the team competition at the collegiate national cyclocross championships contested in Bend, Oregon. This result earned the squad enough points to be the number one ranked Division II team in the country. It must be something in the air – or the fact there is great training and weather in the area – as North Carolinian schools Brevard College and Warren Wilson College are also ranked in the Division II top ten. In the Southeastern Conference a total of five schools are in the top ten with Cumberland (3rd place) and Union (7th place) College. This past Monday a new award was given to Mars Hill – “Collegiate Club of the Year.”
While this North Carolinian school only has a 1,200 students the Mountain Lions were able to recruit 21 riders to the team in what is only their second year as a varsity sport. USA Cycling reports that while Mars Hill is a small college they were able to organize quality events and host the 2010 South Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference Road Championships as well as a cyclocross race in November.
“The team is a perfect example of how a very small school can create a successful cycling scholarship program, even during a recession,” said USA Cycling.
In addition to road and cyclocross, Mars Hill also sent riders to the national championships in track and mountain biking.
Another North Carolina college, Division I Lees-McRae, has also had impressive results in cycling. Earlier this month they added a tenth national title to their resume. This one was in cyclocross, beating a strong Fort Lewis squad. The Bobcats have an impressive cycling alumni with Brent Bookwalter of BMC as a graduate and Ally Stacher who continues her studies while a member of HTC-Columbia team.