The Marian Cycling Knights won the program's 21st Collegiate National Championship, and the first title in the BMX discipline, this weekend in Phoenix, Arizona at the USABMX Winter Nationals.
The team of seven BMX riders impressed at the second-ever collegiate event at Black Mountain BMX. All Marian University riders made their semifinals and all but one made the final main event. Freshman Justin Posey earned the individual men's national championship. Posey narrowly edged out two riders from conference rival Lindsey Wilson College for the win.
“In the first year of the Marian University BMX program, we came out swinging. Everyone’s performance was outstanding,” said Posey. “As for myself, I felt confident going into the final and had a great race, taking home my first ever collegiate national championship. I couldn’t have asked for a better weekend. Now, it’s time to keep working towards more titles and a college degree.”
Junior Crystal Kalogris led the women's effort with a third place finish. Behind her was freshman Shelby Stacy in seventh and senior Allie Dragoo in eighth.
“We were scrambling to assemble a women’s team for this weekend, which makes what we accomplished all the more impressive,” said BMX discipline coach Ryan Birk. “While our guys team was considered one of the favorites, our girls’ roster was a bit of a mystery.”
“That said, all three girls turned in outstanding performances to make the finals and provide us with extremely valuable points and actually take the women’s team win. We literally pieced together a team, and as a coach, I could not be more proud of the effort and performance that these ladies turned in,” said Birk.
Behind Posey in the men’s race were sophomores Bryce Hocking in fourth place and Chase Hines in eighth. Freshman Jason Blodgett finished 11th at the event. The men’s field had 28 competitors, with 23 in the women’s category.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with where our BMX program is—after just one year in existence!” reflected head cycling coach Dean Peterson. “Justin Posey delivered as a competitor and a leader for the team, and senior Allie Dragoo stepped up in her fourth national championship of this year and again had direct impact on a national result.”
“These two, along with the rest of the team and Coach Ryan Birk, helped put a great finishing touch on the first season of a new endeavor for Marian University cycling.”
Marian University finished just ahead of conference rival Lindsey Wilson College (Kentucky) in the collegiate team classification; an equal score between the men’s and women’s events meant that Posey’s individual win on the men’s side served as a tiebreaker to bring the Knights to the top step of the podium. Fort Lewis College (Colorado) finished third.