Three Marian University student-athletes are headed to Louisville, Kentucky in February to represent their school, teams, and the United States on one of cycling’s largest international stages.
Junior Katie Antonneau, sophomore Josh Johnson, and freshman Drew Dillman will be competing at the Union Cycliste Internationale (UCI) Cyclocross World Championships next month as members of Team USA. All three were also key members of the collegiate national championship earned by the Marian University Knights last weekend in Madison, Wisconsin. That title was the team’s 20th national championship and second consecutive cyclocross championship.
“The overlap between collegiate and elite-level racing that occurs at these events is outstanding preparation for these athletes,” said head cycling coach Dean Peterson. “It shows that collegiate cycling programs are development pathways for athletes to move to the international level, allowing them to achieve their athletic hopes and dreams while earning a valuable degree and contributing to their communities.”
Dillman, Johnson, and Antonneau earned spots on the national team by virtue of their racing performances at USA Cycling’s Cyclocross National Championships and other successes throughout the fall and winter ‘cross season. All three finished on the podium in their races at nationals, and other results, especially those earned in Europe, contributed to their selection to the team.
Dillman and Johnson traveled to Belgium over the holiday period to take part in an annual training trip called Euro Cross Camp; their consistent racing and determination in the sport’s traditional home helped earn them discretionary selections to the world championship team. Antonneau has also traveled to Europe several times to test herself at the discipline’s highest level; she automatically qualified to race at the UCI Cyclocross World Championships with her top-10 result at a World Cup race in the Czech Republic last fall.
The event, set to take place February 2-3 at the Eva Bandman Park in Lousiville, Kentucky will mark the first time in the history of the UCI World Championships that cyclocross will happen outside of Europe. This historic occurrence marks home field advantage for American athletes and makes the Marian University rider’s trips to the world championship particularly special.
“And what makes it even better is that these cyclists are student-athletes, earning a degree, racing for their school, and racing for their trade teams as well,” said Peterson. “This helps to bring more and more national attention to cycling.”