Cycling succeeds at Case Western criterium
Observer Sports Staff | Tuesday, March 25, 2014
In the classic Midwestern cold, clouds and wind, the Irish cycling team took to the streets of Cleveland, Ohio, for Case Western Reserve University’s criterium on Sunday. The course wrapped around the Cleveland Browns’ football stadium and saw temperatures in the mid-20s with snow flurries at times.
The men’s A team scored Notre Dame’s first criterium win of the season and the first ever A-criterium win in school history. Early in the race junior John Pratt jumped into the day’s winning six-man break, while back in the main field, junior Jim Snitzer and senior Luke Tilmans slowed the pace at the front to ensure the move with Pratt would stay clear to the finish. The team tactics worked to perfection and Pratt was comfortably in the top six heading into the final hundred meters. He started his sprint early and sailed to the line in front of riders from varsity programs Lindenwood, Lindsey Wilson and Marian. After a hard day of controlling the field, Tilmans and Snitzer finished solidly with 15th and 17th-place finishes respectively.
In men’s D, graduate students Tom Frederick and Mike Lorenzen set a fast pace at the front throughout the race. The high speed reduced the field in numbers, setting them up well for the final laps. Frederick, who spent much of the day leading the race, was caught in an untimely crash with only half a mile to go while Lorenzen managed to keep a high position going for the sprint and took an impressivesecond place.
Freshmen riders Sarah Cullen, Emma-Kate Conlin and Devin Stalker proved to be a young but resilient trio for the Irish in the women’s B/C category. Early in the race, two riders from Michigan and Marian started a breakaway that ended up sticking until the end. Despite attempts by Cullen to bridge the gap, the field had to settle for a sprint for third. Conlin had a strong performance, finishing eighth, and helped keep Cullen at the front. In the final sprint, Cullen struck early and found herself finishing a career-best fifth. Stalker rounded out the great day’s ride for the women’s team by finishing 12th.
Notre Dame solidified its lead of Division-II team standings, while Pratt and Snitzer remain first and third respectively in the individual Division-II standings.
John Pratt jumped to second overall in the conference after his victory Sunday.