Wane, Walker Claim Victories
March 21, 2009 (Lake Havasu City, AZ) – En route to the upcoming Collegiate National Championships in Lubbock, Texas, a strong CU squad used their spring break to hone their racing skills. The team made a clean sweep of the Collegiate Mountain Conference Championships at Lake Havasu, winning the men and women’s individual titles, the men and women’s team titles, and the combined team title.
“The Team did great. They exceeded my expectations and raced very strong,” said head coach Michael Ricci. “The race was important for the athletes to see that their months of training is paying off.”
CU was led by Cédric Wane, 1:59:50, and Ashley Walker, 2:26:32, who claimed wins in the men and women’s races, respectively.
“I’m very happy with my performance despite lots of little mistakes I made on the course,” said Wane. “I know where I have to improve and will work on those specific aspects.”
“The fact that Cédric went under two hours on a tough bike and run course tells me he’s ready for low 1:50s,” noted Ricci.
On the men’s side, the top scorers finished 1, 3, 7, 9, and 11 to claim victory in the team competition. Following Wane’s first place finish was Todd Darlington in third with a time of 2:05:45, Bryant Mason in seventh, 2:11:03, Andy Nelson in ninth, 2:13:16, and Will Nabours in eleventh, 2:14:21.
The women finished 1, 2, and 11 to claim victory in the women’s race. Heidi Spees, 2:26:48, came in a close second to Walker. Blair Snyder finished eleventh in 2:43:30.
“I am particularly impressed with how the women raced. They all looked strong at the finish and I think with a taper and a few more doses of speed work we’ll see some nice improvement at nationals,” said Ricci.
CU also took the combined men and women’s team category.
Ricci noted that the team used the race mainly to gain some experience and prepare for nationals. “We didn’t taper for the race and we used it more for race experience than anything else,” he said.
It was also an opportunity to introduce the sport to about a dozen new team members who competed in their first official triathlon at Lake Havasu.
So how does the team look going into nationals?
“We have a lot of work to do in a short time, but we hope to be competitive at nationals,” said Ricci. “This is more of a rebuilding year for us, as we have many underclassmen who will gain valuable experience racing in the spotlight at nationals. We have a very deep team and many athletes are clumped together, but we are hoping a few have a break out race in Lubbock. We’ll need a few people to really come through in order for us to be competitive.”
Wane added that “having performed so well as team only a month away from nationals provides an invaluable source of motivation and helps us keep the ball rolling til Texas.”
To be sure, the team will be tested by some tough competition. Teams to beat include perennially strong UC-Berkeley and Navy. Nationals will take place on April 18 in Lubbock, Texas.