Appalachian has made a name for itself in the ACC by becoming a force to reckon with during the road racing season. The 2008 Road Championship now gives Appalachian five road titles in the history of the program with other wins coming in 2001, 2002, 2006, and 2007. The Mountaineers will lose a few strong riders to graduation, but the 2008-2009 roster promises to be just as strong. The return of riders who specialize in different seasons such as Dan Sapp (Mountain), Noah Niwinski (Cyclocross), Alex Hannah and Jacob Florence (Road) points to a bright future for the ASU Cycling Team.
This past year was one of the most difficult in terms of competition due to the recent addition of Pfeiffer University to the conference. Pfeiffer is one of two teams in the conference with varsity status, along with Navy, enabling them to give full scholarships to their riders. Appalachian has benefited from having talented riders with a pure love for the sport. These riders have made it clear that they are not willing to sacrifice education for free rides. Club sports at Appalachian takes dedication and hard work and the ASU Cycling Team puts in hours upon hours of training in order to compete at the highest level week-in, week-out.
Conference Championship Review:
The ACC Championship weekend witnessed an onslaught of domination imposed by the men and women from Boone. The weekend kicked off with the road race in Lewisville, NC where Appalachian racked up top five and top ten finishes. As usual, Chris Jones took home 1st place in Men's D after rocketing to the sprint finish. Jones credited teammate Emerson Howe with the superb leadout to the finish and for protecting him throughout the race. Martin Wadewitz took 7th in Men's C, while Zach Greene claimed his second win on the season with a 1st place finish in Men's B. David Forkner rode a strong race in Men's A after being aggressive early on in the day. It would pay off for the senior from Franklin, NC as Forkner rode to a 2nd place finish. In the Women's B race, Amanda Gilbert brought home a great 4th place finish.
The 40k Team Time Trial put a finish to Saturday's races and Appalachian didn't dissapoint the spectators. The Mountaineers took home several awards from the team time trials including 1st in Men's D, 2nd in Men's B, 3rd in Men's A, and 2nd in Women's A.
Sunday's downtown Winston-Salem criterium would put a finish to the championship season. Chris Jones took home his third 1st place finish in Men's D from the weekend while Michael Wilson placed 5th in Men's A. Lauren Trull capped off her senior year with a win in Women's A after launching to 1st in the finishing sprint. Perhaps the story of the afternoon was in the Men's B criterium where teamwork was evident throughout the race. Jacob Florence went in a six man break mid-race and from there it was Appalachian doing the work in the main field to keep everyone at bay while Florence went on to claim 6th, as well as an individual conference title. Dan Wendover, who finished 8th, would lead out fellow teammate Zach Greene to a 7th place finish in one of the most spectacular sprints witnessed by spectators.
Individual conference titles were claimed by Chris Jones in Men's D, Jacob Florence in Men's B and Michael Wilson in Men's A. David Forkner also stood on the final podium by taking home 2nd overall in Men's A. The 2008 team championship and individual conference titles put a capstone on the most successful season in the history of ASU Cycling. With a host of returning riders for the 2008-2009 campaign, expect Appalachian to once again battle it out for numerous conference championships.
-App State Cycling