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National Championships

#CollNats heads to Missoula

The best collegiate riders from around the country return to Missoula, Montana, for the 2018 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships. More than 60 schools will tackle the twisting courses on the slopes of Marshall Mountain from October 19-21, and this year, they’ll be finishing under the lights.

Missoula was also host to the 2017 Nationals. While the courses may be familiar for some of the riders, the schedule has shifted, and Saturday’s packed day of racing will culminate with the dual slalom races ending in the evening hours.

“Collegiate Nationals always has a great vibe as the riders are not only racing individually but also competing for team titles for their schools. The teamwork is evident, and it can bring out some raucous cheering squads, which really elevates the energy of the event,” said Tara McCarthy, USA Cycling’s Sr. National Events Manager. “The races will be exciting to watch, and a highlight this year is running the dual slalom under the lights.”

Racing begins on Friday, Oct. 19, with the cross country events and qualifying in the dual slalom. On Saturday, Oct. 20, a full day of action includes early downhill rounds, followed by the the short track and the evening dual slalom. The weekend wraps up with Sunday’s downhill finals and the team relay.

More than 250 riders representing both club and varsity programs will be racing over the three days.

Fort Lewis College returns to defend the varsity overall omnium title they captured a year ago on the same mountain. A cycling powerhouse, the school has 23 national titles and recently finished third at the USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships in Colorado Springs. Fort Lewis rider McCauley Smith (Boulder, Colo.), who won the women’s downhill last year, will be back on the mountain in Montana.

Marian University, which won the collegiate track title last month, will also return with a strong varsity lineup, including Emma Swartz (Madison, Wis.), who has medaled at collegiate nationals in both mountain bike and cyclocross.

The University of Colorado dominated the club races a year ago and is back with many of the same riders, including Dylan Crane (Carbondale, Colo.) and Clare Hamilton (Colorado Springs, Colo.), who won last year’s men’s and women’s downhill races. Hamilton also won last year’s dual slalom and Crane finished with the silver medal in the men’s dual slalom.

“With three days of racing and more than 600 race starts between the field of elite riders, the weekend is going to see a lot of fun, exciting racing” said Justin Evans, USA Cycling racing operations manager. “The base of Marshall Mountain will be a great place to watch all of the action, and we’re looking forward to crowning this year’s National Champions.”

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