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National Championships

Pro Dual Slalom and Amateur Cross-Country Events Showcase Day Four

By: Jackie Tyson  July 21, 2018

Snowshoe, W.Va. – Dry and windy conditions prevailed on Friday in the Mountain State for the fourth day of competitions for the 2018 USA Cycling Mountain Bike National Championships. Cross-country events were held for junior, senior and masters categories at the top of Cheat Mountain, with more than 500 racers taking part. Pro dual slalom races were completed by scenic Shavers Lake and seeding runs in amateur downhill set the stage for finals on Saturday.

“We're really excited to be back at Snowshoe, West Virginia for our second year of Mountain Bike National Championships. The courses here at Snowshoe are pretty epic. They're in the woods with lots of rocks and roots,” said Tara McCarthy, senior national events manager for USA Cycling. “The weather systems that we see coming through the Alleghany Mountains create some pretty gnarly conditions.”


On the rugged downhill course that rocketed towards Shavers Lake, three national champions were crowned in the head-to-head dual slalom races.

Jill Kintner (Bellingham, Wash.) won her sixth consecutive title in the dual slalom for Pro Women. In second place for a second year was Caroline Washam (Mooresville, N.C.), and 16-year-old McKenna Merten (Jamul, Calif.) placed third.

“I'm always here to ride my best I can ride no matter who's here or what the situation. I feel that my final rounds were my best rounds of the week. It's good, I'm really happy with that,” Kintner said. “There were a number of years where I was terrible at slalom and I worked really hard to work on my technique. The transition from BMX to mountain biking is quite hard and slalom is the biggest eye opener. So whenever I can win a slalom, it means a lot to me.”

Last year’s bronze medalist, Luca Cometti (San Diego, Calif.), had the fastest times on both runs and captured the title this year for Pro Men. Max Morgan (Pisgah Forest, N.C.) secured the silver and the bronze went to Walker Shaw (Hendersonville, N.C.).

“Slalom is always my favorite category to race. Racing with your buddies is always a good time and taking the win is even better,” said Cometti, who last won the dual slalom title in 2015. “There were a few tricky corners on track and then just getting as much power as you could out of your legs at the bottom was key to taking that little extra edge to get a little bit of time out of the other guy.”

In the Men’s Junior 15-18 Category 1 contest, Dante Silva (Chula Vista, Calif.), who was third last year in dual slalom, won the Stars-and-Stripes jersey. Matthew Sterling (San Jose, Calif.) collected the silver and Nathan St.Clair (Statesville, N.C.), the defending champion, returned to the podium in third place.


Amateur and master divisions tackled the technical 4.6-mile cross-country track with punchy climbs and precarious assortment of rocks and roots on Friday. The women’s categories lead off with three-lap events. The first Stars-and-Stripes jersey earned went to repeat champion Kimberly Milton (Clifton Park, N.Y.) in the Women’s 35-39 Category 1/2 division. She scored a two-minute margin of victory over Leia Schneeberger (De Pere, Wisc.), followed by Melisa Lemus (St. Louis, Mo.) in third.

The Master 30-34 Category 1/2 title went to Ashley Green (Austin, Texas). The silver medal was taken by Christy Keely (Greenville, S.C.) and Mayra Tomazoni (Lighthouse Point, Fla.) grabbed the bronze.

Taking her second national title of 2018, Beata Wronska (Boynton Beach, Fla.) won the Master 40-44 Category 1/2 contest. She won the same master division title at the Marathon Mountain Bike nationals in May. Sarah Griffith (Charlotte, N.C.) was second, followed by Sarah Moore (Nashville, Tenn.) in third.

Liv Jensen (Hailey, Idaho) captured the title in the Master 45-49 Category 1/2 division. Two-time Fat Bike champion Kimberly Flynn (Boone, N.C.) took second and Nicole Weiss (Seattle, Wash.) was third.

In the Women’s Senior 19-24 Category 1/2 division, a trio of 22-year-old riders reached the podium, with Annie Pharr (Tuxedo, N.C.) taking the title. Allison Mrugal (West Chester, Penn.) followed in second and Sydney Wenger (Bristol, Tenn.) in third.

Coming off a title at this year’s Marathon Mountain Bike National Championships, Staci Nash (Anaheim Hills, Calif.) rode away with a three minute margin to win the Women’s Senior 25-29 Category 1/2 race. Brittany Parffrey (San Antonio, Texas) crossed the line in second, and Kelly Paduch (Harrisonburg, Virg.) in third.

The Women’s Single Speed crown was taken by Amelia Capuano (Boiling Springs, Penn.), defeating 2017 title holder Meghan Korol (Arden, N.C.). Rebecca Lewandowski (Elkton, Md.) rounded out the podium in third.

Three men’s XC competitions covered five laps of the amateur course, beginning with the Senior 19-24 Category 1/2 division that was won by 19-year-old Tommy Steinebrunner (Sykesville, Md.). Jacob Peterson (Elburn, Ill.) edged Erik Carlson (East Greenwich, R.I.) to take the silver.

In the Senior 25-29 Category 1/2 contest, Jordan Swingle (Davie, Fla.) held off Bradford Perley (Brevard, N.C.) for the title. Brian Gordon (Santa Cruz, Calif.) took third.

Derek Parsons (Kirkland, Wash.) powered to the win in the Men’s Master 30-34 Category 1/2 event. Matt Champion (Brevard, N.C.) was second and Marc Walters (Lake Orion, Mich.) took third.

Five of the men’s XC championships were decided in four-lap events, beginning with the Master 35-39 Category 1/2 field. From this 27-rider field Kevin Bradford-Parish (Spokane, Wash.) crossed the line for the win. Second place was taken by John Petrylak (Palmyra, Virg.), followed by Bobby Lea (Alburtis, Penn.) in third.

With six XC masters victories this season, Ty Kady (Placentia, Calif.) added a national title in the Master 40-44 Category 1/2 division. Andrew Messer (Bloomington, Ind.) improved from a fifth-place last year to second this year. Brian Sheedy (Horse Shoe, N.C.) repeated as the bronze medalist.

The Master 45-49 Category 1/2 win went to Brian Schworm (Morehead, Ky.) for a second year in a row. He edged Robert McCarty (Cooper City, Fla.) by 15 seconds. Gregg Galletta (Dobbs Ferry, N.Y.) finished third. Galletta and McCarty reversed positions from last year, when Galletta was second and McCarty was third.

Roger Aspholm (Haworth, N.J.) took the title in the Master 50-54 Category 1/2 race. Second went to 2018 Cyclocross Masters champion (50+) Victor Sheldon (Vista, Calif.), and third went to Craig Cozza (Presto, Penn.), who was second last year.

In the Men’s Single Speed competition, 36-year-old James Litzinger (Beaver Falls, Penn.) seized the national title. For a second year, Matthew Clements (Roanoke, Virg.) earned the silver. Erik Nielson (Clemson, S.C.) took the bronze.

The junior XC course provided three miles of roots and rocks for each circuit, with largest fields coming in the Junior 15-16 division, 40 riders for women rode three laps and 104 riders for men sparred over four laps. In the Women’s 15-16 Category 1/2 race, Sydney Palmerleger (Park City, Utah) gained one minute over the field after the first lap and held on for the victory. It was a close battle for second, with Tai Lee Smith (Breckenridge, Colo.) edging Madigan Munro (Boulder, Colo.).

“It’s amazing,” said Palmerleger, who improved on a silver medal in the same race last year. “I just wanted to go for it and get a lead, so I didn't have to worry about it for the next three laps. So then I just pushed really hard up the hill and through the roots, that were really slippery. It was a really good race.”

Riley Amos (Durango, Colo.) rode uncontested across the line for his first Stars-and-Stripes jersey in the Men’s 15-16 Category 1/2 contest. Nye Yackle (Spokane, Wash.) was second and Bjorn Riley (Boulder, Colo.) was third.

“This is amazing. I put in so much work this year,” said Amos, whose men’s 15-16 field was the first group to tackle the Rock Garden on an extended course. “Going into this race I was super nervous because I didn't have a good call-up, and I was really far back. But I started moving up on first lap, and then when I got into the lead it clicked and I just went and didn't look back. The course has a lot of rooty sections. I'd never ridden anything like it, so I thought those were super decisive, because you're either walking or you're cruising through it.”

The Women’s Junior 11-12 field completed two laps, with Jewel Bartels (Williamsburg, Virg.) taking the title. Finley Aspholm (Haworth, N.J.) was second and Lidia Cusak (Chevy Chase, Md.) was third.

After three laps, the Women’s Junior 13-14 championship went to Mia Aseltine (Littleton, Colo.). Maegen Herring (Blacksburg, Virg.) was second and Hayden McJunkin (Truckee, Calif.) was third.

In the Men’s Junior 11-12 event, Nicholas Konechny (Breckenridge, Colo.) was the first rider to complet ethe three laps to capture the title. Chasing for second was David Thompson (New Canaan, Conn.), followed by Mason Salazar (Encinitas, Calif.) in third.

Cayden Parker (Hot Springs, Ark.) won the Men’s Junior 13-14 title. Jack Spranger (Sammamish, Wash.) was second and Luke Heinrich (Salt Lake City, Utah) was third.


Seeding runs were completed in five categories for women and 14 categories for men. A complete list of the qualifier results can be found online -


Overnight rain introduces muddy conditions Saturday for the finals in six cross-country events on the pro XC course, which includes the Rock Garden. Amateur and master downhill finals will take place, followed by seeding runs for women and men in the Junior 17-18 and Pro divisions. The non-championship Team Relay is scheduled to take place on the Junior XC course.