Student-run cycling team finishes season strong

Kendra Winchester

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The cycling team here at Whitman operates at a varsity sport level; however, it is entirely student run. Because it does not have a coaching staff, the team is required to plan every single race event as well as workouts and practices. The team is also required to plan their events such as spring training camps that they would like to attend. The team was created in 2001 and has had tremendous success, including 15 national titles on record and possibly more. Senior President Alberto Santos-Davidson and junior Vice President Mackinzie Stanley, who will return as president next year, run the team.

The team is co-ed and has an A and B team for both men and women. Its season consisted of six short races, one of which the team missed in order to do spring training in California. Despite missing that race, the team managed to place second in the conference among schools such as University of Washington, University of Oregon and Montana State University.

Some of the success that is made from the cycling team comes from the cyclists’ hard work of running a completely student-run team with no coaching staff. They get the help of some physical therapists from around town, but they are in charge of everything they want to accomplish as a team. Fundraising for their travels and gear is one of their main focuses, as traveling gets expensive over time.

Noah Edelson '18. Photo by Tywen Kelly.

Noah Edelson ’18. Photo by Tywen Kelly.

“Not only do these students take on time consuming leadership roles, but they are also doing their own training to prepare for the season. Some of the things that have been achieved by the team leadership include: a two-week training trip to California with accommodations arranged and training rides planned; weekly skills clinics to do bike handling drills like picking up water bottles off of the ground or practicing crashing, etc,” said senior Aliza Whalen through an email.

Through this incredible leadership, the team is able to fundraise for events around campus as well as help organize events at other Northwest Conference schools.

“We’ve put on a race here on campus for two years now. And through our fundraising we had the road behind [the] Anderson [Hall] paved, which the college had been trying to make happen for 10 years now,” said Santos-Davidson.

With this leadership, the team is able to create a fun and competitive environment that is structured just how they want it to be. The atmosphere generated has drawn significant attention to the team in terms of participation.

“We grew quite a bit this year; we only had three seniors. We had 13 new people join this year. And one of the really cool things about this was that of that 13 only five were not first-years. I think it speaks volumes of the reputation that the cycling team has,” said Santos-Davidson.

The atmosphere created by the team has flourished this season and can be seen through the results they have accomplished. A continuation of excellence has remained as the women’s A team swept the conference championships in both road race and criterium. They also won the team time trial. The men’s team also performed well, taking first in B men’s criterium. Santos-Davidson also won the Sportsmanship Award.

We will be sending four women to nationals this year, for a full time trial team. All four will do the Criterium, the road race and the team time trial. These women are [junior] Mackinzie Stanley, [sophomore] Dessie Weigel, [junior] Becca Mellema  and [first-year] Sara Youmans. This is also incredible because there are no seniors, which means all of us will be returning next year,” said Mackinzie Stanley. 

The team will travel to Asheville, N.C. on Wednesday and compete over the weekend at the Colligate National Championship.

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