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Lees-McRae Cycling Crowns Pair of National Champions at MTB Nationals

Competing—and winning—is in the blood of both Lees-McRae’s cycling team and in its athletes.

During the Mountain Bike National Championships in Snowshoe, West Virginia, on October 21 through the 23, USA Cycling officials crowned a pair of Lees-McRae National Champions.

Senior Phil Kmetz took gold in downhill and freshman Veronica Laughton in dual slalom.

Senior Phil Kmetz took gold in downhill and freshman Veronica Laughton in dual slalom.

The team, and several others from around the country, were forced to push both themselves and their bikes to the physical limits in the snow, ice and mud.

“Our team performed very well under adverse conditions, especially during the snow and cold temps on day two,” said Lees-McRae Head Coach Tim Hall. “We are thrilled for Phil and Veronica and their performances in the gravity events. Phil continued his string of downhill victories, and Veronica was incredible, especially considering she’s only a freshman. Emma, Simona, and Jack also stood out with some good performances. We brought more freshmen than ever before to this championship, so to end up fourth overall is a big accomplishment.”

The Bobcats started the winning stretch with taking the overall Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference championship in the Varsity category.

For Kmetz it marked his fourth jersey he has won at a Lees-McRae and three consecutive in the downhill. Laughton, meanwhile, earned her first career jersey with her victory.

With the pair of champions, that brings the program’s total to 57 individual national champions.

Here are some of the other top performances for the Bobcats in the three-day event.

2nd place – – Phil Kmetz in Dual Slalom

3rd place – – Veronica Laughton in Downhill

5th place – – Simona Croccolo in Downhill

7th place – – Emma Klingaman in Short Track

2nd place – – Veronica Laughton in Individual Omnium

9th place – – Emma Klingaman in Individual Omnium

6th place – – Jack Perry in Individual Omnium

10th place – – Evan Christenson in Individual Omnium