Steve Fisher leading the D2 men's race for WWU. © Janet Hill

Steve Fisher leading the D2 men's race for WWU. © Janet Hill

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BEND, ORE. – Defending collegiate champ Ryan Leech (Savannah College of Art and Design) hung tough early on, but the race quickly became a battler between Western Washington University teammates Steve Fisher and Logan Wetzel. The duo were shoulder to shoulder for much of the final lap, and it wasn’t until the top of the final climb up the stairs that Fisher had a gap of a few bike lengths and some breathing room that he’d hold to the line for the title.

The collegiate D2 men underway. © Janet Hill

The collegiate D2 men underway. © Janet Hill

Kevin Mullervy (Mesa State) exploded onto the dirt section to string out the pack, with Fisher, Leech, Wetzel, Conor Mullervy (Mesa State), Matthew Willing (Mars Hill College) and Ian Crane (Western Washington University) lined up behind him.

In the second lap, the WWU teammates found each other at the front and started to pull away. “Those guys just kind of went by me, my back jammed up. It felt like both days this weekend I just didn’t have the same feelings that I had last year,” said Leech, who raced his way to seventh in the Masters 30-34 race and is a former national champion in that division. This will be Leech’s final collegiate race, as the grad student just completed his final quarter. “No more old guy in the collegiate race,” said Leech.

Fisher managed to maneuver his way to a slight lead over the next couple of laps, and appeared to have the slight edge in the technical corners as he looked smooth and confident through those sections, but Wetzel’s chase was relentless. The two race many of the local series events in and around Seattle, and they’re well-versed in mud handling.

Just before the penultimate lap, Fisher pitted for a clean bike and the teammates were reunited. Coming into the front of the course for the final half-lap, Wetzel attacked hard to take the lead, and Fisher responded to hold him off. A second attack had Wetzel briefly take the lead, and they continued to battle for position.

“In the back field /upper section, we were throwing some little moves at each other, but really started battling back and forth right here,” said Wetzel, pointing to the drop down into the bowl.

“There’s a little tricky section over there [upper section] where it’s nice to be in front, but I wasn’t ever able to make a gap on him on the last lap, so I tried to ride as hard as I could and not make mistakes,” said Fisher. “But I think that leading in the last corner was probably the most important.”

Fisher had the slight edge as they hit the fly-over, and he fought to keep the lead and hold Wetzel off. They bounded up the stairs with Fisher clinging to a meager lead of a couple of bike lengths – but it was enough to get him onto the pavement first. At the line, he had time to celebrate the win with arms up, with his teammate waving to the crowd and conceding 10 meters back.

Two more teammates, who happen to also be twins, would round out the podium with Conor Mullervy snagging fourth and brother Kevin in fifth for Mesa State. The Mullervy brothers also race for the Clif Bar Development team for cyclocross and Team Exergy out of Boise, Idaho, on the road.

Full Results:

Place Points NameCity, StateTimeLicenseBibTeam
1150Steve FisherBellingham, WA0:42:56204225262Western Washington University
2135Logan WetzelRenton, WA42:58:00216334253Western Washington University
3120Ryan LeechSavannah, GA43:55:0020753251Savannah College Of Art & Desig
4105Conor MullervyBoise , ID44:26:00237726252Mesa State College
590Kevin MullervyLittleton, CO44:44:00237586284Mesa State College
685Matthew ObregonFolsom, CA45:55:00232613289California State University-Sac
780Richard GengGrandjunction, CO46:09:00301115257Mesa State College
875Ian CraneBellingham, WA46:09:00184284269Western Washington University
90Brent PooleSalem, OR46:17:00330598279Central Oregon Community Colleg
1065Matthew WillingWeaverville, NC46:39:00284687255Mars Hill College
1160Patric RostelGrandjunction, CO47:05:00301113278Mesa State College
1255Adam MillerColorado Springs, CO47:14:00259059266Colorado College
1350Benjamin DodgeSan Jose, CA47:30:00178595280
1445Kyle KnottVirginia Beach, VA47:35:00274033274Mars Hill College
15ExpBrian JorgensenBend, OR47:36:00186022254Central Oregon Community Colleg
1638Benjamin RathkampBellingham, WA47:53:00274079286Western Washington University
170Alejandro PadillaLebanon, TN47:55:00269189267Cumberland University
1834Tim JansonTroy, NY47:56:00260577272Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut
1932Cimarron WorthamCambridge, MA48:02:00253757270Massachusetts Institute Of Tech
2030Timothy JenkinsonMars Hill, NC48:04:00325110263Mars Hill College
2128Logan LukerLebanon, TN48:13:00226312259Cumberland University
2226Paul WebbBellevue, NE48:43:00268204275Mars Hill College
2324Benjamin SalibraFayetteville, NY48:53:00233370260Cumberland University
2422Christopher MondiekDublin, OH49:36:00229657281Rochester Institute Of Technolo
2520Connor McCutcheonBigbearlake, CA49:55:00279388261Central Oregon Community Colleg
26ExpWilliam PalmArlington, MA49:59:00126801277Massachusetts Institute Of Tech
2718Jeremy ChambersMurfreesboro, TN50:54:00244154258Cumberland University
2817Dan IppLivingston, NJ51:30:00301422271Rochester Institute Of Technolo
2916James McCabeBridgewater, NJ51:44:00267691273Wake Forest University
3015Andrew LysaghtCambridge, MA52:07:00327318268Massachusetts Institute Of Tech
310Austin JonesLewisville, NC52:50:00329052256Wake Forest University
3213Samuel PhillipsGrand Junction, CO@1Lap288750283Mesa State College
3312Zachary LaBrySomerville, MA@1Lap235849285Massachusetts Institute Of Tech
3411Patrick DunnTiconderoga, NY@1Lap276042264Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut
3510Kyle CurtinTacoma, WA@1Lap328184282Pacific Lutheran University
369John WoffordWinston Salem, NC@1Lap219168288Wake Forest University
378Chris LoweWinstonsalem, NC@2Lap289420290Wake Forest University
387Matthew WarbrickTuxedo Park, NY@2Lap244750265Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut