The wild first two rounds of the Women’s NCAA Tournament wrap up tonight, and the Men’s field closed its exciting first weekend on Sunday. Voting for the first round of our 2018 CX Madness tournament wrapped up on Sunday, and our bracket is also down to 16 riders. Just like the NCAA Tournament, there were some upsets, favorites looking strong and exciting finishes. Madness, indeed.
Voting for the second round is now open through 11:59 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, March 21. Once down to eight riders, we will re-seed them based on votes and proceed toward one overall champion. For more on the rules, see our intro CX Madness post.
Scroll down to vote for the Round of 16 matchups, but first, we take a look at the first round results.
12 vs. 5 Mayhem
If you are looking for a match-up for first-round upsets, the 5 vs. 12 game is one to look at. Since the Women’s tournament expanded to 64 teams in 1994, there have been 21 12 over 5 upsets in the Women’s tournament and 38 in the Men’s. With the popular Jeremy Powers and Ellen Noble holding the 12 seeds in our bracket, the chances for at least one 12 over 5 CX Madness upset seemed high.
Both Powers and Noble pulled off the upsets, but barely. Whether it was divine providence or good old-fashioned pluck, the two former Aspire Racing teammates punched their tickets to the next round by a bike throw at the line. Powers topped Michael Vanthourenhout by 4 votes and Ellen Noble eked out a win over Helen Wyman by 3. Think your vote doesn’t matter? In CX Madness, it seems it does.
Helen Wyman and her partner Stef deserve a special nod for their effective social media strategy. Their Twitter lobbying helped Wyman close from over 100 votes down on Thursday to actually holding the lead heading into Sunday.
A few hours to go. So my euro friends, grab a beer, vote helen. And insist on your friends doing the same. Vote Helen. MAKE HELEN GREAT AGAIN https://t.co/YK7KYuUms5
— Stefan Wyman (@ds_stef) March 16, 2018
Upsets and Chalk
Despite Cyclocross Magazine being a U.S.-based publication, the European stars ran quite well. One who could not get over the top was 6th-seeded Maud Kaptheijns, who was upset by 11 seed Emma White by 18 votes. Honorary U.S. rider Katerina Nash pulled off the 9 over 8 win against Ellen Van Loy, although the 8 and 9 teams are usually closely matched, so we will leave it to the reader’s discretion in applying the “upset” moniker. Nash now goes on to a rumble against number 1 seed Sanne Cant, while White faces off against Cannondale p/b CyclocrossWorld teammate Kaitie Keough.
If 12 vs. 5 is upset city, baby, the 1 vs. 16 and 2 vs. 15 match-ups are not. On Friday, the University of Maryland, Baltimore County Retrievers made Men’s tournament history by becoming the first Men’s 16 seed to win a first-round game. Prior to that, number one seeds were 135-0 in the Men’s tournament.
UMBC, of course, was not the first 16-seed to win in the tournament. The 1998 Harvard Crimson Women’s team upset Stanford to become the first team to accomplish the feat. In total, 10 15 and 16 seeds have won a first-round game in the NCAA tournament. Eight Men’s 15 seeds have also won first-round games since it the field expanded to 64 teams in the 1980s.
The only 16 seed to ever win in the NCAA Tournament was Harvard's Women's team in 1998. Eight men's 15 seeds have won a first-round game. @spencercx1 @maghroch @tweakn101 @courtmcfadden all face a tall task in the CX Madness first round. https://t.co/MIABMSmry8
— Cyclocross Magazine (@cyclocross) March 16, 2018
Needless to say, Maghalie Rochette, Courtenay McFadden, Spencer Petrov and Anthony Clark faced a tall task in their respective match-ups. Unfortunately, those four did not have a Harvard or UMBC moment, and the top four seeds advanced in style.
Katie Compton took home the most votes with 548 and Wout van Aert was the top male with 528. They currently sit in the catbird seat in the race to rack up the most first-two-round votes and grab the top seeds when the field narrows to eight. Of course, they still need to win their second-round match-ups…
(1) Sanne Cant d. (16) Maghalie Rochette
(9) Katerina Nash d. (8) Ellen Van Loy
(12) Ellen Noble d. (5) Helen Wyman
(4) Eva Lechner d. (13) Elle Anderson
(11) Emma White d. (6) Maud Kaptheijns
(3) Kaitie Keough d. (14) Christel Ferrier-Bruneau
(7) Nikki Brammeier d. (10) Caroline Mani
(2) Katie Compton d. (15) Courtenay McFadden
(1) Mathieu van der Poel d. (16) Anthony Clark
(8) Tobin Ortenblad d. (9) Kerry Werner
(12) Jeremy Powers d. (5) Michael Vanthourenhout
(4) Laurens Sweeck d. (13) Curtis White
(6) Lars van der Haar d. (11) Michael van den Ham
(3) Toon Aerts d. (14) Jack Kisseberth
(7) Stephen Hyde d. (10) Gage Hecht
(2) Wout van Aert d. (15) Spencer Petrov
Round Two Match-Ups
From here, the voting only gets tougher. Some of the intriguing second-round match-ups include Stephen Hyde against his new BFF Wout van Aert, Katerina Nash against Sanne Cant, the big green ruckus between Kaitie Keough and Emma White and the yellow tussle between Toon Aerts and Lars van der Haar. Like the NCAA Tournament, however, the best games are hard to predict and the close finishes seemingly come out of nowhere, so, as they say, that’s why you play the games (or race the races?)
The bracket and voting are below. Voting is open through 11:59 p.m. PDT on Wednesday, March 21.
1 Sanne Cant vs. 9 Katerina Nash - 2018 CX Madness
Total Voters: 355
4 Eva Lechner vs. 12 Ellen Noble - 2018 CX Madness
Total Voters: 389
3 Kaitie Keough vs. 11 Emma White - 2018 CX Madness
Total Voters: 355
2 Katie Compton vs. 7 Nikki Brammeier - 2018 CX Madness
Total Voters: 357
1 Mathieu van der Poel vs. 8 Tobin Ortenblad - 2018 CX Madness
Total Voters: 349
4 Laurens Sweeck vs. 12 Jeremy Powers - 2018 CX Madness
Total Voters: 348
3 Toon Aerts vs. 6 Lars Van der Haar - 2018 CX Madness
Total Voters: 341
2 Wout van Aert vs. 7 Stephen Hyde - 2018 CX Madness
Total Voters: 365