For full coverage, schedules and information on the 2012 Cyclocross National Championships at Badger Prairie County Park in Madison, Wisconsin, visit our 2012 Cyclocross National Championships homepage.

Collegiate women fight for the holeshot - 2012 Cyclocross National Championships. ©Amy Dykema

Collegiate women fight for the holeshot - 2012 Cyclocross National Championships. ©Amy Dykema

by Robyn M. Perrin

VERONA, WISCONSIN — Sun and mud were both abundant for the D1 and D2 Collegiate Women’s race at the 2012 USA Cyclocross National Championships in Madison, Wisconsin. D1 and D2 women were on the field simultaneously for the four-lap race – the D2 field starting one minute behind the Division 1 women.

When asked for predictions prior to the start of the race, USA Cycling collegiate and high school cycling manager Jeffrey Hansen said, “Coryn Rivera and Katie Antonneau are the surefire bets for somewhere on the podium.” Hansen’s words proved prophetic as two of the most highly decorated cyclists in the world – who happen to be best friends, roommates and teammates – duked it out in the Division 1 Collegiate race.

Antonneau Navigated the Course Effortlessly ©Amy Dykema

Antonneau Navigated the Course Effortlessly ©Amy Dykema

“I got the holeshot and I was in the lead for about three-quarters of the lap, then I took a nice digger on a corner,” said Coryn Rivera (Marian University/Tustin, California). “Katie [Antonneau] took the lead – which is fine, because she’s my teammate. As long as Marian [University] was up there, I was OK with a teammate passing me,” said Rivera.

Both Rivera and Kaitlin Antonneau (Marian University/Racine, Wisconsin) were careful to maintain control without depleting their energy reserves entirely, since both are racing in the Elite/U23 race on Sunday, January 8th. “I think I pulled Katie as close as 10 to 15 seconds away,” said Rivera. The final gap was 23 seconds as Antonneau remained comfortably in control, giving an understated one-handed wave at the finish as she claimed the national title.

“I like the course a lot. It’s tough,” said Antonneau, who relentlessly powered it to the finish line in 42:47, at a pace of 19.07 kph. “I think racing today helped because it got a lot of nerves out of the way for tomorrow… I pushed it hard through some parts just to see where I could risk it, but it was good.”

Mars Hill Fielded a Strong Team in the D2 Field including Mariske Strauss. ©Amy Dykema

Mars Hill Fielded a Strong Team in the D2 Field including Mariske Strauss. ©Amy Dykema

Div.2: Mariske Strauss Wins Title in First ’Cross Race
While the D1 race played out with few surprises, the D2 race winner was a bit of a dark horse. Before the race, Hansen mentioned Rebecca Gross (University of Denver/Lakewood, Colorado) and Kimberly Flynn (University of Tennessee-Chattanooga/Hixson, Tennessee) as top picks. Hanson also said, “Mars Hills College is a team to watch.”

One to watch, indeed. South African Mariske Strauss, a top-level mountain biker recently recruited to Mars Hill College, can now add a cyclocross national champion title to her credentials – from her first-ever cyclocross race. Laughing and flush with excitement, Strauss said, “This was actually my first cyclocross event ever, so I just decided to take it as it comes and go as hard as I can for as long as I can … I just went out and had some fun racing for my Mars Hill College cycling team.”

Strauss scorched the course in 47:22, finishing 13 seconds ahead of second-place Rebecca Gross. Kimberly Flynn rounded out the podium to finish third in 48:55.

Strauss is the current South African cross country mountain bike champion, and she placed 18th at the 2011 the UCI Mountain Bike World Championships. She’s a hopeful for the 2012 Olympic cycling team for South Africa.

When asked for reflections about the Nationals course, Lindsay Knight (University of Chicago/Chicago, Illinois) said, “Really muddy, and really slick. I actually wish it had been more technical, more turns, more trees, more tight stuff.” Others found it more to their liking, including Brittany Clawson (Fort Lewis College/Sandpoint, Idaho). “I’m more of a mountain biker and downhiller, and I love the mud, I love the mucky-muck. This was awesome,” said Clawson.

Full Results beneath Videos and Photos

Photo Gallery:

Mariske Strauss Interview:
[youtube owA3AQlsTOM 580 380]

Coryn Rivera Interview:
[youtube 6d3o-HE5nQY 580 380]

See all of Cyclocross Magazine’s 2012 USA Cycling National Championships video interviews here! Keep up to date on all of the action at 2012 Cyclocross Nationals on Cyclocross Magazine’s 2012 Cyclocross National Championships homepage.

D1 Women’s Results:

Division 1 Women National Championships 2012

PlaceNameCity, StateTimeBibTeam
1Kaitlin AntonneauRacine, WI42:47:00513BMarian University
2Coryn RiveraTustin, CA43:10:00507BMarian University
3Emily ShieldsSalisbury, NC46:01:00509BLees-McRae College
4Sarah SturmDurango, CO46:54:00515BFort Lewis College
5Katherine ShieldsSalisbury, NC47:16:00510BLees-McRae College
6Erica ZavetaErwinna, PA47:29:00520BLees-McRae College
7Jacqueline KurthPalm City, FL48:22:00516BMarian University
8Kaila HartDurango, CO49:18:00512BFort Lewis College
9Lauren CatlinFairfax, CA51:13:00504BFort Lewis College
10Brittany ClawsonSandpoint, ID51:27:00519BFort Lewis College
11Allie DragooGrand Rapids, MI52:41:00506BMarian University
12Lisha HeroldOakdale, MN53:06:00502BMarian University
13Melissa (Missy) EricksonDurango, CO53:09:00501BFort Lewis College
14Julie HunterRichmond, VA53:38:00503BVirginia Commonwealth University
15Matilda FieldDurango, CO57:02:00508BFort Lewis College
16Cinthia LehnerGreer, SC1:00:10521BLees-McRae College
17Mackenzie FilippiBanner Elk , NC.@1LAP511BLees-McRae College
18Anne CheeneyDurango, CO.@1LAP518BFort Lewis College
19Cassey LynnMadison, WI.@1LAP505BUniversity of Wisconsin-Madison
20Emily ParkerCorryton, TN.@1LAP514BUniversity of Tennessee-Knoxville
21Brooke CrumWesterville, OH.@1LAP522BLindsey Wilson College
22Madison MillsOwensboro, KY.@1LAP523BLindsey Wilson College
23Courtney OttMancos, CO.@2LAP517BFort Lewis College

D2 Women’s Results:

Division 2 Women National Championships 2012

PlaceNameCity, StateTimeBibTeam
1Mariske StraussMars Hill, NC47:22:00537BMars Hill College
2Rebecca GrossLakewood, CO47:35:00527BUniversity of Denver
3Kimberly FlynnHixson, TN48:55:00526BUniversity of Tennessee-Chattanooga
4Elizabeth SoWashington, DC50:42:00532BGeorgetown University
5Niki SoderbergRochester, MN51:02:00535BUniversity of Wisconsin-Eau Claire
6Lindsay KnightChicago, IL52:43:00534BUniversity of Chicago
7Laura RiceHendersonville, NC.@1LAP540BMars Hill College
8Angela VitulliGunnison, CO.@1LAP541BWestern State College of Colorado
9Morganne EndicottAlamo, CA.@1LAP533BCumberland University
10Victoria OlloWest Point, NY.@1LAP529BUS Military Academy
11Stephanie BunnettNaples, FL.@1LAP531BMars Hill College
12Lacey DouglasDes Moines, IA.@1LAP539BMars Hill College
13Jennifer WebsterWest Point, NY.@1LAP528BUS Military Academy
14Jasmine HansenWest Point, NY.@1LAP538BUS Military Academy
15Emily McManusWest Point, NY.@1LAP530BUS Military Academy
DNSChristina BirchSomerville, MA.536BMassachusetts Institute of Technology