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 Name City, State Time License Bib Team
1 150 Steve Fisher Bellingham, WA 0:42:56 204225 262 Western Washington University
2 135 Logan Wetzel Renton, WA 42:58:00 216334 253 Western Washington University
3 120 Ryan Leech Savannah, GA 43:55:00 20753 251 Savannah College Of Art & Desig
4 105 Conor Mullervy Boise , ID 44:26:00 237726 252 Mesa State College
5 90 Kevin Mullervy Littleton, CO 44:44:00 237586 284 Mesa State College
6 85 Matthew Obregon Folsom, CA 45:55:00 232613 289 California State University-Sac
7 80 Richard Geng Grandjunction, CO 46:09:00 301115 257 Mesa State College
8 75 Ian Crane Bellingham, WA 46:09:00 184284 269 Western Washington University
9 0 Brent Poole Salem, OR 46:17:00 330598 279 Central Oregon Community Colleg
10 65 Matthew Willing Weaverville, NC 46:39:00 284687 255 Mars Hill College
11 60 Patric Rostel Grandjunction, CO 47:05:00 301113 278 Mesa State College
12 55 Adam Miller Colorado Springs, CO 47:14:00 259059 266 Colorado College
13 50 Benjamin Dodge San Jose, CA 47:30:00 178595 280
14 45 Kyle Knott Virginia Beach, VA 47:35:00 274033 274 Mars Hill College
15 Exp Brian Jorgensen Bend, OR 47:36:00 186022 254 Central Oregon Community Colleg
16 38 Benjamin Rathkamp Bellingham, WA 47:53:00 274079 286 Western Washington University
17 0 Alejandro Padilla Lebanon, TN 47:55:00 269189 267 Cumberland University
18 34 Tim Janson Troy, NY 47:56:00 260577 272 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut
19 32 Cimarron Wortham Cambridge, MA 48:02:00 253757 270 Massachusetts Institute Of Tech
20 30 Timothy Jenkinson Mars Hill, NC 48:04:00 325110 263 Mars Hill College
21 28 Logan Luker Lebanon, TN 48:13:00 226312 259 Cumberland University
22 26 Paul Webb Bellevue, NE 48:43:00 268204 275 Mars Hill College
23 24 Benjamin Salibra Fayetteville, NY 48:53:00 233370 260 Cumberland University
24 22 Christopher Mondiek Dublin, OH 49:36:00 229657 281 Rochester Institute Of Technolo
25 20 Connor McCutcheon Bigbearlake, CA 49:55:00 279388 261 Central Oregon Community Colleg
26 Exp William Palm Arlington, MA 49:59:00 126801 277 Massachusetts Institute Of Tech
27 18 Jeremy Chambers Murfreesboro, TN 50:54:00 244154 258 Cumberland University
28 17 Dan Ipp Livingston, NJ 51:30:00 301422 271 Rochester Institute Of Technolo
29 16 James McCabe Bridgewater, NJ 51:44:00 267691 273 Wake Forest University
30 15 Andrew Lysaght Cambridge, MA 52:07:00 327318 268 Massachusetts Institute Of Tech
31 0 Austin Jones Lewisville, NC 52:50:00 329052 256 Wake Forest University
32 13 Samuel Phillips Grand Junction, CO @1Lap 288750 283 Mesa State College
33 12 Zachary LaBry Somerville, MA @1Lap 235849 285 Massachusetts Institute Of Tech
34 11 Patrick Dunn Ticonderoga, NY @1Lap 276042 264 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut
35 10 Kyle Curtin Tacoma, WA @1Lap 328184 282 Pacific Lutheran University
36 9 John Wofford Winston Salem, NC @1Lap 219168 288 Wake Forest University
37 8 Chris Lowe Winstonsalem, NC @2Lap 289420 290 Wake Forest University
38 7 Matthew Warbrick Tuxedo Park, NY @2Lap 244750 265 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institut