Our coverage is brought to you in part by Feedback Sports. See them at the Women's Forum tonight if you're in Reno.

Our coverage is brought to you in part by Feedback Sports. See them at the Women’s Forum tonight if you’re in Reno.


by Dave Mable

As the sun began to break through the morning clouds, adding warmth to a windy afternoon, Jennifer Malik (The Ohio State University) stormed out of the field to take an early lead in the Women’s Collegiate Club race.

“I knew, for the ditch, I wanted to be the first one into it, so I could jump it,” Malik said. “I wasn’t sure how many people would actually be attempting it, so if I could at least do it for two laps and blast the sand, then tempo ride from there, everyone else would have to catch, and I’d re-evaluate from there. It worked!”

Collegiate Club Women! 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Jen Malik started fast and won the race. Collegiate Club Women! 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Work it did, as Malik had a sizable lead heading into the hilly back side of the course on the first lap. She kept up the tempo and forced the rest of the field to chase.

Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute’s Allison Mrugal and Bard College’s Sophie Russenberger were closest on her tail, with University of Wisconsin’s Caitlin Neuman chasing close behind.

Collegiate Club Women! 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Caitlin Neuman was one of the chasers behind Malik. Collegiate Club Women! 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Malik kept up the OH-I-”GO”, further distancing herself from the chasers, jumping the ditch the first three laps. On the third attempt at clearing the ditch, fate would strike, as a hard landing flatted her rear wheel, causing her to ride the north end of the course with a squirly rear wheel, until she could reach the pits.

Mrugal and Russenberger, working together into the wind, were able to cut down Malik’s lead on that lap, but it was not enough. Malik, on a fresh wheel, retained her lead, finishing the three-lap race in 27:42 to take the victory.

The race for silver was not over, however, as Mrugal and Russenberger dueled through the very last corner and onto the finishing straight. Mrugal was able to power ahead in one of the few podium sprints of the day to take second, with Russenberger taking the bronze, both given the same time of 28:37. Neuman completed her race in 28:51 to take home fourth.

Mural held on to finish second. Collegiate Club Women! 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Mural held on to finish second. Collegiate Club Women! 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Racing in the Elite women’s race on Sunday, the collegiate race gave Malik a good feel for how the course flows.
“It gives me an idea about the parts of the course I need to work on,” she said after the race. “How I feel in other sections, because even though you can do a hot lap in pre-ride, you can’t actually simulate the sheer pain of racing.”

Jen Malik took home the Collegiate Club title. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Jen Malik took home the Collegiate Club title. 2018 Cyclocross National Championships. © A. Yee / Cyclocross Magazine

Malik will be at the starting line, with the rest of the elite women’s field on Sunday at 1:15 p.m.

Women Collegiate Club Results: 2018 Reno Cyclocross Nationals

PlaceBibLASTFirstTeamCity STTimeGap
112MALIKJenniferOhio State UniversityColumbus OH46:33
27MRUGALAllisonRensselaer Polytechnic InstWest Chester PA47:481:15
34RUSSENBERGERSophieBard CollegeBend OR47:511:18
42LUPIENLeslieDartmouth CollegeEnfield NH47:551:22
51NEUMANCaitlinU WI - MadisonMadison WI48:091:36
611O'NEILLCaraUniversity of AZTucson AZ49:092:36
713BEALEMelanieColorado State UniversityBoulder CO49:172:44
88WELCHChloeUniversity of AZTucson AZ41:28@1Lap
95MURRAYLaurenColorado State UniversityColorado Springs CO41:55@1Lap
109OWENSMeghanUniversity of VTRichmond VT43:22@1Lap
1115HUUKIElizabethUS Military AcademyPipersville PA44:17@1Lap
126LYMANBrookeArizona State UPhoenix AZ45:49@1Lap
1316PSIAKIElizabethUS Military AcademyWest Point NY47:37@1Lap
143BANPamelaHarvard UniversityCambridge MA48:59@1Lap
1510MAIKAWACaitlinStanford UniversityMenlo Park CA50:27@1Lap
1614HOMonteUS Military AcademyWest Point NY52:30@1Lap