For full Cyclocross National Championships coverage and information, visit our 2010 USA Cycling National Championships Page.

The action in Bend continues with the Juniors taking the course, with the exception of the men’s 17-18 race which will take place on Saturday. Masters racing continues with the women’s 30-34, 35-39 and the men’s 45-49 race taking place once the young guns vacate the course. Ten national championship jerseys are up for grabs on Friday, with an additional five groups taking to the time trial course to determine their all important start position.

The Junior races, beginning the with 10-12 year old age groups, can be tough to call since many of the competitors are new at this level of racing. But this just adds to the excitement, because there can be intense racing, surprising finishes and we never know who the next Katie Compton or Tim Johnson might be. Ashley Zoerner, third in last year’s championships, may rule her group this year as both Eden Webb and Mina Arenberg, last year’s 10-12 champ, have aged up to the 13-14 race. The 13-14 race looks to be competitive as Webb and Arenberg will likely be working to keep Tiziana DeHorney from defending her title. Sarah Huang will be looking for another jersey in the 15-16 race, as last year’s runner-up Alexis Ryan has moved on to the 17-18 race.

The women’s 17-18 race may be one of the most wide open races this year as last year’s top two, Kaitlin Antonneau (Cannondale p/b Cyclocrossworld) and Coryn Rivera (Peanut Butter & Co.  TWENTY12) have moved up to the big leagues. But waiting in the wings is last year’s fourth place Emily Shields, and she’s bringing reinforcements as her sister Katherine joins in the hunt. And while Kendall Ryan has moved up with Rivera and Antonneau, she’s left her younger sister Alexis to provide some additional fireworks when the young women take the line.

In the men’s 10-12 field, Matteo Jorgenson is the only returning rider from the top 5 in 2009. Although Mitchell Thornton and Scott Funston – who were in the mix last year – and a fresh field of newcomers are all going to be driving themselves into the soil to reach that podium. Moving up to the 13-14 race is last year’s 10-12 champion Gage Hecht, along with Spencer Petrov and Zachary Mikkelson, 2nd and 4th last year, respectively. The little ones moving up to the next age bracket will have to deal with the top returning finisher Gavin Haley, who’s back and looking to take a step or to higher on the podium than his 3rd place last year. In the final junior men’s race of the day, defending champ Logan Owen has to be the favorite in the 15-16 race as he pursues his sixth consecutive national championship, although Curtis White, who took 3rd last year, will be looking for a little revenge. When Cyclocross Magazine asked Owen how he felt going into the championships, he responded, “Yeah, six in a row baby!”

The field for the women’s 30-34 race is stacked with names familiar to CXM readers. Barbara Howe has moved up, but several of the top five are returning to seek the title. Andrea Smith should be a face at the front, but folks like Devon Haskell, Kristi Berg and the Team CF dynamic duo of Nikki Thiemann and Kristin Gavin have also been flying this season. The women’s 35-39 race with returning champ Kerry Barnholt, 2009 runner-up Linda Sone, JingleCross’ podium finisher Nicole Duke and 2009 30-34 champ Barbara Howe will be exciting for racers and spectators.

The final race of Friday’s action is set to be the men’s 45-49 contest. And while we here at CXM wish the best to contributor Kenton Berg, the overwhelming favorite has to be returning champ Jonny Bold. Although over 100 riders strong, the race is anything but decided and there are many accomplished racers, including the venerable Don Myrah, last year’s second place in the 40-44 category, who will be looking to silence the outspoken Bold.