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    May 8, 2022 Augusta, Ga. RSS |

    5/8/22: Liberty University cyclist Bethany Matsick came in fifth out of 43 varsity women’s cyclists in Sunday’s 70-minute women’s criterium at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in downtown Augusta, Ga.

    “In the final turn (of the last lap), two girls crashed in front of her as she sat in eighth (place … causing her to) lose momentum, so she was only able to make up one spot in the final sprint to the finish line,” Liberty Head Coach Timo Budarz said, noting that Freddie Shashaty got caught up in a crash on the same turn with one lap to go in Sunday’s 80-minute men’s criterium and he was unable to finish. “It was quite a mixed bag this weekend.”

    Complete results from the men’s and women’s varsity criterium races are available online.

    Matsick had won Friday’s women’s time trial, setting a course record in the process, but was taken out of Saturday’s road race by an accident right out of the gate.

    “A (Colorado Mesa University) athlete swerved into her one mile into the (96.6-kilometer) race and caused a crash from which her bike did not recover,” Budarz said. “Five minutes passed before getting a getting a loaner bike and it was too late for her to chase (the lead packs).”

    Matsick crushes women’s time trial at USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships

    5/6/22: Liberty University cyclist Bethany Matsick set a women’s course record in winning Friday’s 22.2-kilometer time trial by nearly a minute and a half on the first of three days of racing at the USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships in Augusta, Ga.

    Matsick, who graduated with an M.S. in Mathematics in May 2020 and is now pursuing her Ph.D. in engineering, completed the relatively hilly, out-and-back course on the Fort Gordon U.S. Army base in 32 minutes, 56.54 seconds to leave her competitors in her tracks. Colorado-Boulder’s Margot Clyne placed second in 34:24.22 followed by Montana State’s Cecily Decker (34:41.34), California Poly San Luis’s Anna Hicks (34:47.63), Idaho State’s Aileen Pannecourcke (35:12.72) and 25 other finishers in the women’s varsity/club race.

    Complete results are available online.

    “Bethany destroyed everybody, winning by (nearly 90 seconds) with everybody else 10-12 seconds apart,” Liberty Head Coach Timo Budarz said, noting that she was racing against a field that included NCAA athletes and possibly some professionals. “She was far and away faster than all of the others. That recognition certainly helps her chances of being invited to a Team USA selection camp.”

    He said Matsick had a targeted goal in mind when she started her time trial.

    “She knew what she wanted to do,” Budarz said. “She had an agenda. She knew what the fastest time was on that course, set in 2019 by a girl that is now a very strong professional rider. (Matsick) beat that time by 44 seconds so she was happy to have set the course record at nationals.”

    Meanwhile, Flames senior Freddie Shashaty had to pull out of his time trial with a technical DNF due to a problem with his bike.

    “Freddie had a mechanical issue that made him shut it down 10 minutes into his time trial, which is not something you want to see happen at nationals,” Budarz said. “He has had similar issues in the past, but thought he’d fixed it and he did some trial runs on it (Thursday).”

    Shashaty should have two more opportunities to compete this weekend, with the 120.7K (five-lap) men’s varsity road race, also at Fort Gordon, set for Saturday at 1 p.m. and the 80-minute men’s varsity criterium in downtown Augusta on Sunday at 1:15 p.m.

    Those races will be after Matsick begins her quest for the women’s omnium overall title with Saturday’s 96.6K (four-lap) varsity road race at 9:15 a.m. and Sunday’s 70-minute women’s varsity criterium.

    Budarz expects between 75-100 to compete in Saturday’s men’s and women’s club and varsity road races after far fewer participated in the time trials, which did not count toward the overall omnium points.

    “They will be bigger fields,” he said. “Since the time trial is not mandatory for the overall omnium, a lot of people sit it out to save energy for the road race and crit. The strongest cyclists do the time trial because they know they have the best chance to win it.”

    He knows Matsick and Shashaty will have a rougher road racing as individuals.

    “Hopefully (Saturday’s road race) goes as well for Bethany,” Budarz said. “It helps in road racing to have a solid team surrounding you. Both of them will be flying solo, which will be quite a challenge, especially at this level.”

    Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 60-degree range for Matsick’s morning race before reaching 80 by the start of Shashaty’s afternoon event.

    More information is available on the USA Cycling website.

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer