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ANGEL FIRE, New Mexico (VN) — National titles were defended and surrendered on Sunday as the dual slalom concluded the 2012 USA Cycling Collegiate Mountain Bike National Championships.
The dusty course was just a quarter-mile long and dropped 100 feet in elevation from start to finish.
In the men’s race, Bryce Hocking (Marian University) defeated defending champion Joey Schusler (University of Colorado-Boulder) to win the stars-and-stripes jersey.
Schusler won the first of two runs by .35 second, but Hocking made up the difference in the second heat to ascend to the top step of the podium.
The winner of Saturday’s downhill crown, John Swanguen (Lindsey Wilson College), took the bronze. He was scheduled to race teammate Logan Collins, but Collins was unable to compete.
The women’s race saw Lindsey Wilson’s Stephanie Caluag upset Crystal Kalogris (Marian University), who won the Division II women’s national title in this event in 2011.
Jill Behlen (University of Wyoming) defeated Madison Pitts (Lindenwood University) for the bronze.
Paul Mayes (Michigan Technological University) repeated as national champion after he defeated Owen Tulip (Western State Colorado University) in the final.
Mayes crashed during the qualifying runs in the morning and was seeded 24th. But he strung together clean rides through the ensuing rounds and advanced to the final to take the gold.
Mac Banner (Brevard College) slipped past Scott Hoenisch (U.S. Air Force Academy) for the bronze.
Essence Barton (California Lutheran University) earned her third consecutive collegiate national championship, beating Ariana Altier (University of California-Chico) in the final round.
“I can’t even explain it,” Barton said. “This year has been so challenging, racing Ariana Altier. … We’ve been going back and forth all year. She beat me in downhill this weekend. Right when I got to the bottom of the downhill, I knew I got second. I said, ‘I’m going up to slalom and practicing.’
“It’s so nice to have that competition. It feels so good to have that back and forth in a good competitive spirit. To win for the third time in my third year of college, it blows my mind.”
Elisa Otter (Union College-Ky.) defeated Allison Jones (Warren Wilson College) in the ride for the bronze medal.