PAIR OF CRUSADERS EARN NATIONAL TITLES

PAIR OF CRUSADERS EARN NATIONAL TITLES

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- Belmont Abbey's second-year men's cycling program enjoyed an historic night Friday, capturing a pair of national titles at the USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships.

For the second straight year, Nick Oestreich took the deciding race in the best-of-three match sprint final to earn the red, white and blue champion's jersey. He defeated Peter Bock of Marian in the second and third races to claim the crown.

Earlier in the evening, he won both semifinal races over Penn State-Lehigh Valley's Justin Butsavage to earn a spot in the final.

Oestreich's title was actually the second of the night for Belmont Abbey. In between the semifinal and final, freshman Johnny Kuhfahl earned the national title in the Men's Points Race. Covering a distance of 30km in 90 laps, he gained 59 total points, 16 better than runner-up Bill Ash of Midwestern State. Kuhlfahl gained the maximum of five points in six of the 15 sprints and finished fourth overall in the race.

Earlier in the day, several Crusaders enjoyed positive results in the Pursuit final. Kuhfahl covered the 4k race in 4:50.172 to place third, just over three seconds behind the winner, Jordan Marhanka of Marian. Jesse Kooistra finished fifth (4:55.696) with teammate Keith Mullaly right behind in sixth (4:56.969). Collin Tellechea placed 19th (5:05.646).

"While the national championships are amazing and the guys are feeling great, we are all most proud of coming together as a team today," Head Coach Derek Dalzell said. "From athletes holding bikes to teammates passing out water, it was a full team effort today. Each day we discuss our "highs" and "lows" of the day.  Today, every single rider mentioned how connected we are as a team for their "high".  So while the podiums are fantastic, I have a strong feeling this is one of those nights these guys will look back on for years to come. It truly was all hands on deck today."

The championships conclude on Saturday with three more events.