Before 50 laps were in the books for the 61st running of the Men’s Little 500, Cutters’ rookie rider Kevin Depasse fell to the cinders after colliding with a Sigma Nu rider.
The wreck left the Cutters, Sigma Chi and Delta Tau Delta a lap down, but Sigma Nu was able to recover.
“When you hear you crash you want to get up and go quickly,” Cutter's rider Eric Young said. “But I saw the pack go around and I didn’t see the yellow jersey going around I got kind of worried.”
Phi Delta Theta was able to avoid the crash and they took the lead. Sigma Nu, the pole team, sat in second. The race could have been Phi Delts, but the Little 500 race is an event of misfortunes and sharp strategies.
For about 100 laps, the race sat between Phi Delt and Black Key Bulls, exchanging the lead, with Acacia and FIJI also fighting for the front spot.
Maybe this is when the Cutters’ constant watching of old races helped them. Maybe this is when Sigma Chi coach Tom Schwoegler’s strategic mind really helped them come back from being in ninth place. Maybe this is when the Cutters’ strength in Eric Young really did give his team the advantage.
Whatever it was, Sigma Chi and Cutters caught up to Phi Delt.
When Phi Delt went to pull away, Young sat on his bike tire and drafted behind him, leaving Sigma Chi behind. Senior Phi Delt rider Chris West said their front position was tough to keep.
“It was essentially us on the front a lot of the time,” West. “It was just hard to hold off.”
When Phi Delts went in for an exchange on Lap 199 is when Young made his move for the win.
Through controversy and hate-filled chants, the Cutters prevailed. The independent team won its fifth straight Little 500 victory, a feat no other team in the race has ever accomplished.
Including Saturday’s victory, the Cutters have won 12 races in the team’s 27-year existence.
“We had to find a way to get back from a lap down and make it work,” Young said. “It came down to a race of who was the strongest team.”
Here are the unofficial placements from the men's Little 500.
2. Phi Delta Theta
3. Sigma Chi
4. Delta Tau Delta
6. Black Key Bulls
7. Hoosier Climber?
8 Delta Chi
9. Sigma Nu Fraternity
10. Phi Kappa Psi
11. Kappa Sigma
12. Theta Chi
13. Gray Goat Cycling
14. Sigma Phi Epsilon
15. Phi Gamma Delta
16. Cru Cycling
17. Beta Theta Pi
18. Air Force Cycling
20. Dodds House
21. Wright Cycling
23. CSF Cycling
24. #Jungle Express
25. Sigma Pi
26. Delta Sigma Pi
27. Sigma Alpha Epsilon
28. Sigma Alpha Mu
29. Delta Upsilon
30. Pi Kappa Alpha
32. Evans Scholars
33. Phi Kappa Sigma
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