Chelminiak, Sharp win Miss-N-Out titles
Fifth-year rider Steven Sharp from Phi Delta Theta won this year’s men’s Miss-N-Out for his second career title in the event.
In addition, second-year rider Kathleen Chelminiak (Kappa Alpha Theta) won her first career Miss-N-Out title, only days after winning the ITT on Wednesday.
“I feel like I did pretty well,” Chelminiak said. “Everyone did great all day and gave me a run for it. I’m so mind-boggled. I don’t really know how to answer how I feel about this performance.”
After losing last season’s Miss-N-Out to Eric Young, Sharp was able to get back on top of the Little 500 Spring Series after his first Miss-N-Out Championship in 2010, albeit with some major drama.
Heading into the final lap of the final heat, Sharp trailed 2012 ITT champion RJ Stuart (Delta Tau Delta), however during the final two turns, Sharp kicked into another gear and passed Stuart, taking the 2012 Miss-N-Out Championship in the process.
“I thought it was a good race and I thought Steve rode a great set,” Stuart said. “I simply didn't play my cards right and I'm looking forward to the race. The race will be a different story.”
Stuart, the number one overall seed, finished second in the finals, while Beta Theta Pi’s William Kragie finished third.
Last year’s fourth-place finisher and this year’s 17 seed Adam Fish (Sigma Chi) also made the finals as the lowest seed, and placed fifth in the final heat.
“I was happy, but you want to win, so it was tough,” Fish said. “There were a lot of strong guys this year, especially this year. The goal was to get to the final and see what happens. Sometimes there’s dumb luck and you get lucky and sometimes you don’t.”
In the women’s competition, Chelminiak continued the process of making herself well known amongst the Little 500 elite. Saturday’s title was her second this week.
Chelminiak was in control throughout the entire day, holding the lead and winning in every heat she competed in.
“I feel like everything we’ve been doing as a team has been worth it, and I just feel like everything was done because of total trust in what our coaches have us do,” Chelminiak said. “I just came and showed up and did my thing, but with so many things happening behind the scenes like teammates and coaches helping me out, it wasn’t just me.”
Chelminiak held the lead throughout the entire final heat without faltering, while Delta Gamma rider and No. 3 seed Kayce Doogs finished as the runner-up, holding off No. 2 seed Teter’s Lisa Hutcheson.
Fourth-seeded Melissa Moeller (Wing It Cycling) also made the final four, meaning the top four riders finished in the top four.
“The last three races are right after another so honestly you never know what is going to happen,” Doogs said. “A lot of it comes down to luck, and it definitely got harder, but the race was good.”
Another factor in Saturday's races was crashes, as dry track conditions led to multiple pileups. One of the most notable crashes was in the second men’s semifinal, when No. 6 seed Daniel Kinn crashed in the first elimination lap with the No. 15 seed Gregory Bortz of Acacia. Both riders were eliminated from the race.
“I think the biggest concern I think for everyone out here is not to wreck, because it is a lot about strategy and you just have to position yourself,” Doogs said. “Everyone wants to win obviously, but when it comes down to it, it should be a safe race. It’s not necessarily the fastest rider, it’s the person with the best strategy who wins.”
Riders will now have two practice races and time for training over the next two weeks heading into the next Spring Series event, Team Pursuit on April 14.
With that break from competition, Stuart said his team is focused on using those two weeks to do only one thing.
“We will train hard.”