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Sigma Phi Epsilon look to upset Black Key Bulls in team pursuit



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Black Key Bulls riders embrace after their qualification bid at the Bill Armstrong Stadium on Saturday. BKB qualified for the 2017 Little 500 bike race with a time of 2:26.5. Victor Grossling Buy Photos

With a win in the Sunday’s team pursuit, the Black Key Bulls would capture its fourth white jersey in a row.

Winning the coveted white jersey, which is earned by winning spring series, is all senior Charlie Hammon has known. In each of his previous three years as a member of the team, the Black Key Bulls have won team pursuit.

“Winning would mean a lot,” Hammon said. “The only year we did not wear white was 2015 because we were in yellow. I love the white jersey. It’s a really hard one to win because it shows that you put in so much work throughout the year.”

The Black Key Bulls currently have a firm grasp of the spring series lead and are followed by Sigma Phi Epsilon in second and Cutters in third.

With the white jersey in sight, Hammon is maintaining focus on what it would take to undoubtedly secure it — a win. Hammon said he knows his team is more than capable of a win and would be disappointed with anything less.

“We’re not going in Sunday to win spring series," Hammon said. "We’re going in to win team pursuit. I think that would be an awesome accomplishment but we don’t really care as much about extending our streak as we do winning.”

Hammon said he believes team pursuit is the best indicator of any spring series event of how a team will perform in Little 500.

“It’s a pretty good indicator but not perfect,” Hammon said. “I think team pursuit shows that if you win it you’re going to be at the sprint no matter what.”

Senior Sam Anderson of Sigma Phi Epsilon said he knows his team will need to reach the finals Sunday to have a shot at passing the Black Key Bulls in the spring series.

“Team pursuit is typically super reflective of a team’s overall fitness and ability to perform,” Anderson said. “I think that if we do our best we have the potential to do very well. We know that BKB is one of our toughest competitors Sunday.”

Team Pursuit is the only spring series event in which riders compete in the event as a team rather than individually. Anderson said his team is confident and optimistic going into team pursuit but knows it will be physically demanding.

“You’re going into it with the mindset that you’re gonna go out there and really hurt for nine or 10 minutes,” Anderson said. “The legs are gonna be burning, your lungs are gonna be on fire. You're going to want to power through those 15 laps at a pace you can maintain.”

Sophomore Ben Harris, also of Sigma Phi Epsilon, said he’s not intimidated being the only non-senior on the team’s top squad and wants to make his teammates proud Sunday. Harris credited their leadership and experience in his development as a rider.

“I’m gonna throw it all out there for those guys,” Harris said. “I think it would mean a lot for them to win the white jerseys as seniors. My performance is really going to be for them.”

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