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Team pursuit set for Sunday



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SKI completes their last lap at the Little 500 Qualifications on Saturday at Bill Armstrong Stadium. The team finished in 2:42.768 for a fourth place finish.  Katie Franke Buy Photos

The spring cycling series will culminate Sunday with its team pursuit, which is slated to begin at 1 p.m. at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

During team pursuit, two teams race on the track simultaneously with one team starting in turn two and the other in turn four.

The men ride 15 laps and the women ride 12. The event is called “team pursuit” because each team tries to chase down and pass the other.

After the team’s third rider — or fourth, if the team chooses not to drop its slowest rider — crosses the finish line on the final lap, the team receives its times. These times are ranked, and the two fastest teams compete in a championship heat at the end of the night.

Last year, Teter took home the title for the sixth time in the last seven years. The only time Teter failed to finish first in that span was in 2015, when the team placed third.

Looking to challenge Teter will be 2016 runner-up Kappa Alpha Theta and 2015 champion SKI, along with traditional powerhouses Delta Gamma and Alpha Omicron Pi.

Senior rider Megan Huibregtse of SKI said she believes her team has an edge because it’s won it before.

“It definitely gives me the confidence to know we have the edge to win,” Huibregtse said. “Having so many years of practicing that event as an experienced rider gives me confidence in my technique and the technique I have been able to teach my teammates.”

To train, SKI has been simulating the event by riding 10-, 12- and 14-lap sets at the track. Consistently doing those efforts has helped the team get used to riding at an elevated intensity for an extended period of time, Huibregtse said.

In regards to strategy, Huibregtse said the team’s goal is to maximize every rider’s strengths and minimize weaknesses. Along with teammate sophomore Ivy Moore, she said she plans on riding at the front of the pack for the majority of the time, which can be difficult due to high wind resistance. Huibregtse said she also believes it’s important to push the pace as fast as possible for as long as possible.

“If you pace yourself too much, you slow yourself down,” Huibregtse said. “You’re really capable of a whole lot more than you think, so it’s all about going as hard as you can, encouraging each other and trying your best.”

Although she thinks the spring series is a good way to test how her team stacks up against the rest of the field, Huibregtse said SKI’s ultimate goal is to win the Little 500.

“It’s all about the race,” Huibregtse said. “When it comes down to it, we’re here for the race. At the end of the day, they don’t remember who won team pursuit or Miss N Out or ITTs. They remember who won the race.”

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