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It’s up for grabs.



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Since last year’s race, many of the stars have moved on and other teams have improved. Pre-race favorites failed to perform well in qualifications and the competition in Spring Series events was balanced. Evan Mannweiler Buy Photos

With the 58th annual men’s Little 500 set for Saturday at 2 p.m., Cutters senior Paul Sigfusson has not had time to think about last year’s Little 500 victory and what it will be like to take the track at Bill Armstrong Stadium as defending champions.

“I’m just trying to get through this week,” he said. “You kind of try not to think about last year or what will happen this year. Maybe I will on race day, but it’s really just about controlling your emotions.”

Last year, Cutters edged out four other teams — Phi Kappa Psi, Dodds House, Black Key Bulls and Team Major Taylor — in a one-lap sprint to the finish. The four teams that came up short have had all year to ponder last year’s race and how close they came.

“Finishing second is awesome, especially in a race like this,” Phi Kappa Psi senior David Schweer said. “To be on the final lap is awesome, but when you come that close and don’t win it, it just makes you want it that much more.”

Black Key Bulls junior Isaac Neff rode the final leg for his team last year. Neff said he has spent time analyzing last year’s finish so he is more prepared if this year’s race comes down to a sprint.

“You always think about things like that,” Neff said. “I’ve learned a lot from watching

video of that sprint, and we’ve talked a lot about it since.”

Of the top five finishers from last year, only two qualified in the top 10 this year – Team Major Taylor in second and Phi Kappa Psi in third. Cutters qualified 13th, while Dodds House and Black Key Bulls qualified 16th and 17th, respectively. Sigma Alpha Mu will be in the pole position on race day.

“We definitely think this is going to be one of our strongest years, hopefully in history, definitely in recent history,” Sigma Alpha Mu sophomore Stephen Quay said. “We’re very optimistic going into this year.”

Several other teams are looking to break into the top-five this year after strong showings in the spring series.

Phi Delta Theta qualified fourth and placed fifth in Team Pursuit with a young team.

“The future is promising for Phi Delt cycling,” junior Matt Kain said. “We’re excited about it, but right now we’re just focusing on this year’s race.”

Acacia finished sixth in qualifications and Team Pursuit and has hopes of a higher finish on race day.

“Honestly I don’t think we showed everything we had in the series events,” senior Acacia rider Adam Mahomed said.

This year’s field boasts many experienced teams, starting with the defending-champion Cutters. Sigfusson and senior Sasha Land rode on last year’s championship team and senior Erik Hamilton has previous race experience with Cinzano before joining Cutters.

“Anyone with experience on the track is in better shape than people without it, because they’ve been through race day before,” Sigfusson said. “Clayton (Feldman) is our only rookie and he’s witnessed the race before, but it’s about how you handle race day on the track.”

At the end of the day, however, every team is after what Sigfusson and Land have – a championship trophy.

“It’s always nice to win, that’s the main goal,” Team Major Taylor senior Ali Camara said. “I don’t think we’ll be too happy with

anything less.”

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