Indiana Daily Student

Cutters end six-year drought, win 2018 men's Little 500

<p>Cutters celebrates after winning the 2018 men's Little 500 race. The Cutters team won its 13th Little 500 race Saturday, April 21, at Bill Armstrong Stadium.</p>

Cutters celebrates after winning the 2018 men's Little 500 race. The Cutters team won its 13th Little 500 race Saturday, April 21, at Bill Armstrong Stadium.

Never again. 

That was the thought for Cutters' junior Noble Guyon ever since last year's Little 500.  

For the past 364 days, Guyon has relived his team's third-place finish, over and over again, as a reminder to not let it happen this time around.  

And he didn't. 

Guyon took the bike with 20 laps to go April 21. His team was in the middle of the leading pack that consisted of about 15 to 20 teams throughout the entirety of the 200 laps. Sporting the green jersey, Guyon stayed under control and in the pack for the last 19 of his 20-lap anchor. 

It wasn’t until turn four on the last lap where Guyon accelerated to top-speed, passing Gray Goat and being the first one to cross the finish line with the checkered flag waving, raising his arms up in the air in celebration. 

"I was able to put myself in a position to win on that last lap," Guyon said. "With how the turns were, I knew I had to go for a full lap." 

Guyon, along with Erik Schwedland, Greg Huibregtse and Patrick Coulter, secured the team's 13th championship — the most in history.  

"I couldn't have done it without them," Guyon said. "I was able to save energy until the end because of these guys." 

Every rider cranked out lap after lap for the team, but for Schwedland, he did it with a tear in his right meniscus that he suffered in February. The doctors told him he could either have surgery right then or take it easy and compete in Little 500. He chose the latter.  

After the race ended, his knee hurt, but during the race he said he was way too focused to feel any pain. Schwedland would take the bike for long distances where he didn't have to sprint as much, because sprinting would affect his knee the most.  

Around lap 120, team Jet Blach took the lead by about a half-lap and held for it for nearly 40 laps. Schwedland was riding the entire time Jet Blach was up by that much, but just stayed consistent and never panicked to speed up. 

"It's a matter of doing enough work so they come back but not enough so you're cooked," Schwedland said.

Beta Theta Pi looked as if it would pull away with 10 laps to go when the team took a little more than a straight away lead on the pack. But, Cutters' Coach Jim Kirkham said it wasn't on his team to worry about that.  

Black Key Bulls were the defending champions and Kirkham said in cycling, the defending champs take responsibilities to close the gaps.  

Guyon was in the chase for Beta Theta Pi in the end and said, "let the yellow jersey do the work." The yellow jerseys are worn by the reigning champions.  

"We allowed the other teams to do a lot more work," Kirkham said. "We were more patient, and we had to be. If we would have chased after Beta at the end, we would've lost. If we would've chased after Jet Blach, we would've lost. It's a calculated risk, and this time it just so happened to go our way." 

Everyone from the Cutters said the men's race tends to mirror the women's race from the day prior. So, when Guyon saw Rachel Brown of Kappa Alpha Theta take the bike with more than 10 laps to go and kick at the end to finish first, he knew he would be doing much of the same.  

And he did exactly what Brown did, closing out the last leg of the race faster than anyone else.  

It had been a bit of a drought for the Cutters as well. After winning the Little 500 from 2007 to 2011, the team was in a dry spell for first-place finishes. With an unofficial time of 2:10:21, the Cutters reclaimed its position at the top.  

Kirkham, who has been through all the wins and losses over the past few years, said he lost it and ran into the stands when he saw Guyon put his hands up in the air signaling his team had won.  

The team received its trophies, took its victory lap with fans jogging behind them and celebrated.  

The past six years are gone. They are champions once more. They did not let it happen again. 

Editor's note: Cutters rider Noble Guyon is a photographer for the Indiana Daily Student.

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