Indiana Daily Student

Phi Kappa Psi favored to win men’s Little 500

<p>The Phi Kappa Psi cycling team rides as a group during practice on April 1, 2022, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Phi Psi finished first in the 2022 Qualification Rounds and the Little 500 Team Pursuit finals.</p>

The Phi Kappa Psi cycling team rides as a group during practice on April 1, 2022, at Bill Armstrong Stadium. Phi Psi finished first in the 2022 Qualification Rounds and the Little 500 Team Pursuit finals.

The Phi Kappa Psi fraternity’s bike team is the favorite to win the 71st running of the Men's Little 500 this Saturday.

This will be the first Little 500 held with fans since the 2019 race. Cutters won the race in 2019 with a time of 2:10:25.879 in front of a crowd. The race was canceled in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic continued to spread. 

JETBLACH won the 2021 race with an official time of 2:13:21.22. Cutters finished in a close second place with a 2:13:21.71 time. Sigma Phi Epsilon secured the third place with a time of 2:13:22.36. Chi Alpha finished in fourth place with a 2:13:22.37 time. Phi Psi finished in fifth with a time of 2:13:24.87.

Phi Psi has come close to taking first place in the last two races, but it hasn’t found itself at the top of the podium yet. In 2019, the team finished in eighth place after losing a one-lap lead on the 199th lap. 

Then-Phi Psi senior rider Albert La Valle was looking for a substitution in the last lap. As soon as La Valle reached the pit for a change, his little brother, then-freshman Phi Psi rider Andrew La Valle got on his bike. He tried to catch up to the speed of the race as fast as he could, but it wasn’t enough to secure the victory. Seven teams passed La Valle, including Cutters, the eventual winners of the 2019 Little 500 race.

Phi Psi finished in fifth place in 2021. Andrew La Valle, then a junior, was about to lap the pack when a rider in front of him lost control of his bike. His bike’s front handlebars broke and the front wheel hooked to the left, causing him to lose the lead.

This year, Phi Psi finished first in the Qualification Rounds — colloquially known as Quals — with a time of 02:30.9 and defeated Phi Delta Theta in the Little 500 Team Pursuit finals. Phi Psi is the favorite to win the race with those two victories this year under its belt. The team is looking for its eighth Little 500 victory and its first since 1978.

Other teams to look out for include JETBLACH, which serves as a replacement team for the Delta Tau Delta fraternity. JETBLACH reorganized after Delta Tau Delta was placed on the IU list of suspended organizations in 2017. Aside from its Little 500 victory in 2021, JETBLACH also won the Team Pursuit challenge last year. 

Cutters has had a top five finish in every race since 2016 and won two races back-to-back in 2018 and 2019. Cutters also topped the qualification rounds in both of those years. Black Key Bulls — which won the 2017 Team Pursuit finals and Little 500 itself — has also been a consistent top five finisher since 2017 aside from its sixth place finish last year. 

The 71st running of the Men's Little 500 race will start at 2 p.m. Saturday. The race will be broadcast on WIUX-LP Bloomington’s 99.1 FM channel and live streamed on the IU Student Foundation’s Facebook page.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the starting time of the Men's Little 500 race Saturday.

Like what you're reading?

Get more award-winning content delivered straight to your inbox. Sign up for our Weekly Recap.

Signup today!
Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2022 Indiana Daily Student