____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>After swimming a 200-yard butterfly time trial at the U.S. Short Course Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, sophomore Jim Barbiere approached coach Ray Looze. During the race, Looze had been yelling at Barbiere every time his head came out of the water to breathe. Looze was trying to keep Barbiere motivated while he tried to pass the swimmer ahead of him. After the race, Barbiere came to thank his coach.“If none of the coaches are really paying attention to you, you have an idea that you’re not doing well,” Barbiere said. “But if the team’s up and everybody has their hands in the air or they’re jumping up and down, that’s usually when you have an idea that you’re having a good race.”The coaches often flash signals to the swimmers whenever they can be seen. For example, when Looze or another staff member puts both arms in the air, that means the swimmer is doing well. Another indication of a successful race is when a coach is jumping while holding his or her hands high into the air. When Looze moves his arms up and down — resembling a child learning how to dribble a basketball — it means the swimmer should start using his or her legs more. Cheering at a swim meet is different from cheering at most other sports because during a large portion of the race, the athletes are underwater and unable to see or hear much. Cheering is often timed to get louder for the second when a swimmer brings his or her head above water to breathe. Even though the cheering only amplifies for a brief second, there is never a shortage of excitement or energy on the sidelines during a race.“I tend to be kind of loud, and I usually try to time my scream to when their heads surface or when they breathe, so they know that we’re really behind them,” Looze said. “We like to be zany and loud and loosey-goosey, and that’s the kind of people I like to recruit on a team.”Similar to a baseball team, most squads have slightly different signals that they give their swimmers, Looze said. However, unlike baseball, these signals are not kept secret since there is no need to worry about what the other team is doing; each swimmer can only control how well he swims.“There are some coaches who are really enthusiastic and walk up and down the pool deck, or whistle, or even do crazy loud things,” freshman Lindsay Vrooman said. “But I think most of the time, it’s just usually the same thing for most teams.”Looze has noticed that each swimmer is different in how he or she is affected by coaches’ movements outside the pool. Some, like Barbiere, swim faster by seeing coaches jumping around next to the pool, while others, like Looze himself when he used to swim, don’t care or even notice what goes on outside the pool. In general, Looze said he wants his swimmers to swim their own races.“I don’t want to contribute positively or negatively at a race,” Looze said. “I really want them to step up there and do it independently. There are a lot of coach-to-swimmer relationships that get dependent, and we’ve got six great swim coaches on this staff that are fantastic, and I think if there’s no dependency on any one individual, they can learn more easily from everybody.”
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____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Moments after the Michigan women’s swim team handed IU a loss on Oct. 30, 2010, junior Allysa Vavra made a bold prediction.“We are not going to lose to them again,” Vavra said. “I guarantee that. We will not ever do this again.”She was right.Vavra, who won the 200-yard individual medley and the 200-yard breaststroke, led the IU women in a 157-127 win against Michigan on Saturday at Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center. The IU men’s team also won 163-137. Although the victory delivered on a guarantee for the IU women, it was historic for the men. The last time the Hoosiers’ men squad beat the 8th-ranked Wolverines was in the 1998-99 season. In addition to snapping the 11-year skid against Michigan, IU was also the first Big Ten team to knock off Michigan in conference play since 2007.“I think both teams were very, very confident coming into this meet,” IU head coach Ray Looze said. “But the women just knew that they were going to win, whereas the men were determined to win.”Junior Margaux Farrell joined Vavra with victories in the 100-yard freestyle and 200-yard freestyle. On the men’s side, senior Titus Knight took home individual victories in the 100-yard freestyle and the 200-yard freestyle and a relay victory in the 400-yard freestyle.Looze said he was impressed with the way the teams won with honor and “kept it in perspective.” He said the squad maintained its composure, knowing that the most important victory is not in early January, but in late February at the Big Ten Championships.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The University of Michigan’s rivalry in the pool against the Hoosiers this year has stayed competitive. At 11 a.m. Saturday in Counsilman-Billingsley Aquatic Center, the rivalry will be back on display.With tight finishes for both the Hoosier men (a 150-150 tie) and women (a 188-182 loss) against the Wolverines in October and November, the teams have made it clear that patrons get a show every time these two teams swim against each other. The two programs rank in the top 15 in the nation according to TRY/College Swim Coaches Association of America Dual Meet Poll. Both IU men and women are ranked 14th, while the Wolverines are eighth and 15th, respectively.The IU women’s team will focus on relays and starting the meet off strong. A strong second day wasn’t enough to overcome a less than stellar first day for the women the last time the Hoosiers met the Wolverines. The men’s team has made a couple of lineup changes and looks to utilize depth, which has improved since November.“Since we swam against them earlier in the year, it’s going to be a great benchmark,” head coach Ray Looze said.Since Dec. 27, the swimmers and divers have gone through rigorous training. Although they may be tired from the past couple of weeks, the teams always look forward to facing the rival Wolverines. After the tie in November, senior Titus Knight described the rivalry as “sort of a deep hatred,” and Looze described the rivalry as “fierce” throughout the last couple of years.Michigan will battle to keep its success against IU going, while the Hoosiers look to make a statement against another Big Ten contender.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>As sophomore Daniel Kanorr reaches for the wall at the end of his race, he hears a rumble from above the water. He surfaces and realizes that the rumble is his teammates chanting.CONDOR! CONDOR! CONDOR!As has become his custom, Kanorr flaps his arms in triumph after a good race.Soon after his arrival, both coaches and players easily noticed that Kanorr, who stands at 6 feet 6 inches, has incredibly long arms. Whenever he would raise his arms, teammates noticed his stunning resemblance to a condor, which has a great wingspan. Add in the fact that his last name also sounds a bit similar to “condor,” and the nickname fits perfectly.“You can sometimes see it in him,” senior Bryan Chovanec said. “That’s just who he is. It’s kind of weird that way, and I think the nickname kind of picks the person.”Nicknames have picked many other members of the team as well, such as senior Ante Zoricic, who has gone by “Zorro” for years. In fact, he became known as Zorro far before he set foot in Bloomington or in the United States. His first swim coach in Croatia was the first to bestow the nickname upon him.“That was kind of funny for a couple of months,” Zoricic said. “But then they continued calling me Zorro. Now even my parents call me Zorro.“The various nicknames on the team range from junior John Schnittker’s moniker of Doodle (like a snickerdoodle cookie) to freshman James Wells’ nickname of Landry (he is the spitting image of Landry Clarke of NBC’s “Friday Night Lights”) to sophomore Jim Barbiere’s name of Dandy (he looks like a mix of Dale Earnhardt and Randy Johnson).The swimmers all seem to enjoy the business of giving and receiving nicknames. Zoricic actually prefers to be called Zorro, partially because a large number of people mispronounce his first name. Kanorr also gladly accepts his moniker. He said it has created a much more fun atmosphere than an ordinary and dull swim practice.“People think that this is boring, but think about doing it with people you don’t know,” Chovanec said. “It would be really boring. As teammates, we need each other to get through the day.”The guys in the pool aren’t the only ones who enjoy the nicknames. The coaches said they love calling the swimmers by their nicknames and even coming up with them. IU coach Ray Looze said he thinks the nickname game is one of the best aspects of the team. “It’s the way they bond, and it’s a way they bring themselves closer together,” Looze said. “It’s a sign of friendship. I think when you really like somebody, you have a nickname for them.”The nicknames are a large part of the team’s great sense of humor, which Looze said he values greatly. “I think whenever you have humor in anything, it helps bring people together,” Looze said. “Laughing is such a universal thing of successful organizations.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The pool at Ohio State University was filled with great swimmers from Thursday to Saturday at the AT&T U.S. Short Course Nationals. Many of the talented athletes wore the distinctive white swim caps of IU, and they did not disappoint.Junior Eric Ress had another good showing, finishing fifth in the 100-yard backstroke and posting the third-best time in school history in the 200-yard backstroke, finishing fifth. Numerous women had top-five finishes, from junior Nikki White in the 500-yard freestyle to junior Alyssa Vavra in the 400-yard individual medley. Five Hoosier relay teams posted top-five finishes, which perhaps is an example of how far the team has come since struggling with relays early on.“I was so pleased with the morale and the spirit,” IU coach Ray Looze said. “We had some people step up who had never done that before, so we’re starting to come together.”As many other teams competed in the event, the men’s squad had a chance to scout out some future opponents. However, not as many women’s teams from the Big Ten were represented at the meet.“It was a really good dry run for Big Tens, and on the men’s side, we got to take a really good look at Michigan and Ohio State,” Looze said. “It kind of tells us what we need to develop between now and Big Tens on the men’s side.”Looze and the rest of the team are pleased at the progress shown during the weekend.“I don’t know if we’re a championship team yet for women or men,” Looze said. “But you can see one building.”Remaining Hoosiers hold floor at Hoosierland Open With the majority of the IU team was participating in U.S. Short Course Nationals in Columbus, Ohio, those who stayed in Bloomington approached the Hoosierland Open as a tune-up. “I felt like this was almost a perfect meet for us because we had a lot of young divers, and it was an opportunity for them to just kind of get in and rehearse the things they want to do for Big Tens, Winter Nationals and the NCAAs, so it was good for us,” IU diving coach Jeff Huber said. In an event that multiple people described as basically an intersquad meet, there was much to gain. “We’ve had a lot of season bests, a few lifetime bests, and I would say this is a breakthrough meet for a lot of the athletes that are here racing,” said Donny Brush, assistant coach for coordination of training and student-athlete development.Freshman Michael Mohler and sophomore Afton Robertson both performed especially well. Robertson cut 10 seconds off her 400-yard individual medley time, while Mohler won the men’s event and placed well in other races.After the end of the semester, the teams begin preparation for the USA Winter Nationals in Iowa City, Iowa. The team considers the Winter Nationals, which begin Jan. 30, the most important meet of the year thus far.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The annual Hoosierland Open, which usually takes place during the weekend before Thanksgiving, will lose a bit of its luster this year, as about 80 percent of the swim team will be participating in USA Short Course Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.Even though only about 10 to 12 swimmers will be present, those swimmers will use the open as an opportunity to work on a number of techniques and methods that should help them as the season continues.“You see where you are right now, and you take the race strategy you did and if it worked,” sophomore Afton Robertson said. “Then you continue with that, and if it didn’t work, then you can go back to the drawing board.” The entire diving team remains in Bloomington, and the divers plan to put on a show for any spectators. With junior Gabby Agostino, who has dominated dual meets and has won Big Ten Diver of the Week twice already in the young season, and sophomore Zac Nees, who is attempting a dive that diving coach Jeff Huber said only four or five guys in the country can do, this weekend’s meet could make for another impressive showing. This weekend, unlike most, the swimmers are competing more against themselves than against an opponent. A phrase that Huber says often to describe this meet is “dress rehearsal.”“It’s going to be really different because we don’t have a lot of competitors at this meet,” Huber said. “So what we’re going to try and do is use this as a dress rehearsal. The meet that we’re pointing toward next is (USA Diving) Winter Nationals.”Winter Nationals take place in late January, so the Hoosierland Open marks the beginning of the preparations for that important meet.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The annual Hoosierland Open usually draws many schools’ swimming and diving programs. This year, however, swimmers will have their minds on something else: the USA Swimming Short Course Nationals in Columbus, Ohio.Roughly 800 swimmers are bound for Ohio State’s pool to take part in the event. These swimmers range from high school athletes to Olympic athletes such Ryan Lochte. The IU squad, however, is used to swimming against stiff competition.“I’ve already raced against really good swimmers like the people we have on our team alone plus the dual meets we’ve gone to,” junior Courey Schaefer said. “So that’s definitely preparing myself and everyone else for a really good meet.”Among the solid opponents is Virginia senior freestyler Matt McLean, one of the best in the country who swims for the Cavaliers squad that defeated the Hoosiers on Nov. 19 and 20. IU sophomore Jim Barbiere said he looks forward to facing off against McLean again.“You’re always looking to try to beat somebody who’s beat you before,” Barbiere said. “So this is going to be a good opportunity to see where I’m at. He’s one of the best freestylers in the country, so if I’m close to him, I know I’m going to be there at the end of the year.”The event usually takes place farther away from Bloomington in places such as Seattle or Atlanta, so the team is seizing the opportunity that comes with the event’s being so close this year.“It’s a great level of competition that is within driving distance of us,” coach Ray Looze said. “So we really couldn’t pass it up.”About 40 members of the team have shipped off to Columbus for the next few days. Members who didn’t make the trip will look to hold the fort at this weekend’s Hoosierland Open along with the diving team.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Following the pattern of challenging and competitive meets to start off the season, both men and women Hoosier swimmers faced off against highly ranked Virginia and Big Ten opponent Penn State.Led by sophomore Eric Ress and junior Alyssa Vavra, both Hoosier teams fell to the tough Virginia squad. The women beat the Nittany Lions 195-158, and the men’s results were unavailable. The men lost to Virginia 194-159, and the women lost 207-144.Ress won the 200-yard individual medley, the 200-yard backstroke and the 100-yard backstroke. He was also part of a relay team that won the 400-yard medley relay. Vavra’s weekend consisted of victories in the 200-yard individual medley, the 200-yard breaststroke, the 100-yard breaststroke and the 400- and 200-yard individual medleys.“The people who were the most confident performed well,” IU coach Ray Looze said. “And the people who came into this competition expecting to win were the ones who won or got second.”Junior Gabby Agostino, who earned Big Ten Diver of the Week on Nov. 3, won both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions. Senior David Piercy won the 3-meter competition with fellow Hoosier, freshman Darian Schmidt, coming in second. The two finished first and second in the 1-meter diving bout as well, and Schmidt took first.Looze said he wants to see an improved sense of intensity in practice if the teams want to finish well in the upcoming Hoosierland Open on Dec. 3 in Bloomington.“If we want either the men or the women to finish in the top 10, we’ve got some work to do,” Looze said. “We’ve got to train harder so we can prove ourselves to be able to swim with this level of competition and come out on top.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>For the first time since October, the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams will be competing against the same opponents in the same weekend. For the first time this season, the swimmers will be swimming somewhere other than Bloomington.The Hoosiers travel to Charlottesville, Va. to face Virginia and Penn State. Virginia, a traditional powerhouse, is ranked in the top 12 in the national men’s and women’s polls. Penn State, meanwhile, offers an in-conference challenge. Following a double dual meet loss to both Michigan and Texas on Oct. 29 and 30, the women are looking to prove themselves as a title contender. After a tie against Michigan in a similar meet, the male swimmers have been thinking about and working on winning close races.“I know the women have a lot to prove,” IU coach Ray Looze said. “They just took two losses, and I know they want to get back in the win column. The men want to prove they’re not just a one-meet wonder.”The Hoosiers are well aware that a critical part of the season is just beginning. As the holiday season begins, so does the season of hard work and mental toughness for the Hoosiers.“We’re entering a really critical part in the season right now, so just staying motivated every day in practice is important,” junior Katelyn Ishee said. “I think the captains and the coaches have done a really good job keeping specific goals for each day to help us work on that.”One key for the men is translating successful practices into successful meets.“The times we’ve been going in practice are looking pretty good,” sophomore Eric Ress said. “I think that we’ll be pretty well prepared for our first meet on the road.”— Alex McCarthy
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Someday, cyclists may look back on Wednesday as a turning point for club cycling in Bloomington.Team Tortuga, a local cycling team that had 25 members (only five or six of whom raced seriously) last year, is planning to expand its talent base to the entire Midwest as a result of increased sponsorship from the Scholars Inn Bakehouse. This new program, known as Scholars Inn Bakehouse/Team Tortuga Cycling, will comprise of upwards of 35 riders and will race in more than 50 local, regional and national races in 2011. On Wednesday, cyclists from as far away as Indianapolis and Columbus, Ohio gathered in the Scholars Inn Bakehouse to celebrate the revamped cycling program. It drew experienced racers from senior Ren-Jay Shei, a leader of Little 500 team Black Key Bulls to completely inexperienced racers such as John Gleason, a freshman at Ivy Tech.“We want to attract the best cyclists in the area — Bloomington in particular — to this one squad so that we can be the most respected, deepest, most powerful and high-performing team in the Midwest,” said Tom Saccone, director of Scholars Inn Bakehouse/Team Tortuga Cycling.Lyle Feigenbaum, who owns the Scholars Inn and the Scholars Inn Bakehouse with his wife, has a passion for cycling. The Scholars Inn, which offers many healthy and organic food options, has long been the place where cyclists hang out before a race. Feigenbaum, who went to IU, said he loves the positive impact cycling has had on his life and the lives of others.“I love cycling and I love Bloomington,” Feigenbaum said. “Bloomington loves cycling, so for me, it’s a great fit.”The event was advertised almost completely online, led by Bloomington Velo-News, the online blog of IU professor and cycling enthusiast Geraint Parry. Parry does public address announcing at many Little 500 events, including the recently finished Fall Cycling Series, but at this time of the year, Parry’s most important role is to get news out about cycling events.“Not only is he the voice of cycling,” Saccone said, “but he is also the great communicator.”Parry said the only real way that next year will be more challenging that the past year is that the more accomplished riders will need to learn to work together closely as a team. The riders and sponsors will await the spring season, when the revamped team gets the opportunity to prove itself during the next road racing season.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>It seems as if tight, intense swim meets are becoming the norm between Michigan and IU. As the Texas men easily defeated both IU and Michigan in Friday’s dual meet, the Hoosiers and Wolverines were in a battle that was decided during the final relay.Michigan’s two relays had to finish first and second to win the meet, while one of the IU teams had to win in order to claim a victory. In the final 25 yards, the Wolverines pulled just ahead of the Hoosiers to win the race. As IU finished second, the meet actually ended in a tie. “We always have a rivalry with Michigan, and we really wanted to beat them,” senior Titus Knight said. “But a tie is just as good because they’ve beaten us every year, and a lot of the guys really stepped up this week.”Sophomore Eric Ress, who was crowned Big Ten Swimmer of the Week two weeks ago, turned in another excellent performance, winning the 200-yard backstroke and finishing second in the 100-yard backstroke.Michigan didn’t return for the second day of competition, in which Texas and IU participated in a double-distance meet. The swimmers swam various lengths of races and then added them together to determine a winner.Looze said the events Saturday were actually a bit more competitive than those on Friday.“One thing we can take out of this meet is we can hang with these guys,” Knight said. “Because we did extremely well, we won a lot of close races and racing with people at that high level gives you confidence.”The next meet for the men is Nov. 19 at Charlottesville, Va. as they take on Virginia and Penn State. Prior to this, Looze wants the team to focus on fundamentals like starts, turns and streamlines. He also wants to improve how mentally prepared the team is during practices.“Hopefully we can get a higher level of dedication and focus,” Looze said. “Because that’s really what it takes to be the best you can be.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Last weekend, the women’s swim team fell to two ranked opponents — Texas and Michigan. As the men’s team prepares for the same two adversaries, this weekend’s double dual meet appears to be another competitive one. The Texas men are the defending NCAA champions, and the Michigan team finished second in the Big Ten Championships in February.“The Texas women and the Michigan women are both very strong opponents,” sophomore Eric Ress said. “But going up against the National Champions is a pretty big event.”Ress, who won Big Ten Swimmer of the Week two weeks ago for his excellence in meets against Northwestern and Kentucky, knows how much more difficult it will be to end the weekend in victory.“I’m pretty content with how I’ve done this year,” Ress said. “But I know that against these swimmers that we’re going to be facing on Friday and Saturday, that what we thought was fast against Northwestern and Kentucky is not going to be fast against these new teams.”Ress stressed that relays will prove very important, as they build momentum from race to race. Both the coaches and swimmers understand that success on relays, team depth and overall teamwork will help lead to success.“Our upperclassmen need to set the tone for our underclassmen and show them how to get the job done in tough situations,” IU assistant coach Mike Westphal said. “It’s a great meet to really simulate what Big Ten competition is going to be like."Michigan has won 17 consecutive dual meets since it lost to Texas in the 2008 double dual meet with the Longhorns and IU. The action begins at 3 p.m. Friday, and the final session begins at 10 a.m. Saturday.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>IU swimming coach Ray Looze and his staff schedule the hardest schedule possible in order to prepare the women of the swim team for big meets late in the season.On Friday and Saturday, the competition didn’t disappoint, as powerhouse Texas and Big Ten rival Michigan came to Councilman-Billingsley Aquatics Center and gave the Hoosiers all they could handle.“We’re not judged on our dual meet record, we’re judged on how we do in the Big Ten, how we do in the NCAA and how we hold up in competitions like that,” Looze said. “Our staff’s feeling is the only way to get prepared for that is to put your feet to the fire.”The Longhorns defeated both the Hoosiers and the Wolverines by wide margins, but the race between IU and Michigan was a tight one. After the first day of racing, Michigan had a slim lead over IU, and by the time the final relay came around, the roles had reversed. IU had a three-point lead going into the last relay, but the Wolverines took second in the relay while the Hoosiers took third, giving Michigan the close victory.“We have some of the best girls in the country on this team, and we don’t like to lose,” junior Alyssa Vavra said.Vavra, along with a few other Hoosier swimmers, had a very successful weekend in individual races. She won the 400-yard individual medley and the 200-yard breaststroke, finished second in the 200-yard backstroke and third in the 200-yard individual medley. Other winners included junior Brittany Strumbel, who won the 200-yard freestyle. Junior Gabriella Agostino won both the 1-meter and 3-meter diving competitions on Friday, greatly helping the Hoosiers get in position to defeat Michigan on the third day of competition, which proved to be the Hoosiers’ best day.“Sometimes a good kick in the butt early in the season can be the best thing for you as a team, and we got that,” Looze said, “but the most important thing is we finished well and we figured it out.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Last week, both the men and women’s swim teams soundly defeated Northwestern and Kentucky, having enough of a cushion to try some new things and put a few new swimmers in the pool.“We had some new anchors and some new people on relays, and it went pretty well,” junior Margaux Farrell said. “So I’m thinking this weekend, we have a good shot to do something.”Friday and Saturday, the women’s team takes on two talented teams in Michigan and Texas. Texas, who defeated IU last year, is coming off an enormous victory against California, a perennial power that won the NCAA Championship in 2009.“Cal is a national title contending team, so that means Texas is that good,” IU coach Ray Looze said. “We’ve got our work cut out for us. Cal doesn’t lose to many people.”Michigan is also one of the usual contenders for the Big Ten title, which the Hoosiers are steadfastly focused upon. These early season clashes of powerful teams help to prepare the teams for races later in the season that carry the most importance. “What really matters is what we do at the end of the season because that’s the only ranking that anyone ever remembers,” Looze said.Although there are a few teams that prepare specially for competitive meets against strong teams, the IU women don’t change their routine. They are practicing not just for Texas and Michigan, but for future meets as well.“We have bigger goals than just one dual meet in the scheme of things,” Farrell said. “We want to do well, but we want to do better at Big Ten’s and NCAA’s.The races take place at three times this weekend, with sessions at noon Friday, 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The wind blew, the sun shone and the occasional rain drop fell this weekend as Little 500 riders gathered alongside non-Little 500 riders on North Jordan Avenue and at Bill Armstrong Stadium to compete with each other.The Fall Cycling Series, a precursor to the Little 500, involved three events, more than 100 cyclists and more than a dozen wipeouts.The first of the events, the Street Sprints, was simply drag racing on bicycles for 200 meters. Heat after heat narrowed it to the final two riders, who raced to be named the fastest sprinter on campus. On Sunday, two more events took place: The brand-new Climb Trial, which started on Fee Lane and led into Bill Armstrong Stadium for two laps; and the Cyclocross, a team race that forced riders to jump over hay bales and climb stairs on their way to the finish line.FridayCaitlin Van Kooten, a cyclist on the Teter Cycling team, couldn’t make it to the Street Sprints on Friday, so teammate Lisa Hutcheson took her place. Just after 5 p.m., Hutcheson took first place. Hutcheson had taken part in the Fall Series events previously but had never participated in the Street Sprints before. She said she felt bad that she couldn’t share her victory with her teammate.“I wish she could have been here because she’s super fun,” Hutcheson said. “But I’m kind of happy I got to do it for the first time.”Hutcheson wasn’t the only rider whose first Street Sprints led to a victory. Kristopher Zee of Cru Cycling, who has never raced in the Fall Cycling Series, also won the event in his first outing.“It was certainly something that I was looking forward to — to spend some time with my team, Campus Crusade for Christ Cycling, and to catch up with some old friends on other teams,” Zee said. “I wasn’t looking to win necessarily, just looking to put down my best effort, have fun and enjoy the day.”SundayVan Kooten might have missed Friday’s events, but she absolutely showed up Sunday. She had the fastest time in the Climb Trial in the morning, followed by a victory in the Cyclocross alongside teammate Lauren Gowdy. The Delta Gamma team of Kelsey Phillips and Kelsey Kent jumped out to an early lead, but a chain break took them out of contention for most of the event. Both Gowdy and Van Kooten acknowledged that without that chain break, Kent and Powell probably would have finished first.The Teter Cycling team earned its third victory in as many events during the weekend.“In the Fall Series, it’s always good to know you still have it,” Van Kooten said. On the men’s side, the results were far more diverse. Rex Rafferty of the Black Key Bulls edged out independent rider Paul Levy in the morning Climb Trial; but in one of the more impressive performances of the day, the Gray Goat Cycling team of Ryan Kiel and RJ Half won the Cyclocross.Just hours earlier, perhaps around the time when Rafferty and Van Kooten were winning their respective Climb Trials, Kiel took part in a Cyclocross event in Kentucky. Half raced on Friday and put in a difficult workout on Saturday. Somehow, the two riders left their exhaustion at the door and beat the Cru team of Zee and Michael Waymire by a large margin.“I didn’t think the margin would have been as big,” Kiel said. “I thought we were going to have to claw at it a bit more, really fight for it and put a little bit more effort into the last laps.”On a day during which strong winds flung clouds of dust from the dry track into the eyes of the spectators, action and excitement were not in short supply. The P.A. system blasted Cyndi Lauper and sound bites from “Old School,” but they could have been playing Queen’s “Another One Bites the Dust,” as multiple riders wiped out amidst plumes of dirt. “It’s a certain rite of passage for a Little Five rider to get a cinder tattoo,” Wing It Cycling’s Abigail Legg said. “Once you get those, you’re in the club.”While this wasn’t quite Little 500, the main implication of this weekend’s races was probably summed up best by Gowdy and Van Kooten.“Look for us in the spring,” Gowdy said. “Teter’s coming,” Van Kooten added.
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>Just as the NIT lives in the shadow of the NCAA tournament, the Fall Cycling Series has always been dwarfed by the glamour of the Little 500 in the spring.Though that may not change dramatically any time soon, the IU Student Foundation is trying to make fall cycling a bit bigger.“I would say in the past, on a scale from one to 10 (in excitement), Little Five is probably about an 11,” said Little 500 race director Pam Loebig. “The fall series were maybe a three or a four, but we’re hoping to get the fall series up to an eight or a nine.”Three cycling events are to take place this weekend, all on or near campus. “A lot of teams don’t really focus on the Fall Series,” Riders Council member Chris West said. “They just do it for the fun of the event, although this year we did incorporate a new prize for the team that wins the fall cycling series.”The male and female teams that finish first have the luxury of choosing what time they get to run their qualifying races. In past years, all teams chose their times randomly.FridayThe spokes get spinning at 3 p.m. Friday on North Jordan Avenue with the Street Sprints. Four cyclists at a time sprint 200 meters to determine the fastest riders on campus. Senior Ryan Kiel, former IU Cycling Club president, said the sprints are an exciting event to attend.“You can really get up close to the racing action,” Kiel said. “You’re not standing behind the fence. You’re right up there against the road and can practically touch the guys who are riding by.”The Street Sprints are set up bracket-style, in which the fastest rider from each heat moves on until the fastest male and female are crowned. Therefore, there are many races in the course of the three hours. “You get to watch a very close finish not once, but 20 or 50 times in one day depending how long you stay out there,” Kiel said.SundayTwo days later, the races move to Bill Armstrong Stadium.The first event Sunday is the brand-new Climb Trial, which begins at 9 a.m. Though there have been time trials in past years, this one is a bit different. It starts on Fee Lane at the base of the path leading up to the stadium (the climb), and it continues onto the track, where the racers take two laps. “The fall is where we have time to switch it up, try something new or offer different events to the riders,” Loebig said.When the Climb Trial ends at about 1 p.m., community members, as well as faculty, are invited to take part in a community race for the second year. The Riders Council members take anyone interested down onto the track and teach them how to ride Little 500 bikes and how to race safely on the track. Afterward, these rookie riders will race in their own five-lap races. The final event is perhaps the most different: the Cylcocross. Often referred to as an obstacle course on a bicycle, riders (in teams of two) race around the track, leaping over hay bales, climbing up stairs and making tricky exchanges with their teammates. It begins at 3:30 p.m. for women and 4:30 p.m. for men. Loebig hopes the Fall Cycling Series will help to encourage a year-round interest in cycling.“It’s fun, and it gives us a chance to involve the riders in the fall so we can keep the excitement up in the fall semester,” Loebig said. “It also gives us a chance to recruit new riders. If people see these events going on, they may get interested or think it’s exciting and want to try it out and see what it’s like to ride in Little Five.”
____simple_html_dom__voku__html_wrapper____>The Fall Cycling Series allows Little 500 hopefuls to hone their cycling skills before teams formed for race day. “Fall cycling shows who’s been training hard during the summer,” IU Cycling Team coach Geraint Parry said. “A lot of people who do well in Little Five don’t start riding until this time of year, so they’re not very fast at the moment ... It’s almost a better judge of who’s a better cyclist rather than who’s a better Little 500 rider.”The series has three events on Oct. 22 and Oct. 24.The Street Sprints, which take place on Oct. 22, are simply fast 200-meter races to determine the fastest riders.The Climb Trial, which is on Oct. 24 at Bill Armstrong Stadium, is simply a two-lap trial run. On the same day is the Cyclocross. It is a two-person relay race with stairs, bales of hay and other obstacles.“I think the fall series are there to continue the excitement year-round,” senior and Little 500 rider Eric Young said. “If you’re into Little Five and you know about the teams, it’s really fun.”Young is also a member of the IU Cycling Team, which won fifth place at the National Cycling Championship in Indianapolis on Sept. 25.After three days of competition, the IU team had a slight lead over Colorado State University for fifth place at the Championship. Fifth place would earn a medal; sixth place would not.But as Young won the final sprint, he ensured the Hoosiers the coveted fifth place medals. For the first time since 2004, IU had sent a team to compete in the National Championship and it paid off. Not only did Young help the team take home some hardware, but he also won the men’s points race, beating out some of the best cyclists in the country. “Apart from (Young), the riders did enough of a good job to put us in contention for fifth overall,” Parry said. “We were able to compete in enough events to score points, but with more riders and more experience, we could have done better in those events and scored points in more events.” Although Young was the only rider with “substantial” track racing experience, the team of eight — four women and four men — exceeded expectations. Graduate student Kristen Metherd (who finished 19th overall in the women’s individual event) said she enjoyed blending multiple teams of Little 500 racers.“It was fun to put Little Five differences aside,” Metherd said.
As a senior, IU student Dave Leno is already preparing for his Big Ten Network television broadcasting debut set for this weekend.