Lehigh Valley cyclists continue tradition of excellence at nationals

September 29, 2015

CENTER VALLEY, Pa. — Three Penn State Lehigh Valley cyclists recently competed at the USA Cycling Collegiate Track National Championships, held Sept. 17-19 in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

With more than 50 competitors in each event, the Penn State Lehigh Valley team stood out and won big. Penn State Lehigh Valley freshman McKenzie Browne, of Coopersburg, made her first collegiate appearance in Colorado. She impressively qualified with the fastest time and advanced through the sprint rounds, becoming the women's collegiate sprint national champion.

Browne said she loved being able to spend the week competing with her teammates, as well as having the opportunity to meet cyclists from other schools. To her, winning a national title was just icing on top of the cake.

"I had no expectations going into the competition because I didn't know any of the girls I was racing against, but after I qualified in first I had a lot of confidence going into the sprint rounds, which ultimately led to a gold medal and my first national champion jersey."

James Mellen, of Schnecksville, a Penn State Lehigh Valley sophomore, earned the silver medal in two photo-finish rides in the best-of-three-races men's sprints.

“Collegiate track nationals was a truly unique experience,” said Mellen. “It was great to compete alongside other student athletes who balance rigorous coursework along with the intense training that track cycling requires.” 

Penn State Lehigh Valley freshman Nikesh Patel, also of Coopersburg, had a strong showing at the championships and contributed to the team’s overall team points. The points the three teammates acquired during the competition secured their fourth-place finish in the Division II team standings out of 11 schools.

Mandy Marquardt, cycling coach at Penn State Lehigh Valley, was very proud of her cyclists’ teamwork.

“They're full-time students and cyclists, and work really hard on and off the bike," she said. "Collegiate nationals was a great experience for each of them, and I'm really proud of the overall team's performance. We are one small but mighty team!”

Last Updated September 30, 2015