Louisville, Ky— John Francisco became the first ever rider to qualify for Road Collegiate Nationals from the University of Louisville. Francisco’s 20th and 25th place finishes in the Division I Criterium and Road Race events accentuate the Student Cycling Coalition’s best collegiate season to date.
Collegiate road nationals in Asheville, NC saw a star studded field replete with professional development riders tackle hilly courses and heat in both the criterium and the road race. After finishing 20th in the criterium in a field of 125 and 25th in the road race field of 155, Francisco noted the difference between collegiate racing in general and local elite racing in Louisville. “Collegiate racing has different dynamics… The racing is much more aggressive and the pace is really fast. It’s a whole different set of tactics to master and a higher level of fitness is required.” Francisco was the only Men’s A road rider for the SCC in 2015.
Francisco’s successful preparation for nationals is credited to the quality of the conference. The Mid West Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC) made its presence felt all weekend and came away with excellent results. Riders from the conference earned 20, top ten finishes throughout all the men’s and women’s events. The conference earned four individual national championships, and saw Lindenwood University (Mo.) earn 3rd overall while Marian University (Ind.) secured the national championship.
In only its second year of competition, the SCC closed competition in the MWCCC in 6th place in Division I, 8th overall in the 34-team conference. The finish marks a nine spot improvement from the SCC’s inaugural season in 2014, 15th in DI. Apart from racing at the highest levels of collegiate cycling, Francisco is a leader in the organization that prides itself on developing riders and encouraging a healthy lifestyle. “It’s been really neat for me to be able to help new people along, and I take a lot of my motivation from seeing my teammates learn and succeed, like when Rikus [Van Zyl] won Long Run or watching Jake [Moore] rail a downhill corner or seeing Audrey [Duke]’s first race. You reach a point where it’s not just about what you can do, but what you can do for the team and then what the team as a whole is able to achieve.”
The SCC is now in full preparations for the collegiate triathlon season in the summer and fall, as well as the fall mountain bike season.