South Bend — With 10 minutes remaining, Pat Handy (senior) and Tony Pratt (high school) held a fragile 20 second lead over the rest of the team. Never satisfied with 3rd place, John Pratt (sophomore) took off in pursuit of his brother, and gold teammate, and soon joined the leaders. Not far behind were Luke Tilmans (junior), Jim Snitzer (sophomore), and Joe Magro (senior) and this group of six quickly pulled over a minute clear to settle the race among themselves. Coming onto the backstretch with two laps to go, Snitzer, one of the strongest time trialists on the team, played his card for solo glory, but reaction from the remaining breakaway riders was swift. First making contact with, then launching himself up the road, J. Pratt entered the final lap seconds ahead of a charging Tilmans and recovering Snitzer. Following Tilmans across to Pratt, Snitzer pulled wide down the backstretch, separating briefly, but was again countered by Pratt. 100 meters from the line Tilmans drew even with the sophomore but was unable to close the final few inches, coming second to Pratt by half a wheel.
The third annual Blue Gold Race was held under a clear, blue, sky with a touch of Fall in the breeze. Over 20 athletes were at the start line, with many Freshman and first year Graduate students making their ND Cycling Debut. After an opening lap to preview the course, the flag dropped on ND’s 2012/2013 season and Andrew O’Donnell (phd), Brian Hurley (senior), Ryan Twardzik (freshman) and August Kunkel (junior) didn’t wait long to launch some early fliers. Rob Piscatelli (senior) even spent a lap off the front, but all were together nearly halfway through the 40 minute race. In the first serious attack of the day, Magro and Anthony Musso (freshman) pulled clear coming through the third turn and, 3 laps later, were joined by T. Pratt and Handy. Falling back to the field, Magro and Musso were overtaken by J Pratt as he bridged to the field, ultimately setting the stage for his victory. By a final tally, Gold team took the afternoon team prize by a close margin over Green, while Blue lagged behind.
It is clear ND’s sophomore class is already poised for an explosive spring road season, and some strong performances from new women Paige Handy (freshman), Emmy Kunce (freshman), and German Claudi Witzig (grad) have added a new dimension to an already dominant Midwestern power.