University of Notre Dame Cycling: Road Preview 2011

2010 Season: MWCCC Team Ranking – 10th (3rd D2)

Key Losses: Josh Johnson

Returning Riders: Douglas Ansel (G), Joe Magro (SO), Brian Boyle (G), Matt Prygoski (G), Brendan Kiefer (S), Jenn Perricone (S), Ethan Ferguson (J), Nathaniel Lee (J)

Newcomers: Michael Tonzi (SO), Josh Corcoran (F), Rob Piscatelli (SO), Brian Hurley (SO), Andrew O’Donnell (G), Enrique Gorbea (SO), José Lugo (G), Julie Hamilton (J), Olivia Kilian (J) , Isaac Harrington (SO) , Alejandro de la Puente (G)

G-Graduate, SO– Sophomore, S– Senior, J-Junior, F- Freshman


February 26/27         Lindsey Wilson (KY)

March 5/6                 Ohio State

March 26/27             Notre Dame

April 2/3                   Marian & Purdue

April 9/10                 Michigan & Michigan State

April 16/17               MWCCC Regionals at Lindenwood (MO)

May 6-8                   USA Collegiate Nationals at Madison, WI

Season Outlook

A strong and experienced core of returning riders, with the addition of some talented rookies, have the Fighting Irish aiming high heading into the 2011 road season.  Key to the team’s success will be the progression of newcomers throughout the spring. If this fresh influx of talent performs up to their capability, Notre Dame should be considered one of the favorites to take the MWCCC D2 conference championship and land a berth at the Collegiate Cycling National Championships in early May.

Category by Category Analysis

Men’s A: One of Notre Dame’s largest squads in years, the Men’s A team will look to prove itself among the MWCCC elite early in the season. 2010 National Championship qualifiers Ansel and Magro (36th) return, along with veteran Matt Prygoski.  Winner of ND’s offseason training challenge award, Ansel enters 2011as a dark horse for individual post season MWCCC conference honors.  Coming off a recent stint with Teach for America, Brian Boyle will be the team’s wildcard as he tries to reclaim the form that made him an undergraduate power at Colorado College.  Kiefer makes the jump to A after a strong conclusion to the 2010 season.

Women’s A: Again carrying the banner for the Fighting Irish women is senior Jenn Perricone. Always a contender in the MWCCC, Perricone has aspirations of an individual conference title as well as a strong showing at the national championships. The team’s highest point scorer, Perricone’s success throughout the season will be a good indicator of Notre Dame’s team conference title aspirations.

Men’s B: Slimmed due to graduation, upgrades, and travel, Notre Dame’s Men’s B team will be small, but competitive, in 2011. Ferguson is the centerpiece of this category and should score consistent points throughout the year. Junior Nathaniel Lee will represent the Fighting Irish on the East coast as his studies bring him to the Washington DC area. Expected upgrades from Men’s C will reinforce this category mid season.

Men’s C: The key category for Notre Dame this year, the inexperienced Men’s C team has huge potential going into 2011. With strong showings during the offseason, Michael Tonzi and Josh Corcoran should be on the MWCCC radar as early as Week 1. Hailing from the hills of the Finger Lakes region of Central New York, Tonzi is a strong climber who should factor into each road race. Corcoran possesses a dangerous sprint and his top end power should have him in the mix for criterium victory every weekend. Brian Hurley, a transfer from the University of Scranton, adds further depth for sprints while Andrew O’Donnell will serve as the team’s road captain during races. Looking to translate his considerable skills from the trails to the road, mountain biker José Lugo will excel whenever the road begins to climb. Rob Piscatelli brings invaluable experience to this group and will also be critical to the squad’s team time trial success.

Women’s C: Both from neighboring Saint Mary’s college, Julie Hamilton and Olivia Kilian bring needed depth to Notre Dame’s women’s team. Kilian has raced before and should return to the Irish in good form after the conclusion of the collegiate downhill ski season. New to the sport, Hamilton has brought a tremendous work ethic to the team and should race well throughout her rookie year.

Men’s D: All boasting athletic backgrounds, Enrique Gorbea, Alejandro de la Puente, and Isaac Harrington round out Notre Dame’s road team. Trading soccer cleats for clipless pedals, Gorbea made great strides at practice throughout the fall. A multi-sport athlete, Harrington will make his cycling debut Week 2 at Ohio State while de la Puente will begin his competitive cycling career at Notre Dame’s home race weekend March 26/27.