Week 1 2012 Recap: Lindsey Wilson

Columbia, KY–John Pratt announced his arrival to the collegiate ranks with a pair of dominating performances to highlight Notre Dame’s first weekend of the MWCCC road season. On Saturday, a devastating attack 30 miles into the Men’s B road race saw the freshman Pratt launch clear of the field with Kevin Henschel of Ohio State in tow. As veterans Andrew O’Donnell and Nathaniel Lee of Notre Dame disrupted any pursuit, Pratt and Henschel quickly opened a gap in excess of two minutes setting the stage for a final battle on the mile climb to the finish. Pratt made the first attack on the lower slopes, but Henschel was able to match his accelerations. With the gradient in excess of 15%, Henschel made the race winning move, but Pratt’s 2nd place set the scene for a near perfect performance in Sunday’s criterium. Back in the field, the climber Lee set a blistering tempo up to the line and came across 7th, with O’Donnell completing the ND triple-top-ten with his 9th on the day.

Motivated by his near win Saturday, Pratt entered Sunday’s criterium with eyes set on victory. Timothy Nixon of Indiana opened the day’s attacking with a solo move from the gun and was quickly 30 seconds clear of the field. Displaying textbook team tactics, O’Donnell jumped clear of the field after Nixon to set up Pratt’s race winning maneuver. Pratt moved into position as the peloton accelerated in pursuit, and when O’Donnell was caught Pratt sprinted away. Only one Ohio State rider was able to follow Pratt’s aggression, and twenty minutes later the two were in contact with Nixon. The three then worked together and lapped the entire field with ten minutes remaining in the race. O’Donnell kept the speed high in the closing laps, winning a prime in the process, and on the final turn Pratt moved into position at the front of the peloton. With 50m to go, Pratt let out a roar and tore free of the group, winning both the field sprint and race comfortably at the line by a bike length. All eyes will be on this promising freshman as he moves deeper into his Notre Dame career.

Also making their ND debut in the men’s C category were Michael Chifala, Jim Snitzer, Luke Tilmans, David Pratt, and August Kunkel. Partnered with junior Brian Hurley, this group proved a formidable team throughout the weekend. Putting up impressive watt numbers all winter, eyes were on Snitzer in the road race and he delivered with a 4th place finish in his first mass start event. What ND lacked in experience was more than accounted for with winter fitness on a tough course as Tilmans (6th) and Hurley (9th) rounded out another ND triple-top-10. Chifala put in solid ride to cross home in 17th and crit specialist D Pratt got through the hilly race in 20th. Sundays criterium was full of growing pains for a young ND team as most riders got their feet wet in their first ever crit. Chifala focused on scoring important conference points in Primes and was rewarded with top 3’s in two of the mid race sprints. Hurley carried the team in likely his last race before upgrading to B with a 6th place result for the afternoon. Also notable in C was the performance of Snitzer, who was pressed into duty in the B team time trial team. This group finished 2nd on Saturday morning, with the C team also repeating this result.

Racing in the largest field of the weekend, Pat Handy and Phil Palmon also made their collegiate debut in Columbia in the Men’s D category. Handy placed 12th in both the RR and the criterium and was a player in the crit until late in the race, although he won a prime for his early race efforts. Also making her Notre Dame debut Saturday was Carolyn McCann, a former luge athlete making the transition to cycling. Learning race strategy throughout the weekend, McCann showed promise as the last woman out of the lead pack in a competitive women’s B/C criterium.

With new faces painting a bright picture for Notre Dame in 2012, defending MWCCC conference champion Joe Magro looked to carry the team’s success into Men’s A events. With the support of Brian Boyle and Douglas Ansel, Magro entered Saturday’s 75 mile road race hungry to repeat a top 10 performance the year before.  A ferocious first 15 miles ended with Isaiah Newkirk (Marian) launching the decisive breakaway. He was joined quickly by Joey Iuliano (Purdue), Alder Martz (Marian), Nicholas Grigsby (Lindsey Wilson), and a Lindenwood rider. Ansel attempted to bridge, and when caught Magro sprinted out of the field, crossing to the break quickly. Though numerous riders continued to attack behind in an attempt to bridge the gap, no decisive move went until Alex Wieseler and Weston Luzadder (both Marian) exploded the chasing pack on the final climb to the finish with Alex Meyer (UW-Madison) for company. With Marian riders at the front stalling the leader’s progress,  the three joined the lead group by mile 40, which then became nine. 50 miles into the race, on the second trip over the finishing climb, five riders – Wieseler, Luzadder, Magro, Meyer, and Nicholas Grigsby (Lindsey Wilson) – surged free of the breakaway. In little over five miles their gap was over two minutes, and hostilities were saved for the final 5 kilometers of the race. Meyer attacked halfway up the climb and came across the line first with Magro notching a 5th place and taking a commanding lead in the DII conference standings.

After over 65 miles of breakaway riding Saturday, Magro entered Sunday’s criterium content to stay out of trouble and test his legs against an aggressive field. Of the 60 starters, half were eliminated from the race by the half hour mark, while Magro sat comfortably in the peloton. With an 19th place result on the day, Magro extended his DII conference lead and scored more nationals qualifying points for Notre Dame. Ansel also finished the race in 31st position. Pleased with the result, Magro left the weekend ranked 1st in DII and is currently 9th in the conference at large. As a team, in DII ND has an enormous lead over Illinois Tech, and is ranked 6th overall in the conference. Next race for the Irish will be the weekend of March 17th with half the team heading to Lindenwood, Missouri and the others splitting to Philadelphia for an ECCC race.

Men’s A (55 starters)

Team Time Trial– 8th

 Road Race

5- Joe Magro (Junior)


19- Magro

31- Ansel


Men’s B (22 starters)

TTT– 2nd


2- John Pratt (freshman)

7 -Nate Lee (senior)

9- Andrew O’Donnell (graduate)


1- J Pratt

11- Lee

12- O’Donnell

Prime 1: J Pratt 3rd

Prime 2: J Pratt 2nd

Prime 3: J Pratt 3rd

Prime 4: O’Donnell 1st


Men’s C (60 starters)

TTT– 2nd


4- Jim Snitzer (freshman)

6- Luke Tilmans (sophomore)

9- Brian Hurley (junior)

17- Michael Chifala (freshman)

20- David Pratt (junior)


5- Hurley

15- D Pratt

19- Snitzer

25- Chifala,

pack- Tilmans

Prime 1: Hurley 3rd, Chifala 4th

Prime 2: Chifala 2nd


Men’s D (70 starters)


12-Patrick Handy

35- Phil Palmon


12-Patrick Handy

Prime 1: Handy 1st

Prime 2: Palmon 4th


Women’s B/C


25- Carolyn McCann (junior)


23- McCann