BRISTOL, Tenn. – A new era begins in the young King University cycling program as Alan Sparks takes over for Dan Kreiss as head coach. Kreiss, the only coach in the five year history of the program, led the Tornado to Southeastern Collegiate Cycling Conference road championships each of the last two years. In the past, King's main season has been the road season in the spring, but in 2014-15, the Tornado will race full mountain biking and cyclo-cross schedules throughout the fall and winter.
Last year, King turned in their best finish at USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals, taking fourth at the event. Jennifer Caicedo paced the Tornado at the event, taking second in the criterium, to lead King to the fourth place finish. Earlier in the year, newcomers Kaysee Armstrong and Drew Bailey led the Tornado during the mountain and cyclo-cross seasons. Armstrong took second at mountain biking nationals before taking sixth and leading King to fourth at cyclo-cross nationals.
That trio along with seniors Alex Jensen, Blake Adams and Zack Maness will lead the Tornado in 2014-15. Jensen finished in the top-10 of the men's A criterium at USA Cycling Road Nationals while Adams and Maness helped King to their best finish of fourth at the event.
On the women's side, Caicedo and Armstrong will lead a talented group of riders. Caicedo was the women's A SECCC criterium champion before taking second at USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals. Armstrong on the other hand, had stellar mountain and cyclo-cross seasons. In the fall, she won a pair of races and took third at the SECCC championships, and second at mountain biking nationals. She carried that over to the cyclo-cross season, again taking a runner-up finish at the national meet after finishing sixth at the SECCC championships.
This solid returning group will be joined by a talented group of newcomers, including transfers Cory Rimmer, William Mehta and Alyssa Walsh from Virginia Intermont College. Freshmen William Guillen and Taylor White join this group that will help Sparks in his first year at the helm.
The Tornado open the 2014 mountain biking season on August 30 at the Brevard College race in Brevard, North Carolina. A week later, King will race close to home at East Tennessee State University. Mountain biking nationals are scheduled for October 24-26 at Beech Mountain in North Carolina before the cyclo-cross season starts. King hosts a cyclo-cross race on November 22 before SECCC cyclo-cross championships on December 6 in Clemson, South Carolina.