Youngsters take elite US ‘cross titles, Compton’s streak ends

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Youth was served at US cyclocross nationals this weekend, with up-and-comers powering to elite titles in both the men’s and women’s races on Sunday in Lakewood, Washington.

Clara Honsinger (S&M CX) won the women’s title, marking the end of the 15-year reign of Katie Compton (KFC) as national champ.

Clara Honsinger at US cyclocross nationals. Photo: Dejan Smaic

Honsinger and Rebecca Fahringer (Kona-Maxxis-Shimano) pulled away from the field in the second lap of the race, and then Honsinger soloed clear. The 22-year-old took the win by 29 seconds with Fahringer nabbing runner-up honors. Compton, who had won the last 15 straight national titles, took third.

“It’s just a progression of cyclocross,” Honsinger said. “It’s not a changing of the guards or anything, we’re all still out here racing, it’s just a little switch from what it’s been for the past few years.”

Gage Hecht (Donnelly-Aevolo), making his second start in the elite men’s ranks at just 21 years old, topped the Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld duo of Curtis White and defending champion Stephen Hyde to take the win.

Hecht and Kerry Werner (Kona-Maxxis-Shimano) got clear early in the race and rode together until an unusual incident that left Werner fighting to make up ground. Hecht, taking a corner too wide, crashed through tape on the side of the course and then dragged some of it with him as he pushed back onto the course. Hecht stayed upright, but as Werner caught up he got tangled in the tape and crashed.

Werner remounted but would not regain the ground he lost, and he was then passed by White and Hyde, but no one could close down the gap to Hecht, who held off the chase to win by 17 seconds. The victory marks the first elite national title for Hecht, who has won multiple junior and under-23 national titles in both road and ‘cross in his young career.

“This is something that I’ve dreamed about since I was 10 years old,” Hecht said. “Racing here, it’s truly amazing, it’s really exciting.”

Women’s top 10

1 Clara Honsinger (Team S&M CX) 0:50:16
2 Rebecca Fahringer (Kona-Maxxis-Shimano) 0:00:29
3 Katherine Compton (KFC Racing-Trek-Knight) 0:01:20
4 Courtenay McFadden (Pivot-Maxxis-Stans NoTubes) 0:02:05
5 Kaitlin Keough (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) 0:03:10
6 Sunny Gilbert (Pactimo-Colorado Proud) 0:04:16
7 Samantha Runnels (Squid) 0:04:22
8 Caroline Nolan (Voler-Easton-HRS-Rock Lobster) 0:04:30
9 Amanda Nauman (SDG-Muscle Monster) 0:04:32
10 Caitlin Bernstein (Easton-Velocio-McGovern Cycles) 0:04:39

Men’s top 10

1 Gage Hecht (Donnelly-Aevolo) 1:00:32
2 Curtis White (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) 0:00:17
3 Stephen Hyde (Cannondale-Cyclocrossworld) 0:00:23
4 Kerry Werner Jr (Kona-Maxxis-Shimano) 0:01:27
5 Lance Haidet (Donnelly-Aevolo) 0:01:40
6 Andrew Dillman (SDG-Muscle Monster) 0:01:49
7 Logan Owen (EF Education First) 0:02:03
8 Grant Ellwood (Pivot Maxxis-Stans NoTubes) 0:02:09
9 James Driscoll (Mavic-DNA Cycling) 0:02:20
10 Maxx Chance (Blue Stages Racing) 0:02:33

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