Westminster Cycling Team
Westminster’s athletic department spearheads a new cycling program
by Rachel Terran (’18)
Westminster College is situated within 30 minutes of vast and intricate trail systems, a high-desert paradise for road cyclists and mountain bikers. Because of the prime geographic location, current student interest, and growth of competitive cycling at the high-school level, the college’s athletic department has initiated an official Westminster cycling team.
Coach MJ Turner, founder of Summit Bike Club, leads the cycling team. MJ worked closely with Westminster’s athletic director, Shay Wyatt, to build a solid foundation to grow the new program. The program began with a soft start in spring 2017, but has come to fruition this fall.
In addition to current Westminster student interest, cycling teams are becoming increasingly popular among prospective students who follow USA collegiate cycling. The Westminster team is affiliated with USA Cycling, and student athletes compete in the Intermountain Collegiate Cycling Conference.
“Really positive things are happening with USA cycling,” Shay says. “And we are really encouraged by it.”
Westminster’s athletic department prepares cyclists for two main seasons: mountain biking is in the fall, while road biking takes place in the spring.
Students on the cycling team train at least twice a week for races, and no team tryouts are required. At each race, students are placed in category A, B, or C, which reflects their skill level, A being the most experienced.
The program creates opportunities for students to thrive in and out of the classroom. “The cycling team is one more program that complements what the institution does,” Shay says.
A number of athletic programs at Westminster began as clubs, and the cycling team fits in that category. Typically, programs that start as clubs have long-term sustainability because of the already existing support structure.
“Putting the foundation in place is the most difficult aspect of a start-up program, but usually things start to flow once we have a blueprint,” Shay says.
The cycling team is part of the non-NCAA sports initiative, which aims to offer students an array of options to participate in extracurricular sports. Coach Turner vetted the program for current and prospective students who want to compete at a collegiate level.
“We are really excited to create more opportunities for students at the college to participate in sports they are passionate about. So far, the response to the cycling team has been really positive,” MJ says.
About the Westminster Review
The Westminster Review is Westminster University’s bi-annual alumni magazine that is distributed to alumni and community members. Each issue aims to keep alumni updated on campus current events and highlights the accomplishments of current students, professors, and Westminster alum.