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Rock Hill Is Medal Central Again As U.S. BMX Riders Win 3-Of-6 In World Cup Races

By Paul D. Bowker | Sept. 14, 2019, 12:03 a.m. (ET)

Connor Fields competes at the Olympic Games Rio 2016 on Aug. 18, 2016 in Rio de Janeiro.


The BMX track in Rock Hill, South Carolina, is turning into quite the home track for U.S. riders.

Corben Sharrah and Connor Fields, both 2016 U.S. Olympians, finished one-two in Friday’s UCI BMX Supercross World Cup stop there, and recently crowned world champion Alise Willoughby finished third in the women’s final. Meanwhile Felicia Stancil, who is ranked fifth in the world cup standings, missed out on a podium in the women’s race by just one spot, finishing fourth.

Sharrah’s win came on the same track where both he and Willoughby won their first world titles in 2017.

“I just love racing here in Rock Hill,” Sharrah said.

Just as he did in the quarterfinal and semifinal rounds, Sharrah took the lead at the beginning of the men’s final and never gave it up. Both he and Fields dominated the field of eight in the final race, with Sharrah finishing in 32.825 seconds and Fields in 33.328 seconds. The next best finisher was Australia's Izaac Kennedy at 33.529 seconds.

At the Olympic Games Rio 2016, Fields won the gold medal while Sharrah finished ninth.

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Willoughby, who held off Laura Smulders of the Netherlands in the women’s final of the world championships in July, battled Smulders again on Friday in both the semifinals and finals.

Their first duel came in the semifinal round, when Smulders topped Willoughby in their first meeting since the world championship. Smulders then led from start to finish in the final, crossing the line at 33.571 seconds and retaining her top spot in the world cup standings, while Willoughby is second.

In the final stretch of the final, Willoughby overtook Stancil for third place and a spot on the podium in 34.232 seconds. Natalia Afremova of Russia finished second in 33.975 seconds. Two-time U.S. Olympian Brooke Crain also made the final, finishing sixth.

Willoughby has now medaled in five of seven world cup races this year, though she’s still seeking her first win on the circuit. She’ll have another chance right away on Saturday, when the eighth round of the 10-event world cup season continues in Rock Hill. The final two rounds are Sept. 28 and 29 in Santiago del Estero, Argentina.

Paul D. Bowker has been writing about Olympic sports since 1996, when he was an assistant bureau chief in Atlanta. He is a freelance contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.


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Connor Fields

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Corben Sharrah