12 Champions Crowned On The First Day Of The US Paralympic Track Cycling National Championships

By Kendra Hansey | Dec. 03, 2017, 1:46 a.m. (ET)

  • World record-holder Shawn Morelli claimed the pursuit title [for the third time] at the 2017 U.S. Paralympics Track Cycling National Championships.
  • Chris Murphy crowned pursuit champion for the third nationals in a row.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Shawn Morelli (Saegertown, Pennsylvania) defended her C4 individual pursuit title for the third U.S. Paralympics Track Cycling National Championships in a row. Morelli is  the current world champion in this event, having won the title earlier in 2017 for the second year in a row.

Also, successful in defending their national title was Chris Murphy (Rancho Cucamonga, California). In a head-to-head race, the biggest time lead Murphy had was less than half of a second. After the 3,000-meter split, Murphy fell behind by about three-tenths of a second then finally inched ahead lap by lap with three laps to go to edge himself into first place with a lead a little over six seconds.

Jacob Waters (Ragley, Louisiana), the youngest cyclist in the field, donned the coveted stars and stripes jersey for the first time, winning his first national Para-cycling title in the C4 class. The 17-year-old previously finished in fifth place at the last national championships in 2015.

Billy Lister (Cold Spring Harbor, New York) improved his C2 silver-medal finish at the 2015 national championships to a first-place finish in the C1 individual pursuit event. Lister was within one second of his personal best.

The national championships conclude tomorrow with 500-meter time trial, kilo time trial and scratch race.

Shawn Morelli in women's C4 pursuit - 4:03.694
Chris Murphy in men's C5 pursuit - 4:50.855
Jacob Waters in men's C4 pursuit - 4:50.132
Billy Lister in men's C1 pursuit - 4:05.002
Sean Culp (Los Angeles, California) in men’s C2 pursuit - 4:02.453
Joe Berenyi (Aurora, Illinois) in men’s C3 pursuit and team sprint
Jason Kimball (Charlotte, N.C.) in men’s team sprint - 1:08.716
Justin Widhalm (Colorado Springs, Colorado) in men’s team sprint -1:08.716
Chester Triplett/Stephen Pedone (Mooresville, North Carolina) in men’s B individual pursuit - 4:40.541
Shawn Cheshire/Tela Crane (Camillus, New York) in women’s B individual pursuit - 3:45.403

Shawn Morelli
“It felt really good. Right now, we’re still working on my pacing and moving to a different gear so I’m kind of in between gears. It takes a lot to be able to ride proficiently when you make those kinds of changes. Simon and I have been really working on things like cadence and my start. It feels really good to just be able to ride the second ride and have it consistent. I’m getting more consistent every time I get on the track. We’re where we planned to be at this time of year.”

Chris Murphy
“I went out too hard in the qualifying round so I was just trying to be more controlled in the final round. About halfway through the race, my coach that was giving me splits was walking the line so he was basically giving me information on how even we were or how far ahead [either of us were]. I was using that information to keep even and I knew that I have some fast-twitch muscle that I can count on at the end so with 500 meters to go I just turned it on and went to work.”

Jacob Waters
“In 2016, my first national title ever was actually in an able-bodied junior race on the track which was the pursuit so I got to carry that momentum here and get my first Para-track national title. It feels complete now that I was on the top at the national level in Para as well as at one point in able bodied. Now I feel I’m able to move onto the next level.”

“This win prepares me [for the next level] because I was able to focus on my race strategy and the week leading up for a race so for trials and worlds, I should be ready.”

Billy Lister
“I was able to be only about a half a second off my personal best that I set at world championships in Los Angeles at my peak form and performance. Coming in this early in the season and being so close to where I left off last year is really exciting. It gives me a lot of potential for setting myself up for a good year.”

Full results from the U.S. Paralympic Track Cycling National Championships can be found here.