Cap­ping off a mem­o­rable season, Northeastern’s University’s cycling club team sent five participants—its largest con­tin­gent ever—to last weekend’s USA Cycling Col­le­giate Moun­tain Bike National Cham­pi­onships in North Carolina.

Stefan Gottschalk, Ken­neth McNeill, Peter McNulty, Ford Murphy, and Lisa Thompson donned the university’s tra­di­tional reds and blacks for the national cham­pi­onship, which rep­re­sented the final com­pe­ti­tion of the cycling team’s moun­tain bike season that began in September.

It was a lot of fun,” club pres­i­dent Eric Pan­icucci said of the fall season. “Gen­er­ally, we are one of the more com­pet­i­tive teams in the conference.”

North­eastern is a member of the Eastern Col­le­giate Cycling Con­fer­ence, which com­prises more than 70 col­leges in regional states as far-​​flung as Maine and Penn­syl­vania. Not only did North­eastern finish second in the con­fer­ence in the reg­ular season, but McNeill, a second-​​year stu­dent, earned the conference’s omnium cham­pi­onship by scoring the most points com­bined across all four race for­mats— cross-​​country, short-​​track cross country, down­hill, and dual slalom.

One of the ECCC’s perks, Pan­icucci explained, is that it fea­tures races for every level of rider. Thompson joined the team in 2009 as an entry-​​level road racer and now com­petes in the moun­tain bike national cham­pi­onship. “How awe­some is that,” Pan­icucci said.

The Northeastern mountain biking team consists of about 30 bicyclists, five of whom participated in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference championships.

The North­eastern moun­tain biking team con­sists of about 30 bicy­clists, five of whom par­tic­i­pated in the USA Cycling Col­le­giate Moun­tain Bike National Cham­pi­onships in North Carolina.

At nationals, Northeastern’s five par­tic­i­pants fin­ished in the middle of the pack of their respec­tive cross-​​country, short track, and down­hill races, all of which fea­tured between 40 and 85 competitors.

The moun­tain biking team com­prises about 30 active riders, all of whom are encour­aged to race to the best of their ability. “We expect you to come and race with us to help ele­vate the level of com­pe­ti­tion for everyone on the team,” Pan­icucci said.

The cycling team is also a tight-​​knit group. According to Pan­icucci, the more expe­ri­enced riders rise early to cheer on the novices, who typ­i­cally com­pete in the morning. Since the club does not have a head coach or staff to handle logis­tics, the sea­soned bikers often serve as club offi­cers. “By plan­ning your own season, you def­i­nitely get that per­sonal touch,” Pan­icucci noted.

Cycling is one of 42 club sports at North­eastern. Last year, 21 North­eastern club sports teams com­peted in their respec­tive national championships.