Six riders with a combined seven podium finishes at the recent USA Cycling Collegiate Road Nationals make up the Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars team for this month’s Nature Valley Grand Prix.
Elle Anderson (Dartmouth College) and Kimberley Turner (Seattle Pacific University) are repeat selections to the team while Robin Bauer (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Missy Erickson (Fort Lewis College), Holly Mathews (University of Wisconsin-Madison) and Laura Ralston (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) are first-time selections.
The six will wear their school jerseys during the Nature Valley Grand Prix, June 15-19, but compete as the “Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars,” sporting sponsor-branded team shorts.
Erickson, who hails from Alexandria, Minnesota, is an exercise science major who is on target to graduate next year. She said making the team completed her season goal. Erikson finished fourth in the Division I criterium at nationals.
“I am proud to call Minnesota my home state and honored to represent Fort Lewis College,” she said. “Racing as part of the Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Star team gives me the opportunity to see my dream of becoming a professional cyclist come true, while also representing my college, and pursuing my education.”
Team Manager John Barron said his squad aims to impress the pro peloton and continue the tradition of top talent migrating from the Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars team to the pro ranks. Past team members are a “who’s who” of promising young talent, including: Kristin McGrath (Peanut Butter & Co TWENTY12), Sinead Miller (Diadora-Pasta Zara-Manhattan), Erica Allar and Amanda Miller and the late Carla Swart (both HTC-Highroad).
“We have six women who are particularly gritty, gutsy and hungry for a win,” Barron said. “They know all about teamwork, but have never been on the same team together.”
Key to solidifying that team atmosphere will be participation in a pre-Nature Valley Grand Prix training camp, Barron said. Members of the Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars will join the men’s and women’s Nature Valley Pro Ride teams at the camp.
Each Kowalski’s Markets Collegiate All-Stars team member receives complimentary entry into the Nature Valley Grand Prix, free host housing and a travel stipend. They will also receive the full support of a staff that includes Barron, soigneur Stu Barron, mechanic Gabe Masiulis, massage therapist Tom Hagerty and photographer/social media coordinator Cory Funk.