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Ride and Learn: Marian University
 
By Imelda March
Date: 2/21/2011
Ride and Learn: Marian University
 

Marian University's mission is to be a Catholic university dedicated to excellent teaching and learning in the Franciscan and liberal arts traditions. They welcome students of all faiths who seek an educational experience framed within the context of their Franciscan values of dignity of the individual, peace and justice, reconciliation, and responsible stewardship.

Marian University grew out of the dedication and vision of Sister Theresa Hackelmeier and the Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg, who established a school in Oldenburg, Indiana, in 1851. The college was founded in Oldenburg in 1936 and moved to Indianapolis in 1937. On July 1, 2009, Marian College became Marian University.

Marian University provides cycling specific scholarships coupled with a fully funded program that covers athletes travel, meals, uniform, equipment, entry fees and more.

Marian University competes in the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference (MWCCC), a recognized conference within the USA Cycling Collegiate organization. The Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference is one of 11 collegiate conferences around the U.S.

As part of the Midwest Collegiate Cycling Conference Marian University will have a presence in the following road events:

* February 26/27, Lindsey Wilson College
* March 5/6, Ohio State University
* March 12/13, University of Missouri
* March 26/27, University of Notre Dame
* April 2, Marian University
* April 3, University of Purdue
* April 9/10, Michigan State University
* April 16/17, Lindenwood University
(Regional Championships)

Coach Dean Peterson provides an inside perspective on the Marian University cycling program.

DP: Who is an ideal candidate for your academic/cycling program?

Our ideal candidate is one who comes to Marian University looking grow intellectually and prepare for the future through a well rounded student athlete experience. Cycling draws student cyclists of all levels and from all disciplines to Marian, and we are proud to couple that with a less known rock solid, balanced academic program. We look for students first and cyclists second and as a result we get a nicely balanced group of young athletes from walk-ons to national team members.

DP: Does Marian University offer collegiate cycling scholarships?

Marian University has offered cycling scholarships since 1992 when the school committed to making womenís and menís cycling a varsity sport. We have continued to offer competitive cycling scholarships for the past 18 years for mountain, BMX, track, road and cyclocross riders while remaining committed to the USA Cycling Collegiate approach of development and bringing new riders into the sport.

DP: If so, what are the cycling scholarship distribution levels?

Marian University's scholarships range from $250 to full tuition and our average athletic scholarship is $7,000.

2010-11 Annual Costs
Full-Time Student (12-20 hours)
$24,960 Tuition and Fees (Fees of $800)
$1,200 Books (Estimate)
$26,160 Total Off-Campus Cost
$7,800 Room and Board
$33,960 Total On-Campus Cost

Source: Marian University Website

DP: Is equipment provided to the athletes or are they expected to contribute to the costs of purchasing their personal cycling equipment?

Marian University cyclists do not incur an equipment fee and do not pay for collegiate team races or expenses. We are very fortunate to work closely with Specialized, SRAM, and ZIPP and as a result we have a fleet of track bikes and cyclocross bikes that riders can use during each of those seasons. We ask all of our riders to be prepared with their own road bikes and many come with their own bikes for the other disciplines as well. We have found that our track bikes and cyclocross bikes make it much easier to bring new riders into the sport as equipment can often times be a big blocker. Riders receive full Castelli kits including DeFeet socks and winter riding thermals and receive special deals on equipment (not required). Through our generous sponsorship with Zipp, the team provides Zipp racing wheels for all National Championship events.

DP: Typically, a B.A. /B.S. take about 4 years to complete? However, do all your athletes finish their degrees on time? Or is the average more like 5 years as they enjoy their environments and student life?

We typically see students averaging 4.5 years to finish school. Many of our riders tend to be overachievers, so it is not uncommon for them to be finished in 4 years while racing collegiate and with trade teams or the USA National team. Some of our students change their majors after the first year or two and this can often add an extra semester or year, but it typically indicates that students are able to zero in on what they believe they really want to do. We feel we have been successful when a student graduates with their desired degree while having the option to continue to compete as cyclists at whatever level they may be.


Jackie Kurth (also rides for Team Kenda p/b GEARGRINDER) in action in a criterium. Photo credit: Marian University

DP: Overall, what is your cycling program graduation rate?

We have seen about an 88% graduation rate since 2006.

DP: Do you actively recruit? If so, is there a part of the country where you focus more of your recruitment efforts?

Our recruiting efforts span the globe, although we do not currently have any international student cyclists. We currently have student cyclists from 13 different states. We do not really target specific areas in the world as much as we do specific disciplines. For example, we are actively recruiting women for all disciplines, but we are looking to build our mountain bike team.

DP: What differentiates Marian University's (MU) cycling program from the others?

We are proud to be a cycling team. One of our goals is to bring the team concept to a sport that is often more individual oriented. We blend some of the traditional team sport ideals into cycling while recognizing the unique qualities of cycling and its culture. We travel together as a team during each of the separate seasons during all of the seasons and to every national championship wherever they may be in the USA. We travel throughout the road season to races every weekend around the Midwest in a chartered bus like other sports teams around the nation creating safe, quality team time that allows MU cyclists be the best they can be on race day.

We are one of handful of schools that also have a cycling center where our athletes can train during the toughest winter days and where we can monitor fitness growth of our riders. All of our student cyclists volunteer to help with the Marian University Indoor Time Trial Series and with our spring race, the Midwest Cycling Classic. As riders gain more experience they also can teach spin classes and Power Booster training sessions to the public providing services to local cyclists, applying science to something they love and offering real world work experiences.

This makes Marian University Cycling unique, robust and full of possibility for our current student cyclists and future ones as well!

PARENTS FEEDBACK

A parent who did not want to be identified assured me that Marian University has delivered on everything they presented to their family. They are pretty content with the progress their sibling has made both academically and athletically.

QUICK STATS

* Competes in mountain bike, track, cyclocross and road cycling disciplines
* 14 Team National Championships: 13 track, 1 road (2010)
* Individual champions on road and track
* USAC Team of the Year 2009
* 3rd 2010 USA Cycling National Cyclo-cross Championships

For more information visit Marian University and Marian University Knights Cycling Program.

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About the author: Imelda March lives in Chicago and is a member of Team Kenda. She is a frequent contributor to The Daily Peloton Cycling News team, reporting on womenís cycling issues and general peloton ramblings. Imelda is an experienced racer who also holds an MBA and is a marketing strategy expert.


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