Without a doubt, the 2015 men’s Little 500 has to be one of the best races in Little 500 history.
It had clean racing. There were no devastating crashes that wiped out the field. In fact, there was only one meaningful crash, and one of the teams involved, Sigma Phi Epsilon, went on to win. A fall didn’t impact who won the race.
It had showmanship. Who can forget Phi Delta Theta’s Rob Lee waving to the crowd at the beginning of the race?
It had a strong attack (Delta Tau Delta). It had an even better bridge (Beta Theta Pi, Cutters, Sig Ep, Black Key Bulls).
It had heart-pounding drama. It had the finish we all crave. Six teams finished within .38 seconds of each other, and Sig Ep narrowly beat out BKB by .024 seconds. That’s closer than the closest Indianapolis 500 finish ever recorded (.043 seconds).
It had sportsmanship from all parties after the race, acknowledging what an amazing race had just occurred.
What more could you ask for in the Little 500?
It was only the fourth men’s Little 500 I have seen, so I’m asking those of you who have much more knowledge than me, was last year’s race the best race of all time?
Let me know what you think has been the best Little 500 race of all time in the comments below.
1 Sigma Phi Epsilon 2 Black Key Bulls (0.024 seconds behind winner) 3 Beta Theta Pi (0.344)
4 Sigma Alpha Epsilon (0.355) 5 Forest (0.356) 6 Delta Tau Delta (0.380)
7 Cutters (7.814) 8 3PH Cycling (9.758) 9 Phi Kappa Sigma (28.761)
10 Phi Delta Theta (38.255) 11 Phi Gamma Delta (39.642) 12 Gray Goat
13 Delta Chi 14 Wright 15 Sigma Nu
16 Northern Indiana Cycling 17 Pi Kappa Phi 18 Evans Scholars
19 Lambda Chi Alpha 20 CSF 21 Theta Chi
22 Pi Kappa Alpha 23 Sigma Alpha Mu 24 Delta Sigma Pi
25 Alpha Epsilon Pi 26 Kappa Sigma 27 Young Life
28 Phi Sigma Kappa 29 Delta Upsilon 30 Sigma Pi
31 Collins 32 Alpha Tau Omega 33 Beta Sigma Psi
Before the reporters stormed in, before the champions walked onto the stage in front of all their fans, before they were mobbed by house brothers and friends, the four Sigma Phi Epsilon riders shared a moment all to themselves after winning the 2015 Little 500.
“God,” one rider said, “we fucking won! We fucking won!”
There were hugs to be had, there were TV interviews to be conducted, there were trophies to be hoisted, victory laps to be run. But never was there a more perfect two sentences to capture the emotion and thrill of the 2015 men’s race.
When Kappa Alpha Theta’s Liz Lieberman got on the bike on lap 97, she was ready for the sprint that everyone was waiting for, the sprint the entire race had built up to.
Theta, Ski, Phoenix Cycling, Alpha Chi Omega, CSF and Alpha Omicron Pi were all bunched together on 99, with the RaceMonitor app showing AOPi (then 6th) trailing the then-leader Ski by just 1.31 seconds after 98 laps had been scored.
But around Turn 3 on 99, Lieberman turned back to check for an attack from behind. Instead, she only saw Phoenix’s Tabitha Sherwood. The rest of the field, for the most part, was down, getting caught up in a massive wreck.
It brought out a yellow flag, and it brought tears to Lieberman’s eyes. With the yellow out, she knew she would win under caution, and the tears started to slide down her cheek. She would coast across the finish line first in a yellow-checker finish, winning Theta’s sixth Little 500, and their second in a row. The six victories is more than any other team in the women’s field.
Can’t stress enough that these are unofficial. This is the final listing on the RaceMonitor app. No word yet from IUSF on official results. I’m guessing video will have to be used to determine the final order when the yellow was dropped. But, this at least gives you somewhat of a general idea where teams were.
1 Kappa Alpha Theta (1:14:19.819) 2 Phoenix Cycling 3 Delta Gamma
4 Cru 5 CSF 6 Ski
7 Alpha Omicron Pi 8 Gamma Phi Beta 9 Alpha Chi Omega
10 Alpha Xi Delta 11 Teter 12 Alpha Sigma Alpha
13 Delta Sigma Pi 14 Alpha Gamma Delta 15 Kappa Delta
16 Phi Mu 17 Kappa Kappa Gamma 18 Melanzana
19 RideOn 20 Theta Phi Alpha 21 Independent Council
22 WingIt 23 IU Nursing 24 Alpha Delta Pi
25 Chi Omega 26 Pi Beta Phi 27 Delta Zeta
28 Zeta Tau Alpha 29 Alpha Phi 30 Sigma Delta Tau
31 Delta Phi Epsilon 32 Alpha Epsilon Phi
The past three years, I’ve been really confident in picking a race favorite. This year, more so than any of the past four years, seems to be a complete toss up.
It seems cliche to say it because it feels like it’s said every year, but there’s really a range of about 6-8 teams that could win the race, and I wouldn’t be surprised in the least. There’s so many variables this year, and so, so many strong teams, it makes choosing a winner exponentially difficult.
Just like last year, I’ll give my picks for the top 5 finishers. I’m also adding in my predictions for All-Star riders and rookies of the year, as well as the Dixie Highway winner.
My pick last year, the first year I picked the women’s race, finished second (Teter). I didn’t think a fairly young Kappa Alpha Theta team had enough to get past the veteran Teter team. This year, I’m taking a now experienced, and arguably even deeper Theta team, to repeat.
As explained in the men’s post, this combines a rider’s ITT finish and their MNO finish (like a golf score, the lower the score the better, as 1 point is assigned to the ITT winner, 1 point to MNO winner, 2 to 2nd, 3 to 3rd, etc.) to create a list of the very best individual riders.
Like we said on the men’s post, this is far from an exact science, but it’s fun to look at.
Without further ado, here’s the list: