Last year’s returners from the top 10: Paul Smith (3) – Delta Tau Delta, Rob Lee (4) – Phi Delta Theta
Last year’s returners from the top 20: Jimmy Rosati (12) – Black Key Bulls, Jacob Miller (13) – Black Key Bulls, Charlie McClary (14) – Phi Gamma Delta, Brian Arfmann (17) – Sigma Chi, Wes Ring (20) – Phi Delta Theta
Others to keep an eye on: Luke Momper – Delta Tau Delta, Brian Depasse – Cutters, Toby Kemp – Delta Sigma Pi, Thomas Wimmer – Sigma Phi Epsilon, Nick Torrance – Sigma Phi Epsilon
5:25 p.m. – Smith, Lee, Miller, McClary
5:15 p.m. – Rosati, Arfmann, Ring, Momper
5:05 p.m. – Kemp, Wimmer, Depasse, Devin O’Leary
Last year’s field was full of experienced, big-name riders, from the two big Cutters riders (Kevin Depasse and Tim Nixon), to the three Betas in the top 11 (Eric Anderson, Tom Laser, Will Kragie), to the five BKB riders in the top 16. This year’s field doesn’t showcase that same depth of experienced talent, but that almost makes it more fun.
The favorite has to be Paul Smith, who many thought might win ITTs last year. Smith, now a senior, rode 20 hard laps at the end of last year’s race to bring Delts up from the middle of the pack and take the lead, only to see Kragie pass him on the final lap. He’s widely considered one of the single fastest riders in the field, and there’s no doubt he wants the ITT crown this year in the same way Kevin Depasse wanted it last year for his senior ride.
If Smith does take the top spot, it will be the second time in three years a Delts rider has won the crown, as RJ Stuart won it in 2012.
Smith’s biggest competition will be Lee, a junior from Phi Delts. Lee surprised everyone, including himself, last year when he rode a 2:25.04 in ITTs. He was not slotted with what is considered to be all of the “top riders” who compete later in the night. Instead, he was in the early afternoon and came almost out of no where to finish with a top time.
Lee rode valiantly for Phi Delts in the race last year, keeping up with all of the “big boys” from Cutters, BKB and Beta in the race, leading his team to a third place finish, just behind Kragie and Smith. Lee, without a doubt, is the star of this year’s pole-sitters.
It’ll be interesting to see which team ends up with the most riders in the top 15, as Phi Delts, Delts, BKB and Sig Ep all have two riders who figure to be somewhere in those top spots.