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Wentzville teen wins world cycling qualifier

At the Aug. 9 St. Charles County Council meeting, that governing body passed Resolution No. 21-05 officially recognizing Wentzville resident Brooklynne Schuetz, 17, for winning the Red Bull UCI Pump Track World Championship Qualifier event on July 31.

Brooklynne Schuetz (Source: St. Charles County)

The event, held at St. Charles County’s Kinetic Park in Dardenne Prairie, qualifies Schuetz for the UCI World Championship tournament to be held in Lisbon, Portugal, Oct. 15-17.

UCI, an acronym for Union Cycliste Internationale, is the governing body for the world cycling championships and traces its lineage back to 1893 when it held its First Track World Championships. The worldwide organization and the sport of bicycle motocross/mountain biking have gained popularity around the globe. In fact, BMX Freestyle competition made its debut at the Tokyo Olympics.

In a press statement released by the county, Schuetz said, “I wasn’t expecting anything. I was just expecting to come out here and have fun, show the locals what I can do, but we came home with some good hardware.”

The competition included 77 contestants – 66 men and 11 women from across the United States and one from Australia. A crowd of approximately 1,000 spectators cheered on local favorites and got a birds-eye view of all the action from the newly installed permanent bleachers in the park.

In the Women’s category, Schuetz and Megan Dudgeon, a Lindenwood University student from Wisconsin, squared off in the final. Schuetz finished 27.76 to secure her World Final ticket. Dudgeon finished with a time of 28:59.

The Men’s final was equally as exciting. It featured Layne Gainer, the top qualifier of the day, and Amakye Andersen, a three-time qualifier attendee and popular BMX rider in the circuit. When it came down to the final run, Amakye bested the top qualifier with the fastest time of the day at 22.04, earning a ticket to the World Final.

“Pump track is an amazing opportunity because it pits BMX and mountain bikers against the clock to see who can be the fastest rider of the day,” says Aaron Cooke, Race Director for Velosolutions, an industry leader in pump track construction that built the Kinetic Park course. “But the most exciting thing is the rider coming through St. Charles could become the next world champion.”

Schuetz attended the county council meeting with her parents, Mark and Kim, whom she thanked for their support. She noted that they would join her in Lisbon in October, but joked that they have to pay their own way. She said her siblings would not be able to make the journey due to the continuing COVID-19 restrictions.

In his remarks, council chair Mike Elam lauded Schuetz and pointed out the favorable publicity for the county, particularly the very positive public relations for its new Kinetic Park and the county park system in general.

St. Charles County Parks Director Ryan Graham described the opportunity to host the competition as “an honor and thrill.”

Before the action began on the track, activities, entertainment, concessions, and displays from sporting and food vendors, were available for spectators. Sponsors of the event were SSM Health St. Joseph Hospital, the City of Dardenne Prairie, and SSM Health Cardinal Glennon Children’s Hospital/Safe Kids St. Louis.

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