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Marian University signs first recipient of cycling team mechanic scholarship

Published November 29, 2018

INDIANAPOLIS (BRAIN) — Marian University has announced the first recipient of its cycling team mechanic scholarship: Charis Lott of Fortville, Indiana. Marian, consistently one of the top schools in collegiate cycling, believes its team mechanic scholarship is the first of its kind in the nation.

Lott, who currently attends Mt. Vernon High School, brings five years of mechanical experience, including time at Freewheelin' Community Bikes in Indianapolis and LoKe Bicycles in Fishers, Indiana. Lott plans to study psychology, with a concentration in sports at Marian. 

"We'd be hard-pressed to find somebody more qualified than Charis for this first-time position with our program," said Dean Peterson, head coach of the team. "Her time with Freewheelin' Community Bikes as well as LoKe Bicycles in Fishers has prepared her well to serve the diverse needs and variety of settings in which a collegiate cycling team trains and competes."

Lott will be a full member of the team, dedicated to working directly with the team's staff to prepare and service team equipment, serving as a race mechanic at conference and national events, working with athletes to maintain their personal bikes, and ordering and managing equipment and supplies for the team's fleet of bicycles, wheels, and parts.

The program, first announced in late 2016, also aims to teach students what it means to be a mechanic beyond just wrenching on bikes: coordinating logistics, knowing events schedules and venue details, providing athlete care, service course management, sponsor relations, marketing, and more.

"We want to assist young mechanics in learning the ins-and-outs of the mechanic's role with a team," said Michael Kubancsek, Marian's director of cycling operations. "The breadth of experiences that Charis will have should serve her well alongside her academic pursuits in psychology and sports."

He said the school would like to offer at least one mechanic scholarship per year. "In an ideal world, we’d have 4-6 at any one time to help spread out the load of 60-70 riders in five disciplines, many of which overlap," he told BRAIN. 

Lott said, "I'm good at talking with customers and adapting to different personalities while also diagnosing a problem quickly and accurately. I was the first female to get my black apron at Freewheelin', and going forward, I am excited to share in the esteemed cycling team at Marian, a program has been built on giving the team opportunities as a whole to work together, grow, and travel to many different places. I look forward to participating in the university as a whole and hope to do my part to make it a great option for future students."

The student mechanic program at Marian Cycling is supported by several cycling industry technical partners, including SILCA, Feedback Sports, SRAM's Technical Marketing Group, Park Tool, and the Professional Bicycle Mechanics Association.

Peterson said, "We hope that this mentoring and teaching model will set an example for other teams. Michael Kubancsek grabbed an idea and put it into action, and as a result, we have an outstanding new student mechanic who will clearly be an asset to the overall team."

Charis (center) with Kubancsek (l) and Peterson (r).

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