ELIZABETHTON, Tenn. (WJHL) — Milligan Cycling has continued to reach new heights on the national stage, with national champion and 2020 Olympian, Megan Jastrab, leading the way. But earlier this month, junior Ama Nsek made Buffaloes Cycling history.
“The goal is to just do the best we can and then to bring home a jersey,” he said.
It’s exactly what the Ontario, California native did. At the 2022 USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championships, he blazed to the finish line of the Men’s Criterium national title race with a time of 1:18:58 — becoming the first Milligan man ever to become an event national champion.
“It was a nice smooth race and everything went well, yeah,” he recalled.
With 411 points, Milligan University placed third overall at the championships in Augusta, Georgia, and doubled its number of event national titles to 10 in just one weekend.
Nsek is no stranger to being on a bike in the big moments, however. Before coming to Milligan University, the 21-year-old had already raced overseas and on the professional circuit.
“I was on Team USA as a junior,” he said. “We’ve spent time in Europe racing that circuit.”
Between pro racing and his coaching and consultation business, Nsek was happy to leave college behind for a while after high school.
“I’m happy with the life I have,” he recalled his feelings in the moment. “It’s super flexible and everything.”
But that feeling didn’t last.
“I genuinely missed being in a classroom environment and everyone is kind of pushing their limits of what they know,” he said. “And it would be nice to go to a cycling school.”
He spent some time at Cal State Fullerton and Mt. San Antonio, but never truly found a good fit.
“There just wasn’t a lot of initiative and there wasn’t a lot of support from the school,” he said.
That is, until he found his way to Elizabethton.
“To have all the resources provided, have a very communicative coach and to have this team that has support from the university – to be able to go out and handle business, it’s super fantastic,” he said.
Despite his experiences and triumphs all over the world, Nsek knows this national championship and this team will forever hold a special place in his heart.
“Coming here and collecting a national title with such a fun environment and just generally great people to be around – it just means a lot more to me,” he said.
Nsek will continue his busy pro schedule over the summer, as he is slated to race in ten different events across the country for Best Buddies Racing – a team dedicated to raising money, awareness and creating opportunities for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“It’s an added mega-bonus to say I race professionally, but it’s more than just stacking podiums and trying to shoot for wins here and there, it’s more like everything we do to set a platform and a stage to help support a different community,” he said. “It’s going to be a very, very busy summer, but really fun.”