Riley Gallagher: Bound for College and Bicycle Competitions
In about two weeks, college freshmen will be packing the car, saying goodbye to siblings, and heading off with mom and dad to discover the adventure of college. As they prepare, they’ll be making lists of what to take and what to leave behind. But few will carry as much specialized gear as Hough High graduate Riley Gallagher, whose inventory for college life at Lees-McRae in Banner Elk, North Carolina, includes four bicycles!
Riley can’t ride them all at once, of course, but as a recruited athlete for the Lees-McRae Cycling team, she’ll ride them all in competitions for the different types of cycle races.
Riley is excited to be enrolling at one of the most cycle-oriented campuses in the country. The school’s Division I Men’s and Women’s Cycling Teams hold 10 national titles as well as 57 individual national titles.
Riley is looking forward to becoming acquainted with her 35 or so teammates, racing with them, and enjoying long training rides through the beautiful surrounding mountains. If she chooses, she could further her interest in the subject by enrolling in the school’s academic minor in cycling studies. That degree prepares students for a future in the contribution and promotion of cycling preservation as both a sport and a leisure pursuit.
However, Riley doesn’t anticipate that course of study. At this point she’s planning to focus her academic studies on criminal justice and psychology, with hopes of becoming an FBI agent.
Cycling head coach Tim Hall said Gallagher received an athletic scholarship at Lees-McRae based on her outstanding record as a young rider. She began competing in triathlons at age 7, and at age 15 began specializing in cycling—with outstanding success.
She is now a three-time North Carolina cyclocross state champion, competing for the Lake Norman Composite team within the North Carolina chapter of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. She raced for the Evolution development junior team for two years, before joining the King Blue Ridge Cross cyclocross development team. Gallagher plans to compete in all three cycling disciplines—mountain bike, cyclocross, and road disciplines.
Coach Hall said Riley is a versatile cyclist who will add depth to the team. He continued, “She has been racing for a few years and has gained a lot of experience. She also has the competitive spirit we’re looking for—the hunger and the drive to develop into an all-around great student and cyclist. We are fortunate she chose Lees-McRae.”
Bill Giduz was the son who followed his father’s footsteps into journalism. He has been involved his entire life with news and photography in schools he attended and jobs he’s held. He believes now that he’s got a few good years left to devote to The News of Davidson.