Sarkisov carries momentum into worlds
Team USA

Junior National Champion Katherine Sarkisov Carries Momentum Into Worlds

By: Guillermo Rojas  January 27, 2022

17-year-old Katherine Sarkisov is a skier, road racer, and computer software developer, but this weekend she is a focused on being a world-class cyclocross racer.

Seventeen-year-old Katherine Sarkisov has had quite the 2021-2022 season. After making the most of a limited 2020 season, Katherine changed her approach and fell in love with cycling again.

In the past, Sarkisov averaged 25 cyclocross races per season; in 2020, she competed in two. “When the pandemic first hit, I took some time off the bike. I completely changed my approach towards cycling. Before I would just train and race but after my break, I started to really enjoy just riding my bike. I fell in love with that and it propelled me through the pandemic. I wanted to ride my bike every day again.”

Her rediscovered love of the sport propelled Katherine to nine victories in 2021. She also reached the podium in 11 out of her 14 races. Starting with a Pro 1/2 win at DCCX, she continued her winning ways at Virginia’s Blue Ridge GO Cross, Rochester Cyclocross and Charm City Cross. At Jingle Cross, she took 2ndand then 1st, the event was the season highlight until Cross Nationals. “Jingle Cross was really fun. The course was awesome, it had some really big features. We were together as a group for such a long time, it became very tactical and we battled it out throughout the entire race.”

At USA Cycling’s Cyclocross National Championships, Katherine felt that her fitness came together and all the lessons she learned throughout the season helped her during the race. The end result was her second stars and stripes jersey. She captured her first back in 2018 at Reno, Nevada in the 13-14 race. Fans saw a very mature performance from the seventeen-year-old; she let the race develop, avoided early crashes and then unleashed her feared final-lap effort to win by 50-seconds.

After Nationals, Sarkisov headed to the Netherlands to train with fellow Junior and U23 members of Team USA in her first USA Cycling MudFund-supported development camp to prepare for Worlds.

“The camp was a lot of fun, we became a team. Before, we were competitors and we didn’t really know each other. At camp we learned from each other and became friends.”

In addition to the camp, Katherine was able to compete in five races while she was in Europe, including one Elite race, Telenet Superprestige Heusden-Zolder. In the other four Junior races, she finished in the top-12 with the highlight being 2nd at X20 Trofee Baal - GP Sven Nys.

After the USA Cycling camp and the European racing block, Katherine feels ready for Worlds. She’s looking forward to racing on home soil and in front of her family.

In addition to cyclocross, Sarkisov skied competitively until the age of fourteen. She’s also a podium threat in road races, riding for LUX Racing, and turned an internship into a computer software developer job at Johns Hopkins University. Pretty amazing accomplishments for a senior in high school.

Beyond Katherine’s vast abilities and drive, she knows that she couldn’t reach her goals without her support team. She credits her Dad for introducing her to the sport of cycling and being her first mechanic; Rock Creek Velo, her first cross team, for making it fun and her current cross team, CXHAIRS Devo/TREK BIKES, for developing her as an overall rider.

“Katherine is already a world-class person and has the potential to be a world-class athlete. If she gets a good start in Fayetteville, anything is possible,” said Bill Schieken, CXHAIRS DEVO co-founder.

Sarkisov’s goal for Worlds is to have a smooth race and use her strengths to her advantage. We’ll be watching on Saturday, January 29th for her signature final-lap effort against the best Juniors in the world.