Jastrab makes an instant impact for Milligan cycling

Tanner Cook • Sep 30, 2019 at 12:00 PM

Milligan College freshman cycling standout Megan Jastrab discovered the bike at a young age and instantly fell in love.

“My brother and I were always outside when we were younger,” she said. “Everything was outdoors whether it was riding scooters, bikes, skateboards or skiing. My dad used to race in college and he went on Saturday group rides. I was always interested and both of my parents loved cycling.

“Of course, there was always the concern going riding on the road with little kids on a bike, so we held off on that for a while. When I was either 10 or 11, I got my first road bike and started racing locally and then racing nationally and finally racing with the elites.”

Coming from Apple Valley, Calif., Jastrab had plenty of beautiful routes to ride her road bike around and it was pretty flat as well.

“Getting my first road bike was a big improvement over riding my little Schwinn bike,” she said. “It was three sizes too big for me, I didn’t know much about the downshift and it was a very uncomfortable saddle.”

Jastrab has already had a boatload of success before coming to East Tennessee, as she has won a whopping 27 national championships at the junior level. She recently won the individual pursuit and helped Milligan win the team pursuit title at the USA Collegiate Track National Championships.

“The team pursuit is one of my favorites events because it’s not just one person doing it and you have to rely on your teammates to get through it, too,” she said. “Normally you start with four and end with three, but we started and finished with three. That means everyone had to finish and it put a little more pressure on us to perform. My teammates stepped up to the plate and did really well.”

Head coach Zack Nave was even surprised with the team’s performance in the pursuit, but he knew during the event that the Buffs were putting in some pretty quick times.

“I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t shocked with the result of team pursuit,” Nave said. “We knew that we were running pretty fast times because that’s something we’d practiced and we had an idea of what we could do. I thought it’d be good for second or third. I kept telling them that they’d have a shot if we ran fast.”

Last week, Jastrab came up big in the Yorkshire UCI World Championships in Harrogate, United Kingdom, winning the junior road race title in a loaded field.

Jastrab was considered to be one of the names to watch going into the event, but pulled away with less than two kilometers to go.

She took the lead and was able to hold off Russian junior time trial champion Aigul Gareeva in a sprint to the finish line. It was the first world junior title for Jastrab.

In her short two months stint at Milligan, Jastrab has already racked up two USA Cycling Collegiate Track national titles and a world junior title.

Quite impressive for a freshman coming from across the country to compete at Milligan.

“She’s comes in and she’s an instant impact,” Nave said. “She’s so strong and you can’t say enough. She makes everyone around her better because they know they have to perform. Off the bike, she wants to help others, and you normally don’t get both. She’s one of a kind and we have a good women’s team. She a great person to help lead that team through the rest of the season.”

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