- Ewing Township Board of Education
EHS Senior Chahbandour Pedals to Collegiate Cycling
June 14, 2022
Ewing High School seniors moving on to participate in collegiate sports is not an unusual occurrence. Each year Blue Devil student-athletes commit to continue their athletic careers in sports like football, soccer and basketball.
But an EHS student committing to compete in competitive varsity collegiate cycling…well, that’s a bit unusual.
But that is exactly what David Chahbandour, a talented racer and a frequent sight on his bike on the roadways of Ewing, will be doing after graduation.
Collegiate cycling is not an NCAA sport like the more mainstream college sports you may be familiar with, such as football, basketball, swimming, track and field, and so on. Instead, it’s governed by USA Cycling. This means that some of the rules regarding recruiting, scholarships, eligibility and training time might differ a little bit from NCAA sports at the same college.
USA Cycling sanctions two categories for collegiate cycling—varsity and club. Schools generally model their varsity programs after their NCAA sports. Varsity teams have coaches, award scholarships, and usually extend the same resources the schools offer to their NCAA teams. This includes things like uniforms, athletic training, study tables, a competition schedule and travel to races. Regular training with the team is usually mandatory. The coaching staff tends to be full-time in the varsity setting.
Although many colleges and universities have cycling at the club level, there are fewer than 30 Division I and Division II varsity college cycling teams in the United States.
Chahbandour has committed to the cycling team at Lees–McRae College, a private college in Banner Elk, North Carolina. Lees–McRae College has the highest elevation of any American college or university east of the Mississippi River, at 3,720 feet above sea level, which makes it a cyclist’s dream. It is one of the few colleges to be named after two women, Suzanna Lees and Elizabeth McRae, and happens to be home to one of the top varsity cycling programs in the nation. Lees-McRae Cycling has produced 10 Team National Championships and 59 Individual National Champions.
Earlier this spring, Lees-McRae Director of Cycling Tim Hall announced Chahbandour as the fourth member of his 2022-23 recruiting class for his men's cycling program. The EHS ’22 grad will join David Schuster (Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania), Nicholas Van Rooyen (Johannesburg, South Africa), and Peter Swinand (Evanston, Illinois) as the latest additions to the Bobcats’ cycling squad.
Chahbandour will concentrate on road racing with an emphasis on time trialing. Chahbandour also composed a GPA of 4.0 during his senior year at EHS and is a professional metal and jazz guitar player.
"I chose to attend Lees-McRae for multiple reasons," said Chahbandour. "Once I first learned about the Lees-McRae cycling program and head coach Tim Hall, I knew this was the place I needed to be. I also really enjoy the surrounding area of Banner Elk and the Blue Ridge Mountains."
Chahbandour, who also played on the EHS golf team, plans on studying business administration with a specialization in marketing at Lees-McRae and also plans on picking up a cycling studies minor. He is also interested in joining a music program on campus to be able to continue his love of music and audio engineering.
As he looks forward to starting his college career, Chahbandour, who started his competitive cycling career in earnest as a sophomore and hopes to one day be a part of the world tour, is racking up some impressive accomplishments. He finished 1st in the Somerset County Time Trial Series and recently placed 3rd at the Highlands Gran Fondo in the under 23 category and qualified for the prestigious Gran Fondo Nationals on July 17th in Asheville, North Carolina.
“David is a very gifted young man in many different areas,” Ewing High Principal Ed Chmiel stated. “He is definitely emblematic of the many multi-talented students we have at Ewing High School, and we are excited to see what he does in the future.”