INDIANAPOLIS, April 22, 2015 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Marian University Cycling Coach Dean Peterson announced today that Natarsha Birk will be joining the coaching staff of the 28-time National Champion collegiate cycling program at Marian University. Birk will coach all disciplines with a specific focus on the university's BMX and mountain bike programs.
Birk comes to the two-time defending Collegiate BMX National Champions with vast BMX racing success, including two World Championships (1996 and 2000), three World Cup Championships, two European Championships, and a National Championship from her home nation of Australia.
Originally from Innisfail, Queensland, Birk has been racing bikes since age 5. She turned professional in the sport of BMX at 16 and raced internationally, in 17 countries, until 2004. She moved to the United States in 2000 and has remained involved in the BMX industry. She comes to Marian University Cycling from ANSWER BMX, where she has served as the Sales and Sponsorship Manager since 2009.
"BMX has been my life – so to be able to do something in a career that I'm passionate about, makes me happy," said Birk. "When you have a passion, it's easy to pass it along, and this will allow me to actually help athletes along, be hands-on, and make themselves better."
Birk is an accredited level 1 coach and will bring those skills, along with her strength in sports psychology, to help the Knights continue to advance their program, particularly in the off-road disciplines.
"We continue to look for ways to develop in the BMX and mountain bike disciplines, as those are the youngest areas in our program's history," explained Peterson. "Natarsha is going to be a huge part of our staff moving forward – I am confident she will help us grow our efforts to create a meaningful experience for our student-athletes, both on and off their bikes."
The Cycling Knights won the Collegiate BMX National Championship in 2013 on their way to the team's first omnium championship. They repeated in 2014 and head to Atlanta, Georgia this weekend to defend that title. BMX became an Olympic sport in 2008.
Birk lives in Westfield with her husband, Ryan, and their son, Ryder, 7, who also races BMX. She is 39 years old.
About Marian University Indianapolis
Marian University (www.marian.edu), founded in Indianapolis in 1937, is the only Catholic liberal arts university in central Indiana. It serves a student body of nearly 3,000 through dedication to excellent teaching and learning in the Franciscan and liberal arts traditions. Marian University is one of Indiana's 31 independent colleges and one of 244 Catholic colleges and universities nationwide.
Since 2001, Marian University has been led by President Daniel J. Elsener, whose vision and leadership are transforming the university. In 2013, Marian University opened the Michael A. Evans Center for Health Sciences, home to its College of Osteopathic Medicine. Marian University has amassed 28 national championships in cycling, in 2012 won the NAIA national championship in football, and was a national finalist in football in 2014.
About Marian University Cycling
The Marian University Cycling Team is a full varsity team at Marian University in Indianapolis. Governed by USA Cycling, the team competes year-round in five cycling disciplines: track, cyclocross, mountain bike, BMX, and road racing. A team of nearly 60 student-athletes from 28 states and four countries train and race while going to school full-time and serving the local community as well as pursuing their cycling hopes and dreams. As of January 2015, the team has 28 team national championships, in track, road, BMX, and cyclocross, is the reigning Division I Omnium Champion Team, and has been honored as the USA Cycling Collegiate Club of the Year four times, most recently in 2014. To learn more, "like" the team on Facebook or visit www.muknights.com.
Mark Apple, Marian University
SOURCE Marian University