2010 California High School Mountain Bike State Championships


High School Mountain Bike Teams Converge on Grass Valley this Weekend

BERKELEY, Calif. – California’s finest high school mountain bikers, from San Diego to Redding, are preparing for the 2010 California High School Mountain Bike Championships at Loma Rica Ranch, Grass Valley, California, May 16th, the same day as the start of the Amgen Tour of California less than 10 miles away.


Vanessa Hauswald, executive director of the NorCal League, said, “This race is the culminating competition for the NorCal and SoCal High School Cycling Leagues’ 2010 season. All teams will be showcasing their best fitness and skills after honing them through hard training and racing this year.”

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the high school mountain bike league in California, and the popular new sport is growing rapidly. Entries in the State Championships this year have grown a massive 30% over 2009, with 550 students expected to compete at Grass Valley and 65-70 of them are expected to be from Southern California.

Possible reasons for such significant growth could be that it’s a family sport. “There are not many sports where you can have your boy and your girl competing in the same event,” said parent James Williams of Salinas. Another parent, Chris Byrne of Berkeley, said “As a parent with experience with multiple high school sports I have to say that this is by far the most positive experience that I think a high school athlete can have. It’s a lot more fun than any other high school sport I’ve been to.” All present in 2010 had a really great time, camping, making friends and socializing with like-minded peers from across the state.

Other big news about this race is that it takes place at a new, privately-owned venue, on a 6-mile course that was purpose-built for this the event. “It’s all bermed-out, smooth, swoopy, unbelievably fun to ride. One of the best courses we’ve had for high school racing so far, and the start/finish area is amongst a picturesque apple orchard. This course would not be possible without so many dedicated volunteers, especially Jet Lowe, Zachi Anderson, Robert Godar and many other Nevada-Union parents.” said NorCal League founder Matt Fritzinger, who worked with a local group, Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County, that constructed the course. “It’s wonderful going out there knowing that a lot of hard work has been put into making it fun and competitive and safe for your kid,” said parent Chris Byrne.

Racing begins at 10 a.m. with the varsity girls. Sophomore and freshman boys start at 11:50 a.m., and varsity and junior varsity boys racing starts at 1:30 p.m. Race distances range between 12 miles and 24 miles on the six-mile course in the Sierra foothills.

A report from the previous (May 2nd) NorCal League race follows.

About the NorCal High School Cycling League
The NorCal High School Cycling League, founded in 2000, is a non-profit organization open to students from both public and private schools. The League exists by virtue of a range of fundraising activities as well as generous donors and sponsors including the founding sponsor of the SoCal League, Easton Foundations; the founding national sponsor, Specialized Bicycle Components; as well as SRAM, Trek Bicycles, Clif Bar and Co., Fox Racing Shox, Creation Engine, GU Sports, Mike’s Bikes, Primal Wear, Santa Cruz Bicycles, Shimano, Touchstone Climbing Gyms, Dirt Rag, Feedback Sports and Mountain Bike Action. The League provides coaching and camaraderie to help students achieve both competitive and non-competitive cross-country mountain biking goals in a safe and enjoyable manner. Each season includes a fall Leader’s Summit for coaches, winter riding camps, the five-race series, and a variety of summer camps. For more information on the League visit www.norcalmtb.org or call (510) 524-5464.

NorCal Race Report #4: Central Coast Invitational: The Sequel
Monterey, CA — The fourth race of the 2010 NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League was raced by 432 student athletes under sunny skies in Seaside, California on May 2, 2010. The 5.3-mile course consisted of rolling singletrack trails and a few fast double track trails that wove through old military training grounds in the East Garrison of Fort Ord. Inclimate weather forced organizers to cancel the April 11 race #3 at Boggs Mountain, so several students raced the Sea Otter Classic April 16, 17 and 18 as a stop gap between the second and fourth races.

Referred to as the ‘Central Coast Invitational: The Sequel’ due to a recent venue switch, racers were led out on a neutral start by NorCal League board president Austin McInerny to keep the speed down on the first tight hairpin turn and into the Clif Bar Feed Zone, where the racing began. The course included approximately 600 feet of climbing per lap, which provided a different end result in many categories compared to the first two races of the season. “As has been the case all season, attendance at this event was incredible and the pits were overflowing with parents, coaches, and volunteers,” McInerny added. “With 346 boys and 86 girls competing, less than four percent of the athletes did not complete the race due to mechanicals and minor crashes.”

Racing was intense in all categories as this was the final race leading into the State Championships in Grass Valley on May 16. Many riders are in peak condition and everyone was thrilled to be racing under sunny skies and warm temperatures. Varsity girls, JV girls and boys, and sophomore boys all raced three laps while Frosh-Soph girls and freshman boys raced two laps. Varsity boys had to duke it over four laps and the racing was heated in all categories.

“We’ve never run the race on this route and the majority of riders and coaches really liked the added climbing and the swoopy singletrack through the trees,” NorCal League’s director-in-training Vanessa Hauswald said. “The recent rains made for solid trail conditions and the coursework that volunteers did made it that much better. The lupines were also in full bloom this weekend, so the riding was not only fun, but beautiful, too.”

Varsity Girls
Drake’s Sofia Hamilton, fresh off her strong second-place finish at Sea Otter, won the Girl’s Varsity race in 1:12:48, toppling series leader Shayne Powless by 1:09 to win her first NorCal race of the season. Marin Catholic’s Victoria Yoham finished third, while Nevada Union’s Christine Weir and Hamilton’s Drake teammate Lauren Catlin rounded out the final podium. Twenty-one girls competed in the 20-mile event.

Varsity Boys
Series leader Will Curtis (San Rafael) made it two in a row, beating Salinas rival Bryan Duke to the line by a mere 40 seconds after 25 miles of racing for a time of 1:21:46. There was no drama at the finish line this time, unlike the March 7 race, which saw Curtis and Duke share the victory and series leader’s jersey after a late-race crash by a different category racer forced Curtis into the fencing, after he and Duke were sprinting for the finish line. Curtis nipped Duke at the finish line in Granite Bay at race number 2.

Marin Catholic’s Tony Smith finished third on the day, just one second behind Duke. Drake teammates Nick Newcomb and Alec Kassin rounded out the podium.Trojan Composite racer Cody Kaiser finished13th after being assessed a five-minute penalty for outside assistance. Forty-one students raced the Varsity Boy’s event.

JV Girls
Branson’s freshman racer Kate Courtney continued her winning ways, winning her third race in a row with a time of 1:15:19, and her second in the JV Girl’s category. Courtney finished the 15-mile event 2:31 ahead of runner-up Sofia Gomez-Villafane (Wildcat Racing). Series leader Rainee Chandler (Salinas) finished exactly four minutes behind Courtney for third on the day, while Trojan Composite’s Maren Cosens and Salinas’s Kristen DeBerdt rounded out the final podium. Thirty girls raced the JV event.

JV Boys – Division 1
Redwood High’s Taylor Smith nipped Granite Bay winner Isaiah Rapko (Berkeley) at the finish line in a winning time of 1:07:36 after 20 miles of intense racing. Folsom teammates Sam Wamhoff and Kyle Luther finished a close third and fourth, ahead of Albany’s Alberto Santos-Davidson. Wamhoff came in two seconds behind Smith and Rapko, as 61 JV Boys raced.

JV Boys – Division 2
Tamalpais High’s Spence Peterson continued his unbroken winning streak Sunday, finishing the 20-mile event in 1:03:49, less than a minute ahead of Santa Cruz’s Tobin Ortenblad. Jefferson’s Brandon Dillard, Ortenblad’s Santa Cruz teammate Jacob Albrecht and Miramonte’s Adam O’Camb rounded out the final podium. Forty-five JV Boy’s competed.

Sophomore Girls
Series leader Emily Lawrence (San Ramon) won the Sophomore Girls 10-mile event in 0:56:04, five minutes ahead of Berkeley’s Emily Anderson-Merritt. Placer Composite’s Julie Barton crossed the line in third, while Drake’s Libby Caldwell and Miramonte’s Hanne Anderson rounded out the final podium. Fifteen Sophomore girls raced and finished the event.

Sophomore Boys – Division 1
Salinas teammates Steven Larson and Matthew Epperson finished the Sophomore Boys 15-mile race in first and third place, bookending Folsom’s James Amort. Series leader Larson’s time was 1:07:48, just 42 seconds ahead of Amort. Drake’s Mitch Calder and Casa Grande’s Justin Herrell rounded out the final podium. Sixty-four Sophomore boys raced the Division 1 event.

Sophomore Boys – Division 2
Series leader Eliel Anttila (Branson) won the Sophomore Boys Division 2 race in 1:07:20, just 14 seconds ahead of Novato’s Charlie Cone. Maria Carrillo’s Tyler Jones finished third, 12 seconds behind Cone. Bob Siegel (Tamalpais) and Nick Price (Jefferson) rounded out the final podium. Thirty-one Sophomore boys raced the Division 2 event.

Frosh Girls
Independent racer Dominique Vanden Dries won the Frosh Girls race, completing the 10-mile event in 0:55:35, beating second-place finisher Elizabeth Maguire (Casa Grande) by 1:12. Co-series leader Maddie Giger (Salinas) finished third on the day, with Josie Nordrum (Redwood) and Annika Hoy (Drake) rounding out the final podium. Twenty Frosh girls raced the event.

Frosh Boys – Division 1
Drake teammates Lucas Newcomb and Daniel Szawarzenski went head-to-head in the Frosh Boys Division 1 15-mile race until the very end, with Newcomb crossing the line in 0:44:59, just two seconds ahead of Szawarzenski. Woodcreek’s Wyatt Morin, the series leader, finished third, while Drake’s John Newcomb and Redwood’s Ian Stowe completed the podium. Sixty-two Frosh boys competed in the event.

Frosh Boys – Division 2
Series leader Alex Howard beat Tamalpais teammate Skyler Taylor by a hair under two minutes to win the 15-mile Frosh Boys Division 2 event in 0:43:35, as Marin Catholic’s Lawrence Smith finished third. Independent racer Ryan Stevens and Smith’s teammate Austin Gooder rounded out the final podium. Forty-two Frosh boys competed in the Division 2 event.

Race Highlights: Prom!
“There were some great highlights in the way of prom proposals at this race, as we are quickly approaching prom season,” Hauswald added. “One rider threw his prom request (that he had carried in an envelope in his jersey pocket) to a special spectator on the side of the course. Two girls from Drake High School wrote large signs asking some varsity boys to prom, and unfurled the signs when they were up on the podium!”

The neutral start allowed the crowd to get a great view of their riders as they rode off the start line. “We pulled a very small percentage of riders from this race, which made it a rewarding race for those who found themselves toward the middle or back of their pack,” Hauswald added.

Additional Notes
According to NorCal programs manager Chris Spencer, the venue was constructed of 1,700 feet of snow fencing, a League record.

Overall Standings
Heading into the 2010 California State championships, scheduled for Grass Valley on May 16 (near Stage 1 of the Tour of California), overall series leaders are:

Varsity Girls: Shayna Powless (1,640 points); Varsity Boys: Will Curtis (1,645); JV Girls: Rainee Chandler (1,536), JV Boys – D1: Taylor Smith (1,556); JV Boys – D2: Spence Peterson (1,575); Soph Girls: Emily Lawrence (1,470); Soph Boys – D1: Steven Larson (1,500) ; Soph Boys – D2: Eliel Anttila (1,480) ; Frosh Girls: Maddie Giger/Dominique Vanden Dries (1,456) ; Frosh Boys – D1: Wyatt Morin (1,471); Frosh Boys – D2: Alex Howard (1,481). For complete overall individual standings, visit http://norcalmtb.org/race/2010/OverallRider3.html.

For complete results, visit http://norcalmtb.org/race/results.htm.

Team Standings
After three races, Drake High School leads the Division 1 Team Standings with 4,043 points, with Salinas High (3,893) and Redwood High (3,738) rounding out the top three schools. In Division 2, Marin Catholic leads the Team Standings with 2,007 points, ahead of Santa Cruz Chain Gang (1,952) and the Branson Bulls (1,951).

source: Vanessa Hauswald

About the author: Gregg Kato

Gregg Kato studied journalism and broadcasting in college while working many different jobs including deejaying, driving a forklift and building web sites (not all at the same time). Kato enjoys riding local Santa Cruz trails. Besides being an avid mountain biker, he is also a motorcycle fanatic. Two wheels, one Passion.

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  • Aaron Ponce says:

    I live in the Santa Clarita Valley in North Los Angeles Co. I saw an article in MTN bike magazine on your organization. I would like more info on what it would take to start an organization like yours. I don’t know of any los angeles area high schools have mtn bike teams. I look forward to hearing from you. Cell 949 701 5434

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