2016 Senior Spotlight: Summit High’s Spencer Tyson, Cole Catron, Carlos Martinez and Katie Mason | SummitDaily.com

2016 Senior Spotlight: Summit High’s Spencer Tyson, Cole Catron, Carlos Martinez and Katie Mason

Editor's note: This is first in a three-part series on Summit High School senior athletes for homecoming week. Read part two with volleyball and golf, and see Friday's paper for part three with football and rugby.

Hard to believe it's already homecoming season in Summit County.

Then again, maybe it's not. The Summit High School varsity teams enjoyed a stellar start to the season, and then September arrived and everything from football to volleyball began lagging just a bit. That tends to happen when the air chills and the leaves change, and now it's time for a little pick-me-up — exactly what the doctor ordered for the biggest bash of the fall.

Before the start of big-time rivalry matches and this week's football game against Clear Creek, the Summit Daily sports desk talked with senior captains and all-stars from all of the varsity sports to get their thoughts on the season, their careers, and exactly what comes next after they hang up the green and white.

Spencer Tyson | Captain, Tigers MTB team

Spencer Tyson earned his role as Tigers mountain bike team captain the hard way. Earlier this summer, the 17-year-old went mad with training and completed his first 100 miler, The Bailey Hundo, where he took first overall in his age division. Now, he's leading the elite team through its first season in Division I with the likes of Fairview, Battle Mountain and Boulder. The team is in third overall after two races, and with three remaining, that's right where he wants to be.

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First mountain biking memory: According to my parents I fell in love with mountain biking before I could even walk. I have always enjoyed going on mountain bike rides and enjoying the simple beauties of the place I call home. When I first started racing mountain bikes I hated the pain incorporated with constant training and the occasional crash, but the relief and sense of accomplishment once I went through the finish line made it all worthwhile.

My mountain biking highlight: Being voted in as captain. It's a huge honor to represent the team and act as a leader within the team and my community.

My favorite memory off the trail: Practices. The entire team gets together to condition to the maximum twice a week, but the truly special thing about practice is the attitude everyone brings to the table. While we anxiously await the painful workouts our coaches have planned for us, we stand around joking and laughing about stories and the spontaneous goofiness from our teammates.

If I weren't riding bikes…: I would most likely be riding for fun. There is something about the freedom that comes with two wheels and enjoying a beautiful backyard that I would never give up.

Pregame meal: Steak stroganoff the night before. On race day I limit myself to oatmeal and a banana four hours before the race start to refrain from cramping or bonking.

Post-win celebration: A relaxing, stress-free night, where I can recover and watch a movie or go to sleep early.

Pump-up music: I don't listen to music while I'm working out or practicing so that I can focus on my breathing and really focus on training, rather than what song is playing

My pre-game ritual: I wash my bike every night before the race so that I know that it is clean and working well. On race day I only use my "lucky" water bottles.

Biggest rival on the trail: Ourselves. As the Summit Tigers Mountain Bike Team has grown, we have been bumped up into Division One. I am proud to say we have been maintaining our third (place) all-around for the two races so far and have our sights set on closing the gap of 180 points between us and the other two leaders. This has proven to be very difficult with our team of 23 competing against teams with over 100 riders, but everyone on the team is very focused and dedicated to maintaining our overall team podium.

Cole Catron | No. 16 Tigers soccer

Senior midfielder Cole Catron is ready to play in the post-season again. After a disappointing junior year, he and the Tigers are off to a much better start at 3-2, including a massive 5-0 win over Palisade on Sept. 17. The 17-year-old is one of 11 seniors on the team this year — that's enough to field an entire side with only graduates — and his veteran line in the midfield has figured out how to possess, control and patiently move the ball. That's something they just couldn't pin down last fall, and with the thick of rivalry season still to come they're peaking at the right time.

First soccer memory: The first time I played soccer was when I was 3 years old and I just kept with the sport, getting more competitive each year, mostly playing for club teams. I've always loved the sport and find that nothing compares when it comes to soccer.

My soccer highlight: Making it to the third round of the state tournament two years ago and also winning the league that same season.

My favorite memory off the field: Going on a team camping trip, where a lot of fun and memorable moments happened.

If I weren't playing soccer…: I would definitely be road bike racing because that is my other major passion that I do in the summer months.

Pregame meal: Pasta and salad because it's not to filling but still gives you enough energy to perform at your best.

Post-win celebration: Some awesome food afterward.

Pump-up music: Rap or dance/techno because it really pumps me up.

My pre-game ritual: I don't have one.

Biggest rival on the field: Battle Mountain because it is always a close game and winning against them is the best feeling ever.

Carlos Martinez | No. 13 Tigers soccer

Senior Carlos Martinez is the yin to Catron's yang in the midfield. Martinez plays up to support the forwards while Catron plays back to help the defense, and together they do a bang-up job of closing gaps and moving the ball. It's no wonder: Martinez has been playing soccer since 5 years old in El Salvador and immediately fell in love. At 17 years old, not much has changed — other than his home team.

First soccer memory: (I played) with a group of neighbors in the street where I used to live in El Salvador and since that day it was like love at first sight.

My favorite memory off the field: Freshman year, when a friend forgot the balls in the bus when we got back from a game and the next day at practice we ran a lap for each ball. There were 10 balls in the bag.

If I weren't playing soccer…: I would be training to get better in what I need to improve in soccer.

Pregame meal: A big plate of ribs with potato salad.

Post-win celebration: Going out as a team for food and have a good time.

Pump-up music: My favorite song for whatever thing I'm doing would be "No Roles Models," by J Cole.

My pre-game ritual: Talking as team before a game is a ritual that we can pump each other up.

Biggest rival on the field: Battle Mountain because they are a top team in the state and they play in the same league that we play.

Katie Mason | Girl's captain, Tigers cross-country

Senior Katie Mason will never forget traveling to the state cross-country meet her freshman and sophomore year. With any luck she'll make a repeat appearance this season as a senior, but chances are it won't be with the team. She's the lone XC senior in a "rebuilding year," according to head coach Heather Quarantillo, and the girl's team has struggled to crack the podium after four meets. But that only means Mason gets to share four years of running know-how with a fresh crop of runners — just like the seniors did when she was young.

First cross-country memory: I definitely didn't love cross-country at first. Showing up to the first day of practice my freshman year, I was the slowest runner on the team. I wanted to quit, but I stuck with it. At our first meet, I unexpectedly beat all of the other Summit JV girls and was moved up to varsity the very next race. Ever since then I've been hooked.

My cross-country highlight: Being able to cheer my team on at states my freshman year and run at states myself my sophomore year. The energy at the state meet is incredible.

My favorite memory off the trail: Long runs on the trails up above the high school in the peak of fall. The aspen trees look so vibrant it's easy to forget that you're running.

If I weren't running cross-country…: I would probably try my hand at rugby. The camaraderie they have makes it look like a really fun team to be on.

Pregame meal: Pasta the night before a big race, and the morning of the race I try to have some eggs. I'm a vegetarian so I'm always making sure I'm getting the protein and carbs I need.

Post-win celebration: Our team has always been so good about congratulating each other and cheering each other on. We always make sure to recognize anyone who had a good race and give lots of hugs when our team does good as a whole.

Pump-up music: Something loud and with a driving beat to keep me focused and motivated.

My pre-game ritual: I like to listen to music and take some time alone. It helps prepare me to be mentally strong throughout the race.

Biggest rival on the trail: My teammates. What I love about cross-country is that teammates can be competitive with each other while still being supportive of one another. I'm third on our varsity team and this year I'm really focusing on keeping up with the girls ahead of me to push myself and push them to be faster.

Homecoming and rivalry schedules

Thursday, Sept. 22 — Summit vs. Steamboat Springs soccer, 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium

Friday, Sept. 23 — Summit vs. Clear Creek football, 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium

Saturday, Sept. 24 — Summit Sevens Rugby Tournament, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tiger Stadium

Tuesday, Sept. 27 — Summit vs. Eagle Valley soccer, 6 p.m. at Tiger Stadium

Thursday, Sept. 29 — Summit vs. Eagle Valley volleyball, 6:30 p.m. at Summit High Gymnasium

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Tigers online

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