Summit Tigers mountain bike team places 4th at Frisco Bay Invitational
With mild temperatures and frequent afternoon storms throughout the summer, the trails in Summit County are in prime condition for mountain bike riding. On Saturday, Aug. 27, the Summit Tigers mountain bike team got its first opportunity to race on some of the pristine trails at the Frisco Adventure Park when the team competed at the Frisco Bay Invitational.
The team rose to the top of the competition in front of a hometown crowd for its first race of the Colorado High School Cycling League season.
The Summit Tigers mountain bike team competed in the Yampa region of the race, taking on other high-school level mountain bike teams including Steamboat, Eagle Valley, Monarch and Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy.
The Tigers were well-represented in its only home race of the season. Leading the way for the Tigers in the varsity boys race was junior Nico Konecny. Fresh off a successful summer of mountain bike racing, Konecny put himself in the front of the pack for the three lap, 18-mile varsity boys race.
“It’s great to get the legs back moving and racing after nationals,” Konecny said. “Racing at home was really fun, I know the trails like the back of my hand. It definitely gives an edge on other riders just knowing the lines and how the course rides.”
Konecny battled it out with Eagle Valley’s Landon Stovall throughout the race, but in the end it was Stovall who cruised across the finish line first with a time of 1 hour, 16 minutes and 56.24 seconds.
Nearly 30 seconds later, Konecny crossed the finish line in second place and a time of 1:17:23.03.
“It was a good race we were kind of just hanging together,” Konecny said of racing next to his good friend, Stovall. “The final lap we kind of turned it on and about halfway through the course I couldn’t hold on anymore and he pulled away. I was super happy with my performance after some time off from racing.”
Konecny was followed by two of his teammates, Stanley Buzek and Kai Oppito. Buzek finished 11th overall with a time of 1:29:13.93 and Oppito finished in 27th place (1:36:34.07).
Several Tigers also competed in the junior varsity races.
Junior Lili Zygulski was the top finisher for the Tigers in the junior varsity girls race, finishing the 12-mile course in ninth place with a time of 1:14:11.28. Jennifer Stevens followed Zygulski in 32nd place with a time of 1:32:06.62.
In the junior varsity boys race junior Luke Brewer notched the top finish for Summit finishing in 18th place overall in a time of 1:03:30.06. Mateo Bonta crossed the finish line in 1:12:43.49 to place 59th.
Rounding out the performances for the Tigers were a strong core of underclassmen in the sophomore and freshman races.
Sophomores Aila Harmala and Isaac York had the top finishes among their underclassmen teammates, and both finished second overall respectively.
Harmala recorded splits of 36:31 and 38:23 in order to cross the finish line with a time of 1:14:11.28.In the boy’s sophomore race, York and Mason Wescott worked as a pack — fueling one another to the finish line.
York found a way to break away from Wescott however and finished in second place with a time of 1:01:26.45.23 seconds later, Wescott crossed the finish line in 1:01:49.67 to finish in third place and put two Tigers on the top-three finisher’s podium.
In the freshman races, Fiona Florio finished within the top five by finishing in fourth place with a time of 1:11:28.04. In the boys race, four athletes finished within the top 10 with Finn Brown finishing in sixth, Landon Laverdiere placing eighth, Carter Niemkiewicz placing ninth and Parker Osborn placing 10th.
The performances from the Tigers placed the team fourth out of the seven teams in division 2 of the Yampa Region. Konecny, York and Harmala led the team in points, contributing 1,545 of the team’s 4,780 points.
Team coach Jeff Cospolich was pleased with his team’s performance at its first race and hopes to see the team build upon it throughout the rest of the season.
“We also saw some strong results from our freshman athletes, so this team has a bright future,” Cospolich said. “Our coaches did a great job calming the nerves of many of the athletes, ensuring they had everything they needed and a proper warm-up prior to the start.”
The Summit Tigers mountain bike team will compete again on Sunday, Sept. 11, at the Cloud City Challenge in Leadville. The races will start at 8:30 a.m. from the Colorado Mountain College campus at 901 U.S. Highway 24 in Leadville.
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