Summit Tigers mountain biking team places 10th at state championships
On Oct. 23 and 24, the Summit Tigers Mountain Bike Team made the five-hour drive south to Durango to compete in the 2021 Colorado Cycling League’s mountain biking state championships.
The course at the Durango Mesa bike park consisted of 6.5-mile loops, which the varsity racers completed three times and the other competitors completed twice.
A total of 83 teams from across Colorado competed in the event with more than 817 participants stretched across the girls and boys freshman, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity races.
The Tigers sent a team of 15 racers, which is the minimum amount needed in order to score as a team at the state championship event. Other teams the Tigers competed against in the Division 1 team category took double the racers, adding to the depth of the competition.
For the Tigers, there was not the luxury of dropping out or having a bad day. Every Tigers athlete needed to cross the line in order to score points for the team.
“A common challenge for us has been that all of our riders are needed in order to contribute to the score, while bigger teams have more wiggle room,” head coach Jeff Cospolich said.
Cospolich noted that the past few weeks of training leading up to the state championship race have been interesting for the team.
“We had some late-season weather challenges where we had to move practice to the Breckenridge Rec Center a few times,” Cospolich said. “We went to the spin studio, tried to keep it fun while doing some intervals, making the most of it while maintaining fitness.”
The Tigers didn’t let the less-than-ideal training conditions affect them though. Instead, the Tigers racers took to the Durango trails and performed, with some racing the best they ever have.
The Tigers had three senior girls in the varsity competition with Victoria Uglyar leading the way. Uglyar finished the 19.5-mile race in one hour, 33 minutes and 29 seconds for seventh place out of the 46 girls in the competition. Uglyar also finished her second 6.5-mile loop in under 31 minutes — a feat very few girls in the race achieved.
Uglyar was followed by teammate Samantha Hessel, who finished in 23rd place in a time of 1:40:57. Marin Ward, while under the weather, rallied to round out the varsity girls race for the Tigers, finishing in 35th place in 1:45:10.
Senior Abby Anderson represented the Tigers in the junior varsity girls race, where she placed 74th out of 101 riders in a time of 1:18:38.
Lily Zygulski captured a top-25 finish in the sophomore girls race. Zygulski finished the race in 1:14:00, negative splitting the second lap of the course by over a minute.
In the freshman girls race, Allia Harmala placed 13th in 1:10:12.
In the junior varsity boys race, sophomore Nico Konecny dominated the competition, finishing a full minute and 20 seconds in front of the next rider. Konecny also negative split the two-lap race, finishing the first loop in 25:14 and the second in 25:06 to finish the race in 50:21 for first place.
Konecny was followed by two junior racers in Kai Oppito and David Reid, who placed 92nd and 137th, respectively, in the 152-rider junior varsity race.
Stanley Buzek shined in the sophomore boys race as he was able to navigate a chaotic start in order to place fifth, making the awards podium in the process. Buzek was followed by Mateo Bonta, who placed 131st.
In the freshman boys race, the Tigers were represented by a strong pack of four freshman boys. Issac York led the way for the Tigers, placing 59th in 1:03:29.
The performances from all of the Tigers racers helped the team to place 10th out of 17 teams in the Division 1 classification. The teams ahead of the Tigers — such as Boulder and Fairview, who went first and second, respectively — had a large number of participants adding depth to their rosters.
“Everybody rode very well,” Cospolich said. “I was happy how everyone came together at the very end of the season. I am proud of all of them.”
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