Young varsity riders lead Summit High mountain bike team to 3rd place at season-opening meet in Frisco
FRISCO — Seven top 10 finishes from individual Tigers propelled the Summit High School mountain bike team to third place at Sunday’s first meet of the season, the Frisco Bay Invitational.
On their home course at Frisco Peninsula, varsity riders Tai-Lee Smith and Lasse Konecny led the way for Summit. Smith, a junior, won the 18.3-mile, three-lap girls race in dominant fashion.
She raced out to ideal position in the lead group before the course’s bottleneck at the top of the road near the start of the course. Smith, along with independent rider Sofia Forney, then created some space between the rest of the racers before a flat tire for Forney gave Smith all the distance she needed to win by more than two minutes with a time of 1 hour, 28 minutes and 18 seconds.
“She’s a passionate rider,” Summit head coach Fred Newcomer said. “She loves to ride bikes, and she puts in the time. She trains all year long, so she is always riding, training. Between that and Nordic (skiing), she has a phenomenal engine. I didn’t know what to expect out of Tai-Lee today, and she did what I knew she could do. Super proud of her.”
Smith’s victory in the varsity girls race earned the Tigers 575 of their 6,643 total points, behind Division 1 meet champion Boulder (7,609) and runner-up Fairview (6,967).
In the Colorado High School Cycling League’s mountain bike circuit, each team receives points from its top 15 finishers across varsity, junior varsity, sophomore and freshman level races. Better finishes in higher-level races earns more points.
The third-place team finish at their home course Sunday was a strong one for the Tigers, considering Boulder raced 119 total cyclists and Fairview raced 69. Summit totaled 32. Newcomer attributed the team’s early season success to the cyclists’ commitment to high-level riding all summer, such as last month’s Junior Nationals in Winter Park.
“They have their engines tuned up; they are good to go,” Newcomer said.
One of those cyclists riding at a high level at the start of the season is sophomore Konecny, who was able to ride with the lead group of six cyclists through the first two laps after starting the varsity boys race in the fifth row. Konecny then kept close to eventual race winner Peyton Wilkerson when the junior from Estes Park pedaled away on the third of four laps.
Konecny said he “hung on for dear life” on the final lap on the 24-mile course after sticking with Wilkerson through his third-lap attack. Konecny, the only sophomore to compete in the varsity boys race, finished with a time of 1:39:32.25, about two minutes behind Wilkerson.
“The attack definitely killed me,” Konecny said. “I pulled back. I didn’t want to die out on the last lap. But I’m very happy with my result. On the back side of the course, after you descend for quite a while, there’s a half-mile to mile climb, and that point was my strongest point. I expected to get a top five at least, so I’m really happy with second.”
Frisco Bay Invitational point-scorers
Team rank. cyclist, division, grade, divisional place, time, points
1. Tai-Lee Smith, varsity girls, 11, 1, 1:28:18.96, 575
2. Lasse Konecny, varsity boys, 10, 2, 1:39:32.25, 565
3. Victoria Uglyar, JV girls, 10, 2, 1:03:52.36, 530
4. Opal Koning, varsity girls, 12, 10, 1:35:02.76, 502
5. Marin Ward, sophomore girls, 10, 2, 1:05:51.91, 9, 490
6. Samantha Hessel, JV girls, 10, 1:09:25.51, 474
6. Caleb White, JV boys, 12, 9, 1:24:07.83, 474
8. Elsa Bates, varsity girls, 12, 15, 1:37:56.75, 471
9. Finn Remias, varsity boys, 12, 18, 1:48:37.61, 455
10. Timothy Lunney, varsity boys, 12, 47, 2:03:32.75, 364
11. Max Bonenberger, varsity boys, 12, 52, DNF (Mechanical), 359
12. Abby Anderson, sophomore girls, 10, 25, 1:23:48.44, 348
12. Steven Jardim, JV boys, 12, 37, 1:31:57.17, 348
14. Barrett Wagenseil, JV girls, 12, 39, 1:34:17.97, 344
14. Connor Albin, JV boys, 12, 39, 1:32:00.64, 344
Unlike Summit’s varsity cyclists, who raced in the cooler, calmer morning, the Tigers’ junior varsity and younger riders dealt with a hot, dusty and windy course in the afternoon. Sophomore Samantha Hessel, who finished in ninth place in the two-lap, 12-mile JV girls race, said the conditions made the race feel like they were riding a different course than they were used to.
“Surprisingly, this course is actually pretty technical,” Newcomer said, “because it’s sandy, rocky and loose. Where a lot of the other courses we get into are a little more buff, and there are technical sections to get into. … There are very few sections where you are just flowing. It’s a bumpy course, so it shows you where you’re at technically.”
Fellow sophomore Victoria Uglyar took second place in the 48-rider JV girls race with a time of 01:03:52.36. The Tigers also received top 10 finishes from senior Caleb White in the 191-rider, three-lap, 18-mile JV boys race (ninth in 1:24:07.83) and sophomore Marin Ward in the two-lap, 12-mile, 46-rider sophomore girls race (second in 1:05:51.91).
“Our underclassmen are bringing it today, absolutely bringing it.” Newcomer said. “The underclassmen girls are bringing it. The Lady Tigers are crushing it.”
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