Teenager excels against experienced competition
SUMMIT COUNTY – When 17-year-old Kate Chapman decided to ride in the Fall Classic last weekend, she was faced with a dilemna.
To enter her actual category, junior women 17-18, she would be the only competitor. But having developed her fitness all summer racing in the Summit Mountain Challenge, she was light years ahead of the local beginner class.
So she spoke with Jeff Westcott of Maverick Sports and it was decided. The senior from Summit High School would enter the Fall Classic to compete against the women’s sport class.
When it was all over, Chapman stood up on the podium in second place in the 19-29 age group and posted the third fastest overall time against all sport women.
“I’ve always wanted to race sport, but I wanted to get (Jeff’s) go-ahead,” she said with a noticeable Australian accent during a Monday morning interview.
Chapman moved to Summit County from Down Under with her mother and three brothers in 2000. It was during a cross country trip with Chapman’s Australian soccer team that the family found their way to the county.
“Breckenridge was supposed to be a stopover on an around-the-world trip,” she said. “We ended up here and decided to stay.”
Since she’s been here, she’s developed as a well-rounded athlete, playing rec-league softball and varsity soccer to go along with mountain biking.
She also runs trails in the forests behind her home near The Highlands in Breckenridge.
This winter she will compete on Summit High’s varsity cross country ski team.
Excelling in older age groups is nothing new to Chapman. In July, she won her age group at the Terra Triathlon in Keystone by finishing seventh overall against all women.
Chapman credits her mom and her twin brother, Ian, with developing her active lifestyle.
“My mom and I are actually training partners,” she said.
“And Ian and I, we grew up as best friends.”
Chapman hopes to push her love of the outdoors into a career, volunteering regularly at the Breckenridge Outdoor Education Center.
Eventually, she would like to attempt adventure races and multiday races.
After graduating from Summit High next year, she plans to spend a year or two studying outdoor outreach and journalism at Colorado Mountain College.
It’s not that she doesn’t want to go to a four-year school, just that she loves Summit County so much that she would like to stay a little longer.
“I love it here.”
Eventually she plans to transfer to a bigger school, with Western State College in Gunnison at the top of her list.
“And then I’ll travel where my job or my interests take me.”
Richard Chittick can be reached at (970) 668-3998, ext. 236, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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