Pack of Miner mountain bikers place in NorCal High series stop
Special to The Union
The athletes started the day shivering, clad in hooded sweatshirts emblazoned with the Nevada Union Miners logo, a stylized mountain biker set on a black background.
They ended the day in T-shirts, passing around the lotion to work on their tans. In between, was some of the grittiest racing on the NorCal Mountain Bike schedule, held on the shores of Folsom Lake near Sacramento.
Beginning the event were the varsity girls, a friendly but competitive bunch who, apart from racing, are amiable acquaintances. Once the countdown begins, however, the friendly chatter turns to frank determination as each knows full well that the rivalry is about to begin anew.
Among the group of 22 riders, each covets a placing in the top five for a spot on the podium. Christine Weir, NU’s lone competitor for the varsity women, once again claimed a top spot, third place in Division 1, consisting of 12 Northern California schools.
Weir completed the three-lap, 18-mile course in 1 hour, 28 minutes, just two minutes behind the leader and 10 seconds behind the second-place finisher.
For the JV girls, Christa Baker once again broke into the top 10 with a seventh place finish among 32 riders competing on the two-lap, 12-mile course. In her first race for Nevada Union, Emma Arata finished 17th, just four minutes behind Baker, despite having a mechanical failure that took several minutes to repair.
Lindsey Hayes and Julia Toro, racing on the sophomore girls team, finished 12th and 14th, respectively, over the 12-mile course, only nine seconds apart.
Mason Bond and Jeremiah Newman, juniors competing on the 24-mile varsity course, continued their march up the standings with times of 1:46 and 1:53, respectively, solid performances in a large field of 50 riders. For the JV boys competing against 67 riders, Steve Baldock was eighth (1:22), David Lowe 13th (1:25) and Eric Green 24th (1:30). Following closely were Evan Thibodeau (1:40), Henry Alkire (1:44), Julian Smallwood and Christian Smallwood. Smallwood, on an unannounced quest to dislodge a tree, suffered a dislocated shoulder in the process, but is expected to compete at the next race.
For the sophomore boys vying in a large group of 78 riders, NU was led by Julian Eisen in ninth place (1:26) followed by Dillon Virva (10th place), just three seconds behind Eisen. Jack Mann was 12th (36 seconds behind Virva) followed by Tim Warmerdam (1:29), Caden Maves (1:34), Calvin Peterson (1:38), Sean Walik (1:39), Aidan Arata (1:45) and Pat Denboske (1:52).
For the freshman boys, a competitive group of 64, NU’s top finishers were James Schmidt (seventh at 58 minutes) and Zach Moultrie (ninth at 59 minutes). Sam Vieaux was 16th (1:02), Zach Williams 20th (1:02), and Tyler Grebe 21st (1:02). Connor Oliver and Blake Logan were 28th and 30th, followed by Garrett Newman (1:10), Dakota Agran (1:13), Brad Hoffler (1:16) and Chad Grenon (1:18).
Nevada Union’s next race is in North Napa Valley at Bogg’s Mountain on April 11, followed by Monterey on May 2, culminating with the State Race here in Grass Valley at Loma Rica Ranch on May 16.
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