PREP MOUNTAIN BIKING: Miners grab gold at Granite Bay Grinder
Special to The Union
The Nevada Union mountain bike team shined at the second race of the season, grabbing the team gold medal at the Granite Bay Grinder.
The Miners battled it out against some of the best high school teams in NICA League’s NorCal conference last Saturday at the Folsom Lake Recreation area. This year, the Granite Bay Grinder — as the Folsom Lake course is called — was a particularly tough race. The sandy and moist conditions combined with the technical trail provided riders with many challenges. The 6.3 mile loop had about 700 feet of elevation gain per lap and was filled with rocky climbs, muddy downhills, sandpits and lots of poison oak. The sunny weather was a welcomed break from the past week’s storms, which had made parts of the course very slippery.
The day started out cool and transitioned into a nice spring afternoon—perfect conditions for racing. After this winter’s intense storms, the Miners were definitely enjoying the sunshine.
The NU riders showed improvement in the Granite Bay Grinder by pushing past their individual struggles and nailing the technical course, grabbing a first place spot for the entire team.
Both the girls and boys rode hard and finished with great times.
“From my perspective, the course is practically built for our team — steep, technical climbs mixed with fast, technical downhill sections are exactly what this is team is good at. Combine the course with the awesome weather, and it made for a fantastic race day for our team,” said Miners coach Evan Smith.
Anthony Pritchett and Orion Minty once again dominated the freshman boys’ podium, taking first and second place, respectively. Sophomore Jonathan Schreiter crushed his category, grabbing the gold, while in the junior varsity boys division rider Grayson Garton finished in second place, retaining the leader’s jersey for his division. In the incredibly competitive varsity boys’ division, Korbin Moorehead finished in seventh place.
“My race may have not gone so well, but the team won the overall which hasn’t happened in a long time,” said varsity rider Myles Morgan. “It’s so awesome. The other teams now know we are a force to be reckoned with.”
The NU girls also crushed the weekend. Skyler Meinholz finished seventh in JV girls race, with Zara Katzenstein grabbing 11th in the same category.
“We really proved ourselves and dominated,” said varsity girls rider Morgan Smith. “This course was different from the others, as it was more technical and rocky, but the conditions at Granite Bay were perfect for us because it’s more similar to our usual type of riding. We really pulled through each of our races and worked together to earn our top spot.”
NU’s riders combined to earn 3,986 points which beat out second place Tamalpais High School (Mill Valley) by 18 points.
The Miners’ next race will be in Laguna Seca on March 31st. They hope to dominate the Monterey course and retain the overall team lead.
The team will also be riding in the spirit of Tom Meinholtz, father to sophomore racer Skyler Meinholtz, who passed away this week. Tom was a beloved member of the Miners family.
Mina Ricci is a freelance writer who contributes to The Union.
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