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PREP MOUNTAIN BIKING: Miners adapt, take third as a team

Mina Ricci
Special to The Union

Rain or shine, the show goes on.

The high school mountain bike racers of Northern California certainly lived by this motto their past race as they rode through the mud and cold of this winter’s torrential storms.

Originally scheduled to take place at the Mazda Raceway in Laguna Seca, near Monterey, the NorCal event faced a last minute venue change due to inclement weather. Organizers, racers and families quickly rerouted to Fort Ord, enjoying exceptional race conditions at the sandy, well-drained location.

The weekend’s course was changed slightly from the previous race. The NorCal race directors attempted to emulate the Laguna Seca course, adding additional mileage, more elevation and challenging climbs. At about 5.5 miles per lap with more than 520-feet of elevation gain, the course was complete with challenging sandpits and poison oak at every turn.

The Nevada Union mountain bike team crushed the trails, despite some muddy and sandy sections. The partly-cloudy skies and light breeze throughout the day were welcome conditions from the rain that had been pummeling California only days before.

“The course definitely had a level of moisture and sand to it,” said freshman rider Anthony Pritchett. “But getting to work with Orion (Minty) during a race is always really cool. We can play our cards how we want. We tried some pretty bold tactics during this race, attacking earlier than usual.”

And that strategy certainly paid off. In the boys freshman division, Orion Minty once again took the win, with Pritchett finishing in a close second place.

Sophomore boys rider Jonathan Schreiter continued his winning streak, solidifying his position as the sophomore points leader. Ethan Hennessey rode to a second place finish in the same category.

“I think I’ve improved decently since the start of the season ever since getting second place at the first race,” said Schreiter. “I got more motivated and trained hard and I’ve now gotten 1st place finishes. It feels good that the hard work pays off.”

Junior varsity rider Grayson Garton finished in fifth place, nabbing a podium spot while retaining his points leader position.

In the varsity boys division, Korbin Moorehead and Myles Morgan rounded out the incredibly competitive podium, taking fourth and fifth respectively.

In the women’s junior varsity field, Zara Katzenstein took 15th place, inspiring the other women on the team to push hard in their training.

“I was really happy with how the team performed,” said Katzenstein. “Everyone works so hard, practice after practice, so it’s really nice to see everyone show up and ride as well as we did on Sunday.”

Although several of the NU riders were missing, the remainder of the team did well and improved their times significantly from the previous race.

Collectively, the team pushed hard to earn 3,981 points and a third place medal, just 10 points below second place.

This week, the Miners will go back to the grind, training hard in hopes of once again securing third or better at the next race.

Next up for the Miners is an April 27 race in Six Sigma Ranch and Winery.

For more information about the races, teams, and other NICA events, visit norcalmtb.org. For more on the Nevada Union mountain biking club follow it on Facebook.

Mina Ricci is a freelance writer who contributes to The Union.

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