Season sweep: Steamboat mountain bike team perfect in 2023, wins state championship
In the last two seasons, the Steamboat Springs mountain bike team fell just short of a Division II state title but reversed the curse this year to become 2023 champions.
Steamboat swept the year, winning all four regular season races in the Yampa Division and capped it off with a victory across all DII schools in the state race Sunday in Glenwood Springs.
Steamboat beat the second-place team, Air Academy, by nearly 100 points, which head coach Paul Majors said is a sizable gap for a competition like this.
According to Majors, the state course is more challenging than many of the other courses throughout the year. This one features a lot of rocks and requires more technical skill than the other courses, but the climbing is similar to Steamboat’s home course.
The team raced on the same state championship course as the year before with only a few variations from start and finish.
The course begins with a wide-open double track for the first 1.5 miles before narrowing into a technical single track on the challenging downhill section. Majors said those who do not give an enormous effort at the start are likely to give up many places on the double track at the start.
“With the exception of one flat tire, everyone raced really clean,” Majors said. “It went really well.”
Steamboat riders took advantage of the double track; many managed to pass other riders early in the race and finish in a much better standing than their call-up at the start.
“That was a fairly consistent story for more than half of the Steamboat crew,” Majors said. “Even though they might have started a little further in the pack, they were able to fight their way to finish much better than where they started.”
The top performers of the weekend include Mary McLarnon, who had won the previous four regular season girls varsity races and placed fifth at state, and Eva Minotto, the 10th place finisher in girls varsity.
Whitney Warnke dominated the freshman girls class all year in her first competitive season. She swept the Yampa Division in the regular season and placed fourth at state.
Aidan Haack and Anna Rhodes also strung together very strong races, placing sixth and eighth, respectively in the boys varsity and girls JV races.
Majors was proud to announce his team won the spirit competition as well. The disco-themed day was full of athletes and coaches dressed in disco attire while blasting disco music on speakers everywhere they went.
“We put down the funky moves better than the other 87 schools that were there,” Majors said. “We feel pretty good about that as well.”
Most importantly, Majors was proud of the way his team cheered for each other. Having everyone at the start and finish to support their teammates was a powerful moment for Majors. He noted that even several riders who did not qualify for state still came to support the team as a whole.
“I couldn’t be happier or more proud of the team,” Majors said. “Everyone prepared for this race with all their heart and spirit. They performed exactly as I had hoped for with everyone pulling their weight and doing exactly what they set out to do.”
CO MTB League State Championship
Sunday, Oct. 22, 2023
Varsity Girls — 5. Mary McLarnon, 1:28.08; 10. Eva Minotto, 1:29.47; 41. Jesse Weaver, 1:44.57; 50. Liz Lipscomb, 1:50.32.
Varsity Boys — 6. Aidan Haack, 1:15.31. 57. Kyan Strong, 1:26.40; 76. Primo Famiglietti, 1:29.22; 82. Jace Rabesa, 1:30.33.
JV Girls — 8. Anna Rhodes, 1:01.55.
JV Boys — 23. Ryan Montgomery, 54:01.
D3 JV Boys — 124. Ian McLarney, Steamboat Mountain School, 1:01.30.
Sophomore Boys — 15. Thomas Agosta, 55:49; 16. Luke Bedell, 56:03; 100. Mason Kemp, 1:02.08.
Freshman Girls — 4. Whitney Warnke, 1:00.02; 42. Lindsay Berke, 1:15.33; 69. Allison Reznicek, 1:26.10; 72. Aleida Richter, 1:28.36.
Freshman Boys — 52. Oscar Libin, 1:04.26; 74. Jackson Rosencrantz, 1:04.53.
To reach Tom Skulski, call 970-871-4240, email tskulski@SteamboatPilot.com.
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