Steamboat’s Haack earns championship at mountain bike state race
STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Winning four of five freshman boys mountain bike races this fall, Steamboat Winter Sports Club mountain biker Caleb Haack is the state champion.
At the state race in Durango on Sunday, Oct. 20, Haack won the freshman boys race in a time of 53 minutes, 9.43 seconds. Haack, a freshman at Steamboat Springs High School, won the last three North Division competitions after taking sixth in the season opener.
He faced all new riders at state though, as the South and North riders met on the same trail.
Haack and Kade Kreikemeier, of Fort Collins, rode most of the race together, but when Kreikemeier crashed on lap two, it came down to Haack and Mack Otter, out of Durango, who “came out of nowhere,” according to Haack.
“I kind of heard him passing. It was about a mile away from the finish,” Haack said. “I just started sprinting. If it was 15 meters longer, he probably would have out-sprinted me, but it happened to be that distance. On the switchbacks before, I kind of went no brakes just hoping I wouldn’t wash out my front wheel. I dropped him a little bit. That’s how it finished.”
The two had a photo finish, with Haack pulling ahead by 0.42 seconds.
“(That was) the first time he was really challenged in a race, and he gave it his absolute all,” head coach Blair Seymour said. “He almost collapsed at the finish.”
Haack is the third Steamboat freshman state champion to emerge in the last seven years. The last two opted to continue skiing, but Haack said he’s definitely sticking with mountain biking.
This is Haack’s third season with the team. He also cross country skis in the winter and Alpine skis with his friends, but mountain biking has a special place in his heart.
“In cross country skiing, everyone is super serious,” he said. “But in mountain biking, everyone is there to have fun. They don’t really care how they do. They just want to be able to race and meet new people and have fun.”
Two other bikers stood out to Seymour at the state race, including Ryley Seibel in the junior varsity girls race. Seibel started the race in 71st place but finished 19th with a time of 1:08.43.
“She just had fire in her eyes and was determined to go fast and place well,” Seymour said. “She moved up 52 spots.”
Jaxson Fryer, a team captain, blazed through the crowd in the boys junior varsity race.
“He started 110th and moved up 76 spots to 34th,” Seymour said. “He just was on fire.”
Tallying up the team points, Steamboat finished eighth among Divsion II teams.
Capping off the successful season, the Steamboat mountain bike team received the Golden Pick award, which is granted to the Northern Conference team that records the most trail work.
Seymour kept track of the hours the kids put into trail maintenance, and Steamboat put in the most trail work per person on the team.
Colorado High School Mountain Bike State Championship
1. Madigan Munro, Boulder, 1:24.59.06. 36. Eliza Fox, Steamboat, 1:44.21.38
1. Riley Amos, Animas, 1:39.39.58.
Junior Varsity Girls
1. Maggie Holcomb, Durango, 59:30.21. 19. Ryley Seibel, Steamboat, 1:08.43.02. 39. Rose Epstein, Steamboat, 1:188.8.131.52. Elena Wittemyer, Steamboat, 1:19.50.86.
Junior Varsity Boys
1. Ivan Sippy, Durango, 1:19.42.60. 34. Jaxson Fryer, Steamboat, 1:30.23.79. 77. Gunnar Gilbertson, Steamboat, 1:35.46.88.
1. Marin Ward, Summit, 1:07.36.70.
1. Jonny Stanzione, Boulder, 53:31.5. 80. Max Hamilton, Steamboat, 1:05.00.38. 94. Colvin Vickles, Steamboat, 1:06.29.37. 106. Keegan Millen, Steamboat, 1:08.01.29.
1. Willow Lott, Durango, 1:04.28.45. 71. Madeline Rochon, Steamboat, 1:35.12.17.
1. Caleb Haack, Steamboat, 53:09.43. 24. Thomas Cooper, Steamboat, 1:01.48.11.
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