Summit mountain bike team takes 2nd in Showdown in the Boat bike race

Cody Jones
Summit Daily

After officially starting the season by cruising around the tight and curvy trails of the Frisco Peninsula, the Summit Tigers mountain bike team made a short trip up north to compete in the Showdown in the Boat mountain bike race at Howelsen Hill Ski Area in Steamboat Springs.

With beautiful, late-summer conditions throughout the day on Saturday, Sept. 9, the team battled through the hilly and challenging course. Freshman and junior varsity athletes completed the two-lap, 11-mile course, while varsity athletes took on the three-lap, 16.5-mile course.

The freshman boys started out the day of racing, with Summit sending a total of seven athletes to the start line. Leading the way for the Tigers was Trent Granshaw who completed the first lap in 29 minutes, 45 seconds, and then closed hard over the second lap (30:01) in order to place fourth overall with a total time of 59:46.33.

Summit’s Devin Mumford quickly followed Granshaw, placing fifth overall (1:01:01.06). A trio of Tigers rounded out the top 25, with Braydon Ernst placing 18th (1:08:14.86), Gabi Bonta finishing two spots back in 20th (1:09:29.56) and Austin Johnson placing 22nd (1:09:42.70).

Although Summit missed out on scoring points in the freshman girls race, the team’s strong core of second-year talent helped fill in the gaps in scoring. After placing first at the Frisco Bay Invitational two weeks ago, Summit’s Finn Brown fought for another finish within the top three at the Showdown in the Boat.

With Boulder’s Owen Verner once again rivaling Brown, the two formidable cyclists tore through the course, leaving the chase pack in the settling dust. Brown finished the first lap in 25:44, sporting more than a minute lead over Verner in second place, but it was not enough to secure a second straight title. Verner managed to drive in a huge second lap and passed Brown over the final 5.5-mile lap. Verner placed first (52:24.96), and Brown followed in second (52:54.64).

Noah Dippenaar followed Brown in sixth (57:00.07), Axel Crawford finished 12th (59:06.25), Lucas Daigler finished 30th (1:04:37.90) and Hendrix Harmala placed 67th (1:26:39.70).

Summit also raced extremely well in the junior varsity races. In the junior varsity girls race, sophomore Fiona Florio successfully led the 18-girl field through the first lap of the race in a time of 29:36 as she attempted to defend her first-place finish at the Frisco Bay Invitational.

With Steamboat Springs’ Anna Rhodes trailing Florio by two seconds over the first lap, an all-out race to the finish line developed over the last lap. Eventually, Rhodes was able to break past Florio and nab first place on her home course with a time of 59:34.48.

Florio completed the last lap in 31:44 to place second (1:01:20.80) while senior Samantha Myers placed 16th in the junior varsity girls race (1:29:47.20).

The junior varsity boys race saw three Summit athletes place in the top 20, with ninth-place senior Mateo Bonta recording the team’s highest finish overall (56:40.25).

Bonta was followed by his brother, Nicholas Bonta in 13th place (58:19.82) and junior Reid Litwiller in 16th (59:00.05).

With the varsity races spanning 16.5 miles, proper pacing and strategy were necessary in order to ensure an athlete didn’t deplete all of their energy in the first two laps. Summit juniors Eli Love and Mason Wescott did well to execute their race plan, getting out comfortably hard, settling into a pace and not falling off too much over the final lap.

The smart racing from the duo resulted in top-25 finishes, with Love placing 23rd (1:27:34.30) and Wescott placing 25th (1:28:58.42).

Despite falling off the pace a little bit over the final lap, junior Isaac York placed 35th overall (1:35:12.96).

Junior Aila Harmala rounded out the Summit performances with a strong 11th-place finish in the varsity girls race. With three fairly consistent laps, Harmala finished in 1:46:17.34.

Florio, Harmala and Brown all led the team in points at the race, with each athlete earning close to 500 points for their performances. With a total of 4,690 points, Summit placed second overall in Division 2 of the Yampa Region for the second race in row.

Steamboat Springs placed first overall with 5,253 points with Aidan Haack and Mary McLarnon scoring 575 points each in the varsity races.

Now halfway through the high school mountain bike season, Brown and Florio each are point leaders in their respective race categories. Brown leads the sophomore boys with 550 points and Florio leads the junior varsity girls with 590 points.

The Summit Tigers mountain bike team will now prepare for the Cloud City Challenge on Sunday, Sept. 24, at the Colorado Mountain College campus, located at at 901 U.S. Highway 24. in Leadville. The day of racing is scheduled to begin at 8:15 a.m. and wrap up with awards around 5 p.m.

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