RACE REPORT – SERIES FINAL

Race #4 | Sierra Nevada Championships

Tahoe Donner Alder Creek Adventure Center – Truckee, CA
October 23rd, 2016

Copious amounts of bitterly cold rain meant only one possibility for the scheduled league championships – postponement. When you live in the mountains, severe weather is always a threat and often a reality; luckily for all of us, the leadership of the Nevada League made sure not to put any riders, parents, or volunteers through what certainly would have been a most uncomfortable day at the least, and possibly a dangerous one at worst. One week can make all the difference, and sure enough, the following weekend brought perfect riding conditions back to the Truckee/Tahoe area. Race day dawned sunny and clear, and despite cold overnight temps (and frozen trails!), temperatures climbed to the low 60’s, ideal for the hard efforts to come from middle school and high school racers.

One week can make all the difference, and sure enough, the following weekend brought perfect riding conditions back to the Truckee/Tahoe area.

The Tahoe Donner community pulled out all the stops for the first-ever competitive mountain bike race hosted on their trails. All of the facilities of the Tahoe Donner Adventure center were open and available to racers and their families – restrooms, the café, the bike shop, and of course, the newly remodeled and extremely comfortable lodge. Hanging out at the Tahoe Donner Adventure Center is like being a guest at a 4-star resort! The Tahoe Donner code clearly includes creature comforts. Why not be comfortable when enjoying a mountain bike race? And why not create a course that, dare we say it, equaled (some might even say surpassed!) the amazing experience of Mammoth? That’s high praise indeed, and certainly a feather in the cap for our friends in Truckee who helped make it happen, including the Truckee Fire Department, which stepped up to provide EMS services Sunday at no cost to the league, despite some Saturday confusion.

Racers were energized to be competing for the season points title, and the competition to become an overall Nevada League champion was fierce.

Racers were energized to be competing for the season points title, and the competition to become an overall Nevada League champion was fierce. Matt Seline of Truckee won the middle school boys’ race, which earned him enough points to tie his teammate Cody Flynn (who finished second in the race) for the overall season title. Third place in both the race and the series went to North Tahoe’s Kai Morgan. The girls’ middle school race also produced co-champions. Reno Composite’s Astrid Crow won the race and tied Ciara Wing for the overall title. Paloma Nolan captured second place in the race and third place overall. The advanced middle school boys’ division was the only middle school category without co-champions. Travis Boucher of Placer Foothills Composite took both the race and series title. Second and third in the race went to Giovanni Galeoto and Sam Evans, while Khy Kinsey and Finn Loper captured second and third for the year.

Freshman racer Mya Dixon of Galena completed a perfect run for the year by winning the race and the series title over her teammate, second place Emma Herschbach, who also earned the second spot in the overall series. Sam Ouzounian, also from Galena, finished his season strong with two wins in a row and three overall to take the freshman boys’ season title. Second place in both the race and the season series went to his teammate, Arturo Oti. Previous points leader Justin Kinser of Alta Alpina Composite was unable to compete in the final race and finished third in the season points battle.

Sophomore Galena rider Mikaela Echo capped off her outstanding year with an emphatic race victory, keeping her unbeaten streak alive for the season and earning the overall Nevada League title for sophomore girls. Adelaide Crow of Reno Composite and Taylor Jenkins of Carson High School finished second and third, respectively, in both the race and the series. On the boys’ side, Carson High’s Tobin McRae held on to his leader’s jersey with a win, followed by Truckee’s Shane Swigard and North Tahoe’s Andrew Bourke. And as with the girls, the boys’ season results mirrored the race results – Tobin McRae winning the series, Shane Swigard second, and Andrew Bourke third.

In the girls’ JV race, Galena’s Madison White shook things up a bit by taking the victory at the final race, but it wasn’t enough to move past points leader Lily Bradley of North Tahoe High for the overall series win. Bradley’s second place finish and strong overall season earned her the Nevada League season title for JV girls. Galena’s Veronica Gardella earned third in both the race and the season series. Following a second place finish at Mammoth, Galena’s Jackson Miers earned his first victory of the year with a dominating ride, finishing over two minutes ahead of his friend and teammate, second place Matthew Nugent. However, Nugent’s impressive season carried him to an overall Nevada League title. Miers finished third in the series, just behind Reno Composite’s Drew Swall, whose third place race finish and strong season earned him the number two spot overall.

Truckee High’s Syra Fillet finished off an outstanding season of racing with a victory in the girls’ varsity race. Behind North Tahoe’s Anna Yamauchi after the first lap, Fillet fired off two fast circuits to take the race win and the overall series championship. Yamauchi finished second in the race and third overall. Despite Incline’s Ursula Volz’ third place at the race, McQueen’s Aubrey Milner’s consistency for the year paid off with a second place overall finish in the series championship. The boys’ varsity race was a nail-biter. In his second race of the year, North Tahoe’s Ross Tester nipped points leader Austin Smith of Galena High. The two raced head to head until Tester was able to eek out a 2 second lead on the third lap. Smith raced hard, but finished less than two seconds behind Tester. Not all was lost for Smith, however. His second place finish gave him enough points to win the overall series championship, one spot ahead of Mammoth champion Danner Hillman of Alta Alpina Composite, whose third place finish earned enough points to claim the second spot for the series, one point ahead of North Tahoe’s Cooper Anderson, who was unable to race this week. Tester’s victory helped North Tahoe to the team title for the championship race and brought them to a tie on points with Galena for the season title. Because the tie-breaker was the championship race results, North Tahoe earned the overall team championship for the inaugural season of the Nevada League. Congratulations Lakers!

The Nevada League may have been the brainchild of founder Doug Bedient, but Doug is quick to point out that the league belongs to each and every one of its participants and volunteers.

Post-race, the Tahoe Donner Adventure Center’s back deck hosted the awards ceremonies for both race winners and league champions, who were given special championship jerseys to commemorate the achievement. It was a fitting end to an outstanding first year. The Nevada League may have been the brainchild of founder Doug Bedient, but Doug is quick to point out that the league belongs to each and every one of its participants and volunteers. To be a part of creating something so special, something so positive for our kids and communities, something that will be a legacy for parents and their children for years to come, is truly an honor for all of us. So many people came together to make this first year such a success, willingly volunteering their time and energies for the good of all. The result of such a strong commitment to volunteerism was a first-year league that rivals any other in the country – even those that have been established for years. Special thanks to everyone who participated! Whether you competed in a league event, participated in the local club rides, volunteered your time as a coach or event production team, you were there at the start. We look forward to 2017 and expanding opportunities for all student athletes, however they choose to participate. Until next year…

Complete event results of all the amazing athletes who participated in the Nevada League series final can be found at the event page – http://www.nevadamtb.org/events/about/race-4-sierra-nevada-mtb-championships/

Chris Anderson – Event Reporter and League Supporter

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Thank you to all my volunteer core event staff for a successful inaugural season. That’s a wrap. -Doug Bedient League Director