Middle Park mountain bikers leave it all on the course at state championships
For Sky-Hi News
The Colorado High School Cycling League State Mountain Bike Championships took off in Glenwood Springs last weekend. All 83 teams across the league were present with 820 racers competing. The championships are normally a two-day event but with Sunday’s forecast for winter weather, all of the races were consolidated into a single day on Saturday, Oct. 22. Saturday was sunny with pleasant fall temperatures for the riders to cover the 4.9-mile course. Middle Park showed their team strength, finishing in second place in the 40-team Division 3. They finished 70 points behind the first place team from Crested Butte.
The Panthers’ two varsity athletes, Megan Davis and Gray Barker, finished in ninth and 25th place respectively. Both raced three laps on the course, for a total of 14.4 miles. Davis finished with a time of 1 hour, 25 minutes and 9 seconds (6:02 off the lead) and Barker with 1:10:24 (6:52 off the lead). The statewide field had them competing against big powerhouse schools like Boulder, Fairview and Golden. Coaches do not assign athletes to the varsity category, racers qualify based solely on their prior finishes and point totals. Any rider competing in the varsity category is among the top 10% of high school racers in the state.
Joining them in Glenwood were freshman Jack Pacocha (130th); sophomore Paige Vecchiarelli (52nd); and junior varsity racers Josh Davis (20th), Annie Kuhns (24th), Cambree Burke (63rd) and Nate Myers (129th). Senior Luke Vecchiaarelli was also there, leading the team spirit on crutches as his race season was cut short by a knee injury requiring surgery.
The Panthers also recognized seniors Barker, Luke Peters, Luke Vecchiarelli, Myers and Davis for their leadership this season. All of the senior boys finished their high school careers as legacy riders, meaning they raced with the league all four years and earned the coveted legacy race plate and belt buckle.
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