NICA 2010 California State Championships: Race Report

from Vanessa Hauswald, NorCal League Director

Grass Valley, CA — Nearly 500 student athletes from northern and southern California competed on the custom trails at Loma Rica Ranch in Grass Valley, California, as the second meeting of the NorCal and SoCal high school mountain bike racing leagues met in as many years to determine the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) California state champions.

The 5.8-mile course mixed steep fire-road climbs, plenty of single track, and swoopy, well-burmed turns, as the mostly tree-covered course eventually sent riders around a quarter-mile horse track before winding through the Loma Rica Ranch, seated in the heart of Sierra Nevada Gold Country. With nearly 70 student athletes from the SoCal League mixing it up with the host NorCal League, there were several exciting finishes throughout the day, as 96 girls and 398 boys rode their hearts out for points and a shot at the California state champions jersey in all four categories: Varsity, JV, Soph and Frosh.

Several bike industry VIPs attended the event, including Easton Sports Development Foundation’s Jim Easton, Specialized Bicycle Components owner Mike Sinyard, plus several NICA, NorCal and SoCal board members.

“I’ve been involved in the SoCal League since October 2009,” said Hart District head coach Paula Rogers. “My son Jesse was racing cyclo-cross and downhill, and I wanted him to keep riding his bike, so I built this team around him. He has Asperger’s Syndrome. Kids like him are awesome athletes; it’s just that when they get off their bikes you have to have somebody there to take care of them. Next year we’ll have four more riders with Asperger’s. We’re recruiting them, some from my son’s Asperger’s program, and we’re also involved with the Special Olympics in Santa Clarita because they recently lost their cycling program. Our team is certainly not just for challenged kids like these, however. We want kids of all kinds. Next year we’ll have 30 riders from five high schools. The more kids we can get on bikes, the more they’ll stay out of trouble and be healthy and green. This is the future of our sport, of the cycling industry.”

NorCal League director Vanessa Hauswald echoed Rogers’ enthusiasm.

“The State Championships is always my favorite race of the year due to the energy and enthusiasm that everyone brings to the event,” Hauswald said. “I especially enjoyed watching the kids from both NorCal and SoCal line up and race together so respectfully and with such sportsmanlike behavior. I learned a lot this season and had a great time working with all the League athletes and coaches. We’re already looking forward to the 2011 season!”

Race Results
Varsity Boys

San Rafael senior Will Curtis ended his high school racing career by winning the 23.2-mile Varsity Boy’s race in 1:41:53, narrowly beating SoCal Hemet High senior Zach Valdez by two seconds after racing wheel to wheel the entire event. Tony Smith (Marin Catholic) finished third, nearly two-and-a-half minutes behind. Cody Kaiser (Trojan Composite) and Riley Predum (Drake) rounded out the final podium. Forty-six Varsity boys competed.

Varsity Girls
Sophomore Shayna Powless (Independent) returned to her winning ways after her unbeaten streak was broken by Drake’s Sophia Hamilton at Fort Ord on May 2. Powless won the 17.4-mile Varsity Girl’s race in 1:32:52, while Hamilton finished 3:16 later for second on the day. Victoria Yoham (Marin Catholic), Christine Weir (Nevada Union) and Lauren Catlin (Drake) rounded out the final podium. Twenty-four Varsity girls competed.

JV Boys
In the JV Boy’s Division 1 event, Berkeley High’s Isaiah Rapko took top honors in 1:22:12 over the 17.4-mile course, more than a minute ahead of Redwood High’s Taylor Smith and Folsom’s Sam Wamhoff. Brandon Blakely (Yucaipa High) and Steven Baldock (Nevada Union) rounded out the final podium. Seventy JV boys raced the Division 1 event.

In the JV Boy’s Division 2 race, SoCal independent racer Casey Williams won the 17.4-mile event in 1:18:59, beating Tamalpais High’s Spence Peterson by nearly a minute. Santa Cruz teammates Jacob Albrecht and Tobin Ortenblad finished a couple minutes later, followed by Jefferson’s Brandon Dillard. Fifty-six JV boys raced the Division 2 event.

JV Girls
Branson’s Kate Courtney kept her season-long winning streak alive and well, taking the JV Girls 11.6-mile race in 1:03:40, beating runner-up Sofia Gomez-Villafane (Wildcat Racing) by more than three minutes. Emma Arata (Nevada Union), Renee Salva (Trojan Composite) and Rainee Chandler (Salinas) rounded out the final podium. Thirty-five JV girls competed.

Soph Boys
In the Soph Boy’s Division 1 race, Newport Beach’s Alex Milewski won the 17.4-mile event in 1:28:19, beating Drake’s Mitch Calder by 32 seconds. Devin Eastman (Redwood High), Steven Larson (Salinas) and John Morehouse (Casa Grande) rounded out the day’s final podium. Sixty-eight Soph boys raced the Division 1 event.

In the Soph Boy’s Division 2 race, Branson’s Eliel Anttila won the 17.4-mile event in 1:24:30, nearly a minute ahead of independent runner-up Cody Phillips. Bob Siegel (Tamalpais), Nick Price (Jefferson) and Charlie Cone (Novato) rounded out the final podium. Thirty-four Soph boys competed in the Division 2 event.

Soph Girls
San Ramon’s Emily Lawrence won the Soph Girl’s 11.6-mile race in 1:19:17, beating her teammate Kaitlyn Elvidge by a hair under three minutes. Emily Anderson-Merritt (Berkeley), Hanne Andersen (Miramonte) and Libby Caldwell (Drake) rounded out the final podium. Seventeen Soph girls competed.

Frosh Boys
In the Frosh Boy’s Division 1 event, Drake’s Lucas Newcomb finished the 11.6-mile course in 0:58:37, nipping runner-up Jonathan Kaufman (San Rafael) at the line one second ahead. Daniel Szawarzenski (Drake), Alex Bagg (Yucaipa High) and John Newcomb (Drake) rounded out the day’s podium. Sixty-five Frosh Division 1 boys raced the event.

In the Frosh Boy’s Division 2 event, Tamalpais High’s Alex Howard won the 11.6-mile event in 0:57:00, with only one second separating independent racer Ryan Stevens and Lawrence Smith (Marin Catholic) a minute later for second and third. Howard’s Tamalpais teammate Skyler Taylor finished fourth, just two seconds ahead of independent racer Jack Keane. Forty-nine Frosh boys competed in the Division 2 event.

Frosh Girls
Redwood High’s Josephine Nordrum won the Frosh Girl’s 11.6-mile race in 1:15:37, beating independent racer and Dominique Vanden Dries by a shade over two minutes. Elizabeth Maguire (Casa Grande) finished third, while Annika Hoy (Drake) and Isabella Breen (San Rafael) rounded out the podium. Twenty Frosh girls competed.

For complete individual results, visit NorCal Results.

NorCal Race #4 Team Results
Team results from the May 16 race included combined points from both the NorCal and SoCal Leagues, with the Drake Pirates taking the Division 1 category with 4,404 points, ahead of Nevada Union (4,120) and Redwood High (4,066). For Division 2 teams, Marin Catholic took top honors with 2,229 points, followed by the Branson Bulls (2,126) and Tamalpais High (2,105). For complete results, visit

NorCal Final Points Results: Individual
For the NorCal student athletes, the May 16 race counted toward the overall season series points standings, due to the cancellation of race #3 at Boggs Mountain. The category winners were: Boy’s Varsity: Will Curtis – San Rafael (1,725 points); Girl’s Varsity: Shayna Powless – Independent (1,725); Boy’s JV Division 1: Isaiah Rapko – Berkeley High (1,640); Boy’s JV Division 2: Spence Peterson – Tamalpais High (1,639); Girl’s JV: Kate Courtney – Branson (1,650); Boy’s Soph Division 1: Steven Larson – Salinas (1,544); Boy’s Soph Division 2: Eliel Anttila – Branson (1,565); Girl’s Soph: Emily Lawrence – San Ramon (1,560); Boy’s Frosh Division 1: Daniel Szawarzenski – Drake (1,534); Boy’s Frosh Division 2: Alex Howard – Tamalpais (1,575); Girl’s Frosh: Dominique Vanden Dries – Independent (1,544).

Students were awarded 25 bonus points for completing all races. For complete results, visit NorCal Results.

NorCal Final Points Results: Teams
Drake High captured the Division 1 overall team award with 16,353 points, ahead of Salinas (15,802) and San Rafael (15,166). In Division 2, Marin Catholic took top honors with 8,060, followed by the Santa Cruz Chain Gang (7,912) and Branson (7,849). For complete results, visit NorCal Results.

“Our goal this year was to repeat our championship, which hadn’t been done before,” said Drake head coach Paul Chourre. “Every year is different. You think you have it all figured out and then some team shows up from nowhere with a lot of power. It’s been super exciting this year. The secret is keeping it fun. You have to find a balance to not make it too intimidating so newer riders can ease into it, but still make it competitive for those who are. You have victories big and small, individual and team. Little victories are like when a rider finally finishes a race, and big victories are like when a rider is first or second in a big meet like this. It’s so rewarding. You make a difference in kids’ lives every day. It’s an incredible opportunity for kids, to get involved in a sport they can do all their lives.”

NorCal League founder Matt Fritzinger also witnessed his last race as director; Fritzinger is now the executive director of NICA, and has passed the reins to Hauswald.

“It was wonderful how many parents and athletes found me and told me how much the League means to them,” Fritzinger said. “This work has been very gratifying, but I’m also very proud of the NorCal staff we have. They’re doing such a great job.

“It was also a great honor of giving Jim Easton a tour of such a historic and beautiful race venue,” he added. “Jim is on the International Olympic Committee and he and his wife had not yet seen a high school race; they were very impressed. Jim founded the SoCal League, and for him to witness the close Boy’s Varsity finish between NorCal and SoCal was priceless. It was also bitter sweet to watch over 100 seniors gather for the Class of 2010 photo.”

Loma Rica Ranch
Trails for the NICA 2010 California State Championship were created during the summer of 2009, with more than 900 volunteer hours contributed by the Youth Bicyclists of Nevada County Foundation’s Trail Stewardship Program of teen club members, parents, contractors, and local non-profit volunteers. The hilly course was held on a 127-acre parcel with flowy single tracks among stands of old pine and madrone stands. For more information, visit YBONC.

NorCal results for Granite Bay Invitational, Race #2

Berkeley, CA (March 24, 2010) The second race of the 2010 NorCal High School Cycling League brought out 492 student athletes on March 21, held at the Folsom Lake State Recreational Area in Granite Bay, California, under partly cloudy skies with temperatures in the high 60s.

Just two weeks after the season opener in Fort Ord near Seaside, California, the second race provided just as much excitement as the first, with Varsity Boys co-leaders Will Curtis (San Rafael) and Bryan Duke (Salinas High) sprinting in the sand on the uphill finish after 24 miles of intense racing. Curtis went wide on the final corner, beating Duke to the line by one second for an overall race time of 1:38:07.

“After losing the sprint at a race in San Dimas last weekend, I decided to save my legs for the end today”, the third-year Varsity rider said after the race. ”Cody (Kaiser) wanted to lead at the beginning so we let him. Bryan and I started attacking each other on the third lap, and took over the race lead.”

 “Tony (Smith) was sick this past week, and was dropped on the descent”, Curtis added. ”Bryan attacked on the final fire road, and I gave everything I had into the sand pit. He took the outside line, which was deep. It was an awesome race, and it appears there won’t be any domination this season.”

Curtis and Duke shared the race leaders jersey after the first race, where a late-race crash involving JV boys caused Curtis and Duke to take different lines, with Duke crossing the line ahead of Curtis.  The Salinas High student asked the judges after the race to share both the victory and the leaders jersey with Curtis. After the March 21 event, though, Curtis now holds the lead heading into the April 11 race at Boggs Mountain.

“It was another exciting race for several reasons”, NorCal founder Matt Fritzinger said. ”Lots of exciting action, with another close finish to the Varsity Boys race. Despite what happened at the first race, Will and Bryan raced wheel to wheel Sunday, so for them to go that fast with so much composure showed a lot of class.”

 In typical NorCal fashion, three Varsity riders — Cameron Hays, Evan Shorter and Skyler Nilsen — did an impromptu game of rock-paper-scissors (roshambo) right before the finish line to determine their finish order. Fifty-one boys raced the event, held on a 6-mile combination of twisting single-track, wide double track and rolling cross-country terrain over four laps.

Varsity Girls

 Independent racer Shayna Powless kept her winning streak alive in the Varsity Girls race, beating Marin Catholics Victoria Yoham. The Roseville resident finished the 18-mile course in 1:26:44.

 “I trained mainly on these trails this week, because we only live 15 minutes from here”, Powless said. ”I have a couple track meets between this race and the next, and I’ll do both the road and mountain bike races at Sea Otter following the next NorCal race.”  Twenty-two Varsity girls raced the event.

The third race of the 2010 season, the Boggs Mountain Classic, will take place near Cobb, California, and according to many insiders, will be one of the most challenging courses so far.

“Boggs will be a harder, more technical course”, Vanessa Hauswauld, the NorCal League director-in-training said. ”There will be more climbing than the first two races, a true mountain bikers challenge.”

Boggs has lots of trees and exposed rock with tons of singletrack.

Second-year Varsity Boys racer Colby Pastore of Casa Grande, in his fourth year racing the NorCal League, felt good about his 10-place finish in Granite Bay, but knows that Boggs wont be easy.

“I felt good Sunday”, he said. ”I didn’t finish my first NorCal race; I was more careful with my preparation this time. Boggs is my arch enemy!”

JV Boys

 Berkeley Highs Isaiah Rapko, a noted road and cyclo-cross racer, came into the second race with a similar plan as Will Curtis:  conserve energy for a big finish. His plan worked, as the final turn proved almost as exciting as the Varsity Boys race, with Rapko narrowly beating Drakes Nik Dommen and Redwood Highs Taylor Smith to the line by two and five seconds, respectively. Rapko finished the 18-mile event in 1:21:14. Sixty-eight students raced the event Sunday, with Smith holding on to the race leader’s jersey.

 “I knew I wasnt the fastest going into todays race, but the plan was to grab some wheels and save myself for the end”, Rapko said. ”I only led for five minutes the whole race; we had a very close finish, coming into the final corner pretty tight.”

 Tamalpais Highs Spence Peterson continued his winning streak, taking the JV Boys Division 2 race by 3:36 over Santa Cruz rider Jacob Albrecht. Peterson finished the 18-mile event in 1:15:43, maintaining his hold on the race leader’s jersey. Fifty-seven students raced the event.

 JV Girls

 Branson High freshman Kate Courtney, fresh off her win in the Freshman Girl’s event March 7, won the JV Girl’s 12-mile race by a similar margin this time, finishing nearly three minutes ahead of Salinas High’s Rainee Chandler in 1:00:26. Trojan Composite’s Maren Cosens holds the overall race leader’s jersey. Thirty-two girls raced the event.

 Sophomore Boys

 Salinas High’s Steve Larson held off a strong Sophomore Boy’s Division 1 field to finish the 18-mile course in 1:20:11, beating Folsom duo James Amort and Avery Cook by 1:20 and 3:02, respectively.  Larson’s teammate Matthew Epperson finished fourth, seven seconds later. Seventy-eight boys raced the event.

In the Sophomore Boy’s Division 2 race, Tamalpais High’s Bob Siegel turned in a winning time of 1:20:29 to hold on to his race leader’s jersey. Branson’s Eliel Anttila took second, 1:24 behind, with Jefferson teammates Carson Schmeck and Nick Price crossing the line in third and fourth places. Thirty-three boys raced the event.

 Sophomore Girls

 El Cerrito’s Julia Martien won the Sophomore Girl’s 12-mile race in 1:08:45, besting runner-up Emily Lawrence (San Ramon) by 1:26, holding on to her leader’s jersey. Sixteen girls raced the event.

 Freshman Boys

 Salinas Highs Brian Bauman won the Freshman Boys Division 1 race, a 12-mile event with 64 students competing. Baumans time was 0:55:36, just four and 10 seconds ahead of second- and third-place finishers Wyatt Morin (Woodcreek) and Daniel Szawarzenski (Drake) respectively.

 The Freshman Boys Division 2 race was won by Tamalpais High’s Alex Howard, who beat his teammate Skyler Taylor by 1:09 over the 12-mile event. The top 10 finishers all came in under an hour, as all 52 students raced hard on the fast, sandy course.

Freshman Girls

 In the exciting Freshman Girl’s 12-mile race, Salinas High’s Maddie Gieger pipped independent racer Dominique Vanden Dries near the line to take the victory in 1:08:57, by just one second. Nineteen girls raced the event.

 Team Results

 Division 1 Team Results from the March 21 event had the Salinas High School Mountain Bike Team come out on top with a combined 3,989 points over the Drake Pirates (3,978). Folsom High finished third with 3,731 points, San Rafael had 3,720, and Redwood High had 3,683.

After the first two of five races, Salinas leads overall with 8,000 points, with Drake trailing at 7,906, and San Rafael in third with 7,443 points.

 The Division 2 Team Results had the Marin Catholic Mountain Bike Club in first with 1,999 points, ahead of the Santa Cruz Chain Gang by 72 points. The new Trojans High School Mountain Bike Composite Team is in a close third, just six points behind Santa Cruz. Overall, Santa Cruz has 3,895 combined points, with the Trojans in second with 3,880 and Tamalpais in third with 3,831 points.

 So Far, So Good

 Overall, Hauswald was very pleased with the second race of the NorCal League season.

 “I saw the head coach of San Ramon bringing 16 or 17 girls to the start line, she said. We don’t always have that many girls on one given team, and this is a great sign for the future of women’s cycling. We also heard about better passing etiquette throughout the day, and a lot of our athletes who had exceptional races today”

 The third race of the 2010 NorCal League season will be the Boggs Mountain Classic held near Cobb, California on Sunday, April 11.

 About the NorCal High School Cycling League

 The NorCal High School Cycling League, founded in 2000, is a non-profit organization open to students from both public and private schools. The League exists by virtue of a range of fundraising activities as well as generous donors and sponsors including the founding sponsor of the SoCal League, Easton Foundations; the founding national sponsor, Specialized Bicycle Components, as well as SRAM, Trek Bicycles, Clif Bar and Co., Fox Racing Shox, Creation Engine, GU Sports, Mike’s Bikes, Primal Wear, Santa Cruz Bicycles, and Touchstone Climbing Gyms. The League provides coaching and camaraderie to help students achieve both competitive and non-competitive cross-country mountain biking goals in a safe and enjoyable manner. Each season includes a fall Leader’s Summit for coaches, winter riding camps, the five-race series, and a variety of summer camps. For more information on the League visit or call (510) 524-5464.

For highlight slide show, click here

For photos highlights with captions, click here

For full results, click here

NorCal results from the Central Coast Invitational, Race #1

Greeting League coaches, athletes, parents and sponsors:

Congratulations to all on your first race of the season. It was great to see so many of you racing, coaching and spectating with such enthusiasm. For the most part we saw excellent sportsmanship demonstrated; however, there were some reports of overly aggressive passing. We know that riders were excited to do well, but we firmly believe that all League athletes can and should ride and race with the utmost of respect for their fellow racers. As such, we will address this at this weekend’s Granite Bay race. I’d be more than happy to hear your thoughts about the Central Coast Invitational, so please feel free to email me this week or next; I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again for all your hard work out there!

Please enjoy the following race report from Gary Boulanger.


Vanessa Hauswald,

League Director in Training

Central Coast Invitational: Race Report( By: Gary Boulanger)

The first race of the 2010 NorCal High School Mountain Bike Racing League was held under cloudy skies on a 5.17-mile singletrack course snaking through Fort Ord in Seaside, California on March 7, as 491 student athletes competed for the leader’s jersey in their respective events.

Celebrating its 10th season, the NorCal League season opener was attended by nearly 1,600 student athletes, volunteers, coaches, parents and friends on a course a few miles inland from the Pacific Ocean, just 14 miles north of the Sea Otter Classic site at Laguna Seca Raceway. New NorCal League executive in training director Vanessa Hauswald was very pleased with the day’s results.

“The first race exceeded my expectations!” she said. “The course was spectacular, the volunteer support was unbelievable, and the athletes put forth an incredible amount of effort. I was also very impressed with the sportsmanship of both the athletes and the coaches. If we can get the same number of volunteers for race #2, we will again be in good shape to thoroughly support all teams.”

The 2010 season begins

Founding executive director Matt Fritzinger began the day’s racing by calling the Varsity Girls to the start line at 10 a.m., where 24 girls took the line for 16 miles, or four laps. Sophomore independent racer Shayna Powless (Ventana), the reigning Varsity Girl’s champion, finished the course in 1:20:32, beating Folsom’s Karli Haugen by 1:37 to earn the leader’s jersey heading into Race #2 in Folsom on March 21. Christine Weir (Nevada Union), Victoria Yoham (Marin Catholic) and Sofia Hamilton (Drake) rounded out the podium. Twenty-four girls raced the Varsity event.

“I had a track meet yesterday, and spun on my bike for a cool down to get ready for today’s race,” Powless said. “They changed the course a bit this year, and it was good.”

Tangled mess ends in harmony

The drama of the day belonged to the Varsity Boy’s race, as Salinas High School rider Bryan Duke and San Rafael’s Will Curtis sprinted toward the finish line after nearly 20 miles of intense racing, only to be hindered by an errant crash of two JV riders on the course.  Curtis went left to avoid the pile-up, but unclipped his foot to avoid hitting the fencing. Duke subsequently crossed the line in 1:24:31, just 36 seconds of Curtis. In a remarkable show of character, Duke asked the race officials if he and Curtis could share the victory, as well as the Varsity Boy’s race leader’s jersey.

“I knew today’s race was going to be hard, with more competition than normal, but I didn’t think I’d be going for first or second at the end,” Duke said. “I was starting to cramp in the last lap; Will was leading most of the way toward the end.”

Fritzinger was impressed. After discussing the situation with race officials, he granted Duke’s request.

“This is an honorable decision, and the kind of decision the NorCal League applauds,” he added as the Varsity Boy’s podium dwellers — including reigning national cyclo-cross champion Cody Kaiser, Alec Kassin and Chris Bennett — raised their hands to the roar of the crowd. Duke and Curtis beamed from the top step, each wearing the leader’s jersey.

“This is Will’s third season racing Varsity, and he has never won a Varsity race,” said San Rafael coach Dave Curtis and Will’s father.”  He has always been behind a John Bennett or Nate Byrom. Will was only seconds away from finally realizing his dream, only to have it suddenly vanish in a freak mishap. To Brian’s credit, he was right there and put himself in position to take advantage of Will’s misfortune. Sharing the podium with Will was a class gesture by Brian.” Forty-nine boys raced the Varsity event.

JV Girls

In the JV Girl’s race, Trojan Composite rider Maren Cosens beat Salinas High School’s Rainee Chandler by 1:10 after 12 miles of racing. Wildcat Racing’s Sofia Gomez-Villafane rounded out the podium with Chandler’s Salinas teammate Kristen DeBerdt and Monterey Bay’s Olivia Hays. Thirty-two girls raced the JV event.

Freshman Girls

In the Freshman Girl’s race, Branson Bulls Mountain Bike Club’s Kate Courtney, an avid skier, won her first-ever race in 1:04:01, beating Salinas High’s Maddie Giger by 3:26 after 12 miles on the day.  Independent racer Dominique Vanden Dries finished third, while Casa Grande’s Elizabeth Maguire and Giger’s Salinas teammate Quincee Chandler rounded out the podium. Twenty-one girls raced the Freshman event.

The day began poorly for San Rafael with a crash on the pavement start, when Bella Breen was accidentally taken out by another rider who swerved in front of her, causing three San Rafael girls to go down. They all waited a few minutes while for the EMTs to arrive, then continued on. Breen received a splint and eight stitches for a lacerated knee, and is out for a few weeks.

JV Boys

With four races already wrapped up for the day, it was time for the JV Boy’s Division 1 event, a 16-miler with 69 boys toeing the start line. At the end of a very fast race, Salinas High’s Clayton Grissom edged San Rafael’s Ford Zimmerman by 2:21 to take the leader’s jersey, winning on the day in 57 minutes. Albany’s Daniel Goodman, Redwood High’s Taylor Smith, and Goodman’s Albany teammate Alberto Santos-Davidson rounded out the final podium.

The JV Boy’s Division 2 race proved to be another fast one, if only for Oakmont’s Erik Strasser, who finished the 16-mile course in 1:01:18, more than 11 minutes before runner-up Spence Peterson of Tamalpais High. Independent racer Nick Casaccia finished third, while Novato’s Chris Ravina and Trojan Composite rider Kyle Beasy rounded out the podium. Fifty-four boys raced the JV Division 2 event.

“The top few Varsity and JV riders have always been really fast,” said Mark Kintz, coach of the Monterey Kingfishers. “What’s astonishing now is how deep that capability reaches back into the ranks. The top 15 riders in each class are all really good. As coaching programs have matured at the schools and the shared know-how has been distributed at our coach’s seminars; this is the natural outcome.”

Sophomore Boys

In the largest event of the day, 77 Sophomore boys competed in the Division 1 race, with eventual winner Steve Larson (Salinas High) beating his teammate Griffin Sims by 1:23. Larson’s time was 53:55.  Redwood High’s Devin Eastman, Drake’s Tommy Breeze, and Salinas High’s Matthew Epperson rounded out the podium. Eleven athletes didn’t finish the race, but with the second race less than two weeks away, are already getting ready for redemption.

In the closest contest of the day, Tamalpais High’s Bob Siegel pipped Branson’s Eliel Anttila at the line, winning the Sophomore Boy’s Division 2 race by 1 second after 16 heated miles of racing. A mere 25 seconds separated third- through fifth-place finishers Charlie Cone (Novato), Carson Schmeck (Jefferson), and Tyler Jones (Maria Curillo MTB Team), who finished just 34 seconds behind the top two.  Thirty-five Sophomores competed in the Division 2 event.

Freshman Boys

No less exciting was the Division 1 Freshman Boy’s race, as Woodcreek High’s Wyatt Morin grabbed the victory 14 seconds ahead of Drake’s Daniel Szawarzenski with a winning time of 55:22 after 12 miles of competition. San Rafael’s Jonathan Kaufman, Redwood High’s Ian Stowe, and Szawarzenski’s Drake teammate John Newcomb rounded out the podium.

Sixty-five Freshman Boys raced the Division 1 event.

Teamwork was the name of the game in the Freshman Boy’s Division 2 race, as Santa Cruz teammates Tobin Ortenblad and Jacob Albrecht triumphed over Tamalpais teammates Alex Howard and Skyler Taylor.  Ortenblad beat Albrecht by 50 seconds, finishing the 12-mile race in 50:43. Independent racer Jack Keane rounded out the final podium.

Fifty-two Freshman Boys raced the Division 2 event.

All told, 21 independent racers competed at Fort Ord. Drake High School had the most student athletes, 50, while the San Ramon Valley Club Team had 36. Berkeley High and the Nevada Union Miners brought 34 each, while the San Rafael Bulldogs and Folsom High brought 28 each.

“Some of the highlights of the event for me were watching all of the first year teams have a successful and fun race, and seeing all of the Freshman boys and girls race their first NorCal League race with such enthusiasm,” Hauswald said. NorCal League board vice president and Berkely High School assistant coach Austin McInerny echoed Hauswald.

“Riders cheered one another on during and after their own races,” McInerny said. “This type of support and friendliness is so rare in todays society and it is very refreshing to see it happen. Also, the sheer number of volunteers working to provide a safe experience for all was truly inspirational.”

Team Results

The Salinas High School Mountain Bike Team took top honors in the Division 1 Team category, ending the day with 4,011 points. Drake High School finished second overall with 3,928 points, just ahead of the San Rafael Bulldogs (3,713) and Berkeley High School (3,636).  Redwood High School sits fifth with 3,630 points.

In Division 2, the Trojans High School Mountain Bike Composite Team, which is a brand new team, finished in first place with 1,953 points, squeaking by the second-place Santa Cruz Chain Gang by a mere 9 points. The Branson Bulls Mountain Bike Club and Tamalpais High School each scored 1912 points to share third place, with the Novato Hornets finishing fifth with 1,894 points.

Click here for complete Team Results.

The second race of the 2010 NorCal League season takes place in the Folsom Lake State Recreation Area near Granite Bay, California on Sunday, March 21.

Click here for a slideshow of photos of the March 7 NorCal race #1 in Seaside, CA. All photos should be credited: Robert Lowe. Click here for a standard link of Robert Lowe’s photos.

Gary Boulanger, board president

National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)

Dawgs Take 3rd Place at 3/7/10 Central Coast Invitational

Great effort by everyone last Sunday! The results are still not posted, which is unusual. Must be a tech glitch. But our trusty cipher Rob Carrade figures Salinas won it with over 4000 pts, averaging over 500 pts. a rider for their 8 scorers. This is astounding, nobody has ever broken 4000 before, it means every one of their scorers was on the podium, lots of purple up there.

Drake came in unofficially with about 3900 – usually enough to win, we are at about 3725 – perhaps enough the third.

We had a some stand-out efforts Sunday from a few top Dawgs that must be acknowledged:

First up, in the Varsity race which featured three racers with European race experience and the National Cyclocross Champion. Clayton Herrick finished 7th in this elite gorup, ahead of all but two of the touted Whole Athlete riders, including the State Juniors Road Champion. Way to hammer Bilo!!!!!  We are all proud of your effort.

Secondly, Johnny Kaufman takes 3rd in Freshman – on the box in his very first race!  He even lead the race at several times, before crashing. Now Johnny knows he can win it.

Third, Will Curtis should be commended not only for pulling the lead group for most of the Varsity race, but for handling the controversial sprint / crash controversy like a gentleman. Grace under pressure, and everyone knows who really won.

Let’s all wish Bella a speedy recovery. Bella hit the floor hard, through no fault of her own, during the start of the freshman girls race and has 8 stitches in her knee. Tough way to start your very first race.

Next up is Granite Bay, Folsom Lake, a week from this Sunday – complete with it’s sandy beach start.  The Dawgs have historically done well here – we won it last year. This may be because it is similar to China Camp –  about the same topography as Ft. Ord, but with more technical rock gardens. Many of you will need to practice some of these rocky sections a half-dozen times during the pre-ride to figure out how to pick your way through them. And the girls especially – we need to practice this week on getting you out of the saddle on the climbs, this is key.

~Coach Dave