State Championships, Los Olivos CA – May 20, 2012
The St. Francis High School mountain bike team competed in the NICA High School Mountain Bike State Championships held on the Chamberlin Ranch in Los Olivos on May 20th. The event culminated a hard-fought season of mountain bike racing and featured over 500 high school students from all over the state.
The racing was hot, and so was the weather! Temperatures in the high 90’s forced league officials to shorten many of the race distances, although the athletes still had to work hard to endure the tough racing conditions.
In the Freshman Division 1 class, Golden Knight rider Austin Hamilton completed a stellar season by grabbing the first podium position of the day for the Golden Knights by finishing 5th. As he has done all season long, Skyler Payne also finished very well with a strong 8th place in a deep Freshman field of 56 riders. Remi Roth passed his teammate Philip Saulny on the last lap to finish in 21st, with Philip right behind him in 22nd. Rounding out the Freshman class for the Golden Knights were Nick Bedford in 26th and Nathaniel Blakely in 39th. “Our Freshman riders really improved a lot this year, and I know that they will be a force next year in the Sophomore and JV classes”, said Coach Bird.
The Golden Knights Sophomore Division 1 class, struggled with the heat and a long 3-lap race. Daniel Balsam worked hard to finish in 18th place. Also competing in the Sophomore class were Hunter Nalley in 45th, Will Towne in 55th, and Keenan Koch in 58th.
The JV race started at 1:10pm, in the high heat of the middle of the day. Sean Bird had finished off a strong season (3rd overall in the SoCal season) and was one of the JV racers ready for a fast, 2-lap race. Sean led the JV boys for the first half of the race before being passed by the NorCal and SoCal division winners and finishing with a fantastic 4th place podium finish. Sean would be the first “non-sponsored” rider on the JV podium. Having his best race of the season and finishing in 14th place out of the largest field of the day of 62 riders was Scott Marshall. Matt Kubly worked hard for a great 23rd position. Also completing the State Championship race for the Golden Knights JV team were Cameron Aubert in 33rd, Connor Haas in 36th, and Steven Ayoob in 50th.
Also competing in the mid-day heat were Varsity riders Matt Misetich and Christian Breitschwerdt. Matt would finish in 44th, and Christian finished in 50th. This was the final high school race for Seniors Connor Haas, Cameron Aubert, Steven Ayoob, Matt Misetich, and Christian Breitschwerdt. They have all been great team leaders and will be missed next season.
The great results and two podium awards finished a breakout season for the Golden Knight Mountain Bike Team. Again, the team kept their streak alive and completed another race without a single DNF. “The great results this year proved to the team that their hard work will pay off”. “All of our riders improved this season and I know that they will be anxious to compete again next season”, said Coach Bird.
The Golden Knights mountain bike team are very grateful for the support that they have received from the school and administration, along with their sponsors: Design Imports, Hollandays, VCA Arden Animal Hospital, Merchants Building Maintenance, Bell Helmets, Mountain Pine Shutters, Strategic Law Partners, Nu-Hope, Kevin Martin/UBS, Stratz & Company, Financial Guaranty Insurance Brokers, City National Bank, and JoBesh International.
Austin Hamilton - 5th Place Freshman D1
Sean Bird - 4th Place JV D1