Dirt Demons place third overall in Division I debut
Special to the Post Independent
The Glenwood Spring High School Dirt Demons mountain bike team made history Sunday, placing third overall in the Division 1 team standings at the season opener in Nathrop.
The Demons were bumped up to the top division for the first time due to their expanded team size of 30 racers. Glenwood Springs races in the South Conference of the Colorado League.
Overall team standings are based on points, with Glenwood riders placing in the top 10 in six out of the eight categories.
The Chalk Creek Stampede was held Sunday at the private McMurry Ranch just south of Buena Vista in the historic town of Nathrop. Riders from 42 schools across Colorado gathered at the foot of Mt. Princeton to pedal laps on the 6.1-mile course with 520 vertical feet of elevation per lap. The course was sandy, twisty, technical and steep. That, coupled with an intense headwind, made for a challenging kick-off event to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) season.
Each new season promises exciting surprises and Sunday’s Freshman Boys race did not disappoint as newcomer Corbin Carpenter took a close second in the final sprint. Carpenter traded the lead with Roaring Fork Valley neighbor and training buddy Finn Johnson of Aspen High School throughout the 2-lap contest. After nearly an hour of racing, only two seconds separated them as Johnson narrowly outsprinted Carpenter for the win. Other top point-getters in the team standings were senior legacy riders Lizi Barsness, (9th place in Varsity Girls) and Lance Weidemann, (22nd in Junior Varsity Boys). “Legacy” status is bestowed on athletes who’ve competed throughout all four years of their high school racing careers, and is noted by a bright yellow number plate.
Juniors Eric Novy and Kawak Miranda took 8th and 14th respectively in Varsity Boys. Both were bumped up to the more-competitive category due to consistent top-5 results last season. Also jumping up a category were Emma Barsness, (5th in Junior Varsity Girls) and Oliver Patrick, (5th in Junior Varsity Boys). Rounding out Junior Varsity Boys were Austin Villareal (16th) and Grant Anson (102nd). Junior Nadia Shea placed 25th in Junior Varsity Girls, later exclaiming, “Finally, a good experience at Nathrop.”
Racing in the Sophomore Girls category, Ella Lindenberg placed 7th and Kailey Murphy was 13th. “I had a blast,” said Lindenberg. “It was really great pushing myself and seeing the result!” Sophomore Boys also included Aiden Corcoran (32nd) and Christian Landeros (46th).
The Dirt Demons brought 12 freshman to the event, for many of whom it was their first-ever bike race. In Freshman Girls, Chloe Lutgring took a spot on the podium for 5th place, and Madeline Smith finished in 14th place. Both girls recalled crashing but getting right back up.
Rounding out the Freshman Boys race behind Carpenter were Noah Davis (12th), Cole Geiger (16th), Angel Hernandez (37th), Nathan Grosscup (46th), Brody Cyr (54th), Theo Corwin (60th), Rohan Gerrald (69th) and Sam Hollenbaugh (100th). Brandon Boettcher took a fall in the first lap and was unable to complete the race.
Many riders described crashes and encounters with cactus. Hernandez remembers, “I did hit one rock that caused five people to pass me, but I picked them off one by one. I’m definitely considering coming back.” Hollenbaugh recalled, “I was nervous at the beginning, but not once I started.”
The small but mighty Dirt Demons’ high-yield results boosted them into a confidence-building third place overall. “For being such a small school, we brought amazing athletes that performed exceptionally well,” said head coach Randy Tuggle. “We’ve proven that we can be competitive with the bigger Division 1 schools.”
Next up is The Could City Challenge on the Colorado Mountain College campus in Leadville on Sept.8.
All Glenwood Springs High School students are eligible to compete but must register by Sept. 2.
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Glenwood Springs High School’s senior soccer standout Celia Scruton is set to continue her career with the Evergreen State College Geoducks in Olympia, Washington.