After placing 10th in Division 1 of the 2021 Mountain Bike State Championships, the Summit Tigers Mountain Bike Team placed fifth overall in the Colorado State Mountain Bike Championships Cycling League 2022 at Glenwood Springs.
The races were originally scheduled to take place over two days, but were postponed to Saturday, October 22, due to the humidity and snow that settled in the area on Sunday.
The Summit mountain bike team sent 10 athletes to the championship event and competed against 29 other Colorado High School Cycling League Division 2 teams.
Despite a difficult and technical course, the team rose to the occasion, earning multiple podiums and eventually climbing to the top of the team standings.
Junior Nico Konecny led the way for Summit, who showcased his fitness and expertise during the three-lap, 14.4-mile race for varsity boys.
Konecny was challenged by senior Kade Kreikemeier every lap of the course. The duo raced side by side, even sharing the same time on the first lap of the course.
“I decided at the start that I wanted to put in a really hard effort and just go for it,” Konecny said. “From the start I took off and at the end of the first lap it was just me and Kade.”
In round two, Konecny put a one-second gap over Kreikemeier which allowed Konecny to secure the state title in the third and final round.
Konecny finished in 1 hour, 3 minutes and 38.8 seconds while Kreikemeier finished just under three seconds with a time of 1:03:41.66.
“It was just the two of us back and forth,” Konecny said. “The last lap was a sprint to the finish. I gave it my all until the end and absolutely maxed out everything I had. It was a great race and a great battle between me and Kade.
Konecny’s varsity win comes after winning the junior varsity boys’ state race last year.
“It was really good,” Konecny said. “We have very good competition in the Colorado High School Cycling League. We have a group of heavy hitters from the US Cup runs in the high school league, so that really means a lot of doing well and getting in there.
Summit had several more podiums to help inflate their score in the final team standings.
In the sophomore girls race, Aila Harmala competed against Palmer High School’s Zoe Hubel. The duo finished the first lap in the same time, but Hubel put eight seconds over Harmala in the second lap. Hubel won the race title with a time of 56:55.42 and Harmala placed second (57:03.54).
Despite being second in the sophomore girl class, Harmala finished the season as the Colorado High School Cycling League sophomore points leader.
Freshman Landon Laverdiere completed the podiums for Summit.
Laverdiere capped off a strong season to place fourth overall in the freshman boys race. He finished the two-lap race in 47:28.16, just over a minute behind race winner Ben Garmany of Grand Junction.
“Landon was probably the closest to a surprise,” head coach Jeff Cospolich said. “He was on the podium in the last race, but the fact that he is in a state championship class and that he placed right next to the leading group in his first race at the States is truly commendable.”
In the freshman girls race, Fiona Florio provided 434 points for the Tigers with a ninth-place finish in 57:26.89.
Stanley Buzek, Eli Love, Lili Zygulski and Mason Westcott rounded out the Tigers’ performances.
Buzek placed 57th in the varsity boys race, Love finished 25th in the sophomore boys race, Zygulski placed 39th in the junior varsity girls race, and Westcott finished 32nd in the race second grade boys.
Additionally, Summit County’s Will Bentley helped Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy finish fourth in Division 2 after placing 12th overall in the junior varsity boys race.
Despite being down a division from last season, both Konecny and Cospolich feel the Summit mountain bike team has made progress.
“It’s great that we’re getting better every year,” Konecny said. “A huge thank you to Jeff, Marla and all the coaches on the team. They have put together such a good program.
During the offseason, Cospolich hopes to continue to develop the team.
“We’re going to look to nurture those relationships that we’ve already established and try to get more girls into the squad,” Cospolich said. “Part of that is points, but the reality is that we want to get more kids on the bike. Create cyclists for life. Cycling – like many endurance sports – these kids can do for the rest of their lives.