A conference championship was claimed last week in Nathrop. Now dozens of mountain bikers from Animas and Durango high schools have turned focus to state championship weekend.
The Durango mountain bike team placed first in Division 2 with 2,599 points at the Chalk Creek Stampede on Saturday at McMurry Ranch. Green Mountain was second with 2,486 points and Douglas County finished third with 2,476. Durango topped the series overall standings with 10,384 points, with Green Mountain second with 10,189 points and Glenwood Springs third with 9,726.
Animas placed second in Division 1 with 4,839 points and was narrowly edged by the 4,974 points of Colorado Rocky Mountain School. CRMS leads the season’s overall standings with 19,857 points, and Animas was second with 19,174.
CRMS and Animas will battle top North Conference teams in Fairview, Boulder and Battle Mountain at the state championship on Oct. 21 in Eagle.
Durango will have a tough fight at state against North Conference foes Summit and Vail Ski and Snowboard Academy.
Durango’s Maddie Jo Robbins claimed the series overall title in the varsity girls division as only a sophomore. She won all four races to score 1,750 points. Robbins will face Golden junior Madelynn Gerritsen, who won three of four races in the North Conference. Robbins was 22 seconds faster than Gerritsen on the same course in the conference championship.
Animas senior Maya Zarlingo was third in varsity girls by placing second in three of four races, including the race in Nathrop. Animas junior Alma Wolf placed sixth.
The varsity boys South Conference title was won by Douglas County’s Zac Richardson, who won the final three races of the schedule. Animas junior John White was 37th.
Animas and Durango dominated the junior varsity division. Durango freshman Ruth Holcomb was first among JV girls with 1,645 points to beat Ridway Composite’s Paige Hauptmann. Holcomb also won all four races this season.
Sage Davis, an Animas sophomore, placed seventh among JV girls. Animas senior Grace Frideger was 10th and fellow Animas senior Lillian Bisantz was 27th. Durango senior Amina Youseff was 30th and Animas senior Lilah Gutt placed 33. Durango senior Hailey Voss also placed 63rd.
A tough battle in JV boys between sophomores Riley Amos of Animas and Cobe Freeburn of Durango was settled at the conference race. Amos won to finish with 1,635 points to narrowly edge Freeburn, who finished with 1,626 points. Freeburn won the first two races of the year, and Amos won the final two races. Freeburn was having a great race in the conference championship until a mechanical issue sent him back.
Animas sophomore Simon Donnaway finished ninth among JV boys in the overall series, and Animas junior Henry Haggart was 14th. Durango junior Luke Nicholson placed 17th out of 171 JV boys.
Among sophomore boys, Durango’s Aaron Clark placed 17th in the conference standings, and Animas’ Nick Glotfelty was 35th. Animas’ Sean Holley placed 41st, Durango’s Miles Bronson was 44th and Animas’ Calvin Chase was 131st out of 142 riders.
Wiley Corra earned a second-place finish in the conference standings for Durango in the freshman boys category. He scored 1,500 points to finish only five points behind Evergreen’s Robbie Day. Corra attended only three races but won all three he competed in, and he won a big sprint to the finish at Nathrop.
Animas’ Trevor Harms finished eighth among freshman boys, and his teammate Leit Schafer finished 15th. Durango’s Hayes Linney placed 22nd, Animas’ Colby Doughty placed 38th, Durango’s Paul Watson was 59th and Animas’ Vincent Lopez was 90th out of 163 riders.
“Vincent Lopez had a pretty gnarly crash,” Robbins said, “but came back strong to finish the race.”
Durango’s Abbey Shepard finished fourth among freshman girls and edged Animas’ Ainsley Haggart, who was right behind in fifth. Animas’ Emeral Murray tied for eighth, and Durango’s Aleah Austin, who was riding up front until a mechanical issue, placed 10th. Durango’s Kelsey Nicholson was 14th and teammate Lucy Hall was 36th in the field of 40 freshman girls.
“Abbey Shepard raced strong all season to help reel in more points for the team, leading us to the overall win,” Robbins said.