Behind a pair of individual state championships from underclassmen and three more strong scoring results, the Durango High School mountain bike team claimed a state championship Sunday in Eagle.
Durango competed in Division 2 of the Colorado Cycling League’s state championship races. Sophomore Maddie Jo Robbins claimed first place in the three-lap varsity girls race in 1 hour, 20 minutes, 54.57 seconds, while freshman Ruth Holcomb was first in the two-lap junior varsity girls race in 53:14.06.
Durango’s Cobe Freeburn also placed third in the three-lap junior varsity boys race in 1:11:49.33. Wiley Corra was fourth in the two-lap freshman boys race in 50:34.28, and freshman Abbey Sheppard rounded out the team’s scoring riders with a sixth-place finish in the two-lap freshman girls race in 1:00:43.18.
As a team, Durango scored 2,564 points to beat Green Mountain by 100 points. Summit was third with 2,455 points. Forty-nine high schools from Colorado and Wyoming competed in Division 2.
“We were pretty confident we could do it if everything played out and raced like we have been,” Robbins said, “but we definitely always knew we would have to fight to get it.”
Robbins’ final lap time of 27:13 was 49 seconds faster than second-place Petra Schmidtmann of Nederland, and that sent the Durangoan to a championship.
Holcomb, who is also a key member for the DHS cross-country team that will contend for a state championship Saturday in Colorado Springs, led her mountain bike race the entire way and finished seven seconds ahead of Summit’s Tai-Lee Smith for the gold medal.
“Ruth had a really good performance and won by just a few seconds,” Robbins said. “She’s a great athlete and it’s cool to have her to train with.”
Freeburn led the charge after the first lap and turned in an impressive second lap before fading a bit in the third. Still, he was right with Boulder’s Bjorn Riley and Animas High School’s Riley Amos. Riley won in 1:11:11.65, and Amos was second in 1:11:16.16.
Sheppard was a little more than three minutes back of Cassidy Hickey, an independent rider who finished first. Sheppard’s second lap was 1:12 faster than her first, and that sent her into the top 10.
“Cobe had a really good race to get third,” Robbins said. “Abbey Sheppard was our rock and had solid performances all year to give us our fifth scorer. Without her, we wouldn’t have been able to win.”
Animas High School finished fifth in Division 1 out of 22 schools from Colorado. Animas scored 4,314 points. Fairview High out of Boulder won with 4,996 points. Boulder was second with 4,960 points, and Golden rounded out the podium with 4,439 points.
In Division 1, the points from a team’s top-10 riders count toward the score instead of only five like Division 2.
Amos had a podium finish for Animas in the JV boys race. Maya Zarlingo was sixth in the varsity girls race in 1:24:13.67, and Alma Wolf was 11th in the varsity girls race in 1:26:11.81.
Simon Donnaway was ninth in the JV boys race in 1:13:31.89, and his teammate, Henry Haggart, was 31st in 1:18:31.03. Sage Davis led Animas in the JV girls race in 59:34.53.
Ainsley Haggart placed 10th in the freshman girls race in 1:02:24.43, while teammate Emerald Murray was 22nd in the race in 1:07:10.84.
John White competed in the varsity boys race for Animas. The junior finished in 1:48:19.05. In the sophomore boys race, Animas’ Nick Glotfelty finished in 53:01.46 to place 29th and round out the team’s scoring.
The race marked an end to Eagle’s streak of hosting five consecutive Colorado Cycling League state championships. Next year, the event will come to Durango.
“I can’t wait to show off our town,” Robbins said. “A lot of people don’t know who we are or that we have a team here.”