SPORTS: Olympic Mountain Bike Team defends state championship
Cassie Ross of the Olympic Mountain Bike Team won the state title in the varsity division.
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The Port Townsend-based team of area high school students began the season knowing the rest of the state was hoping to dethrone them as Washington Student League Champions, but Olympic convincingly won each of the season's four team competitions and claimed the overall state championship at the Washougal MX Challenge last month.
Olympic also had five individual state champions out of eight categories.
Pouring rain at the Washougal MX Challenge sent mud flowing down the trails, so much that race organizers had to alter the course for the safety of the riders.
Olympic's prior experience training in inclement weather paid dividends, as they won the team competition and three riders won their individual races.
Based on the season's race results, Olympic Mountain Bike Team won the state championship with 1,985 out of a possible 2,000 points, ahead of the second-place team by almost 200 points.
Olympic's girls team was exceptionally strong, finishing with state champions in all four categories.
Varsity rider Cassie Ross continued her season-long domination by winning the Washougal race. She was the only rider in the league to win all of her races this season.
Senior Mazy Braden was injured and unable to race in Washougal but still finished third in the overall Varsity standings.
Olympic's co-captain Camille Ottaway finished second in the junior varsity race at Washougal but had enough overall points to be crowned Junior Varsity state champion.
In the Intermediate category, senior Annalise Rubida won the state championship, and in the Beginner division, first-year rider Odette Jennings won her third straight race and the state championship title.
Braden and Rubida are the only graduating riders, leaving Olympic's girls with holes to fill for next year.
Both will attend Western Washington University and are looking forward to mountain bike racing for the Vikings.
The Intermediate boys race was won by Olympic's David Hoglund, who also captured the overall state title.
Tristan Fountain and Miguel Salguero finished third and fourth in the race.
Joel Mackey aided a teammate when, during his race, he came upon a fellow teammate whose bike had broken down.
Mackey realized he was not racing as well as he hoped and that his teammate had a chance to do better, so he switched bikes with the teammate.
That left Mackey with 3.5 miles to push the broken bike through the slick mud. Mackey still finished 21st out of 24 riders.
In the overall Intermediate state standings Hoglund was the winner, Fountain second, Salguero fourth and Mackey finished 11th.
Despite an injury preventing him from racing after the first two races of the season, Intermediate rider and team co-captain Jake Brady finished 22nd of the 32 in the state standings.
The Beginner category had 37 racers and Tate Braden finished sixth in the race and fourth in the overall state standings.
Isaac Steimle placed 15th in the state in the Beginner category, with Dashiel Morley 20th and Rowan Halpin 21st.
In the state's top boys category, Olympic's Varsity rider Luca Freier finished third followed by Joseph Tweiten in fourth and Oliver Parish in fifth in the overall rankings.
In the Junior Varsity race, Calvin Leckenby placed third, Groves Moore was sixth, Andy Hull seventh and Eli Biskup took tenth.
In the overall standings, Hull was Olympic's top JV rider, finishing third in the state rankings followed by Moore in fourth, Leckenby fifth and Biskup in seventh.
Many Olympic Mountain Bike Team riders will be competing in summer races around the Northwest and even in Montana for the Missoula XC at Marshall Mountain.
With only two graduating, Olympic is looking “three-peat” next year, but the departure of the seniors leaves a significant gap in the girls team.
“This year we had three women's coaches supporting five very successful riders,” Olympic Mountain Bike Team director Doug Ross said.
“[With Braden and Rubida graduating] we will need a big push for having more young women join the team in 2015.”
Of the team's riders, head coach Christian Young said, “It's been a pleasure to work with these kids and I believe they now know that hard work is the only way to the top.”
Last modified: June 02. 2014 6:30PM