“The team has come a long way”
by Than Acuff
“A few kids have a shot at individual podiums and if all goes as best as it can, we have a shot at a team podium.”
That’s what CB Devo high school bike team coach Torrey Carroll said a week ago, looking ahead to the state championships. Ultimately, all did go “as best as it can,” as the team finished third at the Colorado high school mountain bike state championships in Durango Saturday and Sunday, October 19-20.
It’s the best result for the team at the state championships in its 10-year existence and included an individual podium finish from JV girls racer Sarah Bivens.
Things were looking good for the team and then not so good as they prepared for the big weekend that included teams from both the southern and northern conferences, making for some stout competition.
“It’s basically twice as competitive as all of the other races during the season,” says Carroll.
With 15 riders set to make the trip, most of who spent the season climbing the ranks, they were set up to peak on the final weekend. Then the team was hit with a setback as EmmaJean Lovett suffered an injury during practice the week leading up to the competition.
“She has scored points for the team all season so that made it even harder for a shot at the team podium,” says Carroll.
Fourteen Crested Butte riders ultimately made the trip, as the weekend kicked off with 160 freshmen boys lining up to race Saturday at 8:30 a.m.
“It was pretty chilly during warm-up,” says Carroll.
Math Alagna set the pace for the team in the opening race as he put together a near-perfect outing to finish in 17th out of the massive field.
“It was probably his best race of the year,” says Carroll.
Luca Loperfido crossed the line in 72nd place and after getting caught behind a couple of crashes during the start losing some spots, Oliver White made up some spots over the two laps to finish in 73rd place.
The O’Neill twins, Piper and Katie, then took over adding additional spark to the growing CB Devo state fire. Both riders battled back and forth between themselves and the rest of the field, eventually scoring big points for the team as Katie finished in 17th place and Piper in 18th, just a half a second off her sister.
“It was another great sprint to the finish between those two,” says Carroll.