Times Staff Writer
GHS Mountain Biking — With heavy rain the day prior and frigid temperatures the day of this past weekend’s Regional championships in Eagle, the Gunnison High School mountain biking team took to the course unfazed by the weather.
Throw in several crashes and mechanical problems for the Cowboys, and it appeared that luck was not on the side of the local team. Evan Gattis took to the course first and was the first GHS rider to suffer a crash. However, that didn’t stop Gattis, who finished highest among all GHS mountain bikers.
“My legs felt good at the start of this race,” said Gattis, “but it was really cold and I couldn’t feel my fingers or my toes.”
During the course of the race, the sophomore slipped on an icy wooden bridge, resulting in his bike falling into a ditch and a slight injury to his hand.
“When I slipped on the bridge, I was just hoping I hadn’t gotten injured,” stated Gattis. “I was also frustrated to see that my bike had drifted into the ditch.”
While Gattis was retrieving his bike, about 15 racers passed him, and he lost about two minutes for that lap.
Once Gattis retrieved his bike, he used the adrenaline to move back up in the pack for a sixth-place finish in the junior varsity division out of 147 competitors.
“This has been my best mountain biking season so far,” said Gattis. “I was able to do some good training in the summer, so I was well prepared for the high school league.”
As a result of the rain, the riders weren’t allowed to scope the course, which may have contributed to Gattis’ slip. Nonetheless, on the season he finished third within the Southern Conference.
Gattis will now set his sights on the state championship, where he hopes for a top-five finish. However, he would be happy in the top 10.
“I really just want to have fun out there and do my best,” he said.
Beth Schwartz also faced adversity at Regionals. At the top of the last climb, the sophomore had a mechanical issue which resulted in her coming short of making the podium — finishing in 16th place.
Sophomores Molly Strickland and Ashland Harris had impressive showings for GHS, finishing in sixth and seventh, respectively.
Elli Fisher continued to dominate on the freshman stage, cruising to seventh.
Freshman Luke Linville had a strong race, finishing 17th. Classmate Nate Mount also moved up in standings, with a 26th place finish, despite a crash into a tree.
Also, Morgan Crosby continued improvement on the year with a clean ride and a 26th place finish.
While the rain had settled for previous races, it reared its ugly head once again for the varsity race. That didn’t bother senior Benon Gattis, who continues to be the point leader for the team. Gattis finished in seventh place.
The Cowboys will be back on course Sunday, Oct. 21, traveling to Durango to compete in the state championships.
(Brandon Warr can be reached at 970.641.1414 or email@example.com.)
STANDOUT PERFORMANCES AT REGIONALS
Place Category Name Time
7th Varsity Benon Gattis 1:36
6th JV Evan Gattis 1:17
8th Sophomore Ashland Harris 1:03
7th Sophomore Molly Strickland 1:03
7th Freshman Elli Fisher 1:04