Mountain bike racing has been exploding across the nation and this year over 700 riders from 98 schools were represented at the California State Mountain Bike Championships held at Laguna Seca on May 11, 2014. Southern California was represented by 285 competitors.
Matt Gunnell, who started the Southern California League in 2008, noted that those numbers are indicative of the popular growth of the sport “with the emergence of new leagues in seven states since 2013 . . . average participation is up about 25%.”
Division 1 or 2 has nothing to do with the strength of the riders, but the size of the teams. Division 1 is 12 or more riders; Division 2 is eleven or fewer. Due to the large numbers of boy racers, they race on different courses. The differing times in division races reflect the different courses.
Five local teams sent twenty-two riders. Temecula Valley Composite is made up of riders from Rancho Christian and Linfield, schools that do not yet have an official school team. Murrieta Valley, Murrieta Mesa, Great Oak and Temescal Canyon also fielded teams that went to the state competition.
“We had 16 qualify for state and 12 competed,” said Rod Gisi, coach of the Great Oak team, “We finished in sixth place as a team at So Cal Championships without any Varsity riders on the team.” The distinction is an important one since Varsity riders score with higher point values. Great Oak fielded 24 on their roster, the fourth largest team in the league in only their second year. They were the only So Cal team with two individual champions: Evander Hughes (JV Boys D1) and Trevor McCutcheon (Freshman D1). Great Oak had three females on the team this year; Amada Gisi qualified for state.
McCutcheon led a contingent of six Great Oak boys in the State Frosh Division race, finishing fifth. Kahla Chitraroff from Murrieta Mesa finished third in the Frosh Boys Division 2 race; teammate Jordan Aguilar finished tenth.
“We are very much looking forward to next season and are continuing to recruit riders at all levels,” said Gisi, “The unique aspect of our sport is there are no bench athletes. Everyone that wants to compete and race is able to.”
- Frosh Boys, Division 1
5. Trevor McCutcheon, Great Oak, 38:27
13. Brandon Varela, Great Oak, 41:35
23. Devin Wynne, Great Oak, 42:53
24. Cameron Joye, Great Oak, 42:54
25. Sam Bedard, Great Oak, 43:00
42. Bryan Rogers, Great Oak, 45:02
- Frosh Boys, Division 2
3. Kahlo Chitraroff, Murrieta Mesa, 37:59
10. Jordan Aguilar, Murrieta Mesa, 40:09
66. Jared Koolman, Temecula Valley Composite, 49:38
- JV Boys, Division 1
11. Evander Hughes, Great Oak, 1:18:27
52. Ethan Downing, Murrieta Valley, 1:33:30
54. Landon Amaradio, Great Oak, 1:33:39
- JV Boys, Division 2
87. Patrick Duer, Temescal Canyon, 1:46:29
91. Tazewell Waller, Temescal Canyon, 2:03:10
— Garrett William, Temescal Canyon, 1:26: 46
- Soph Boys, Division 1
21. Juan Johnson, Great Oak, 1:03:02
36. Sean Van Hise, Great Oak, 1:07:02
39. Colby Boyd, Great Oak, 1:07:30
- Soph Boys, Division 2
22. Skyler Bradley, Murrieta Mesa, 1:01:55
52. Sonny Brown, Temescal Canyon, 1:11:16
- Soph Girls
19. Amanda Gisi, Great Oak, 55:06
- Varsity Boys
15. Randy Graham, Murrieta Valley, 1:33:27
26. Jarred Jordan, Murrieta Valley, 1:36:44
For more information on the League, visit www.socaldirt.org or contact Matt Gunnell at [email protected] or (818) 415-1133.