The St. Francis High School mountain bike team competed in the fifth and final regular season event of the SoCal league series at Lake Arrowhead on May 6. The race was crucial for overall season awards and the “thin-air” of the mountains tested all of the riders. However, the Golden Knights rose to the challenge and finished strong – not only in this race but overall for the season.
The Lake Arrowhead course was very dry and dusty, unlike the muddy course that the riders faced last year. Besides the altitude and dust, the riders faced a tough 1.2 mile-long fire road climb at the end of each 6-mile lap. This climb tested the resolve and strength of all of the racers.
In the Freshman Division 1 class, Golden Knight rider Austin Hamilton was looking to a secure a strong result and a podium position for the overall SoCal league results. Along with teammate Skyler Payne, Hamilton worked hard to finish in fifth and seventh place, and secured the final two season overall podium positions in sixth and seventh place.
This was the best race for the freshmen that have improved throughout the season and are looking to peak at the state championships on May 20.
In the Sophomore Division 1 class, Daniel Balsam struggled through an illness to finish in sixth position and secure an impressive third place overall in the SoCal series.
The varsity and JV races had many interesting side stories that the riders and coaches were trying to manage all day long. In the JV race, Sean Bird needed to finish ahead of two other riders that he had battled against all season to secure a third place overall result for the season.
The nail-biter of the day in the varsity race was all about Matt Misetich. Misetich has raced in the SoCal league for four years, and needed a solid result to qualify for the state championships. Misetich was two positions behind the result he needed during his first three laps, but pulled out in the final lap to qualify for the state championships with a finish in 23rd position.
At the end of the day, the Golden Knights mountain bike team had achieved many impressive results. For the race, there were two more podium finishes, and for the overall season result, there were four podium finishes. In all, the team had 16 podium results and 22 top-10 results for the season, more than their previous three seasons combined. Also, all 21 members of the team had qualified for the state championships.
“I am most proud that for the fourth straight season, we had no DNF’s,” said Coach Lee Bird. “This is an incredible achievement and proof that the members of our team are special guys who will not give up.”
The Golden Knights head to Los Olivos to finish off the season and compete against high school teams from the NorCal league at the state championships on May 20.