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2016 SoCal High School Mountain

Bike Racing Series ROUND THREE

SE1 5853Photo Credit: Motovation Sports

Dam the Torpedoes! presented by, Castaic Lake

Contact: [email protected]
(909) 753-3694,

Results and Photos HERE

Castaic, Ca. — It was an arid few days of racing at Castaic for each of the 680 student athletes who stormed the beach at Dam the Torpedoes! SoCal returned to the venue for its second consecutive season, turning the dial up on course complexity another notch, and rounding the bend on it’s eighth racing season. Racers put their fitness to the test, flying up an array of punchy climbs on bumpy hard packed dirt, sprinting through a wall of spectators on the pavement, and grinding it out over grassy sections that resembled something one might see at a cross race. Parents, coaches, and sponsors filled the infield, munching on grilled cheese sandwiches, while racers, feeling a bit grilled themselves, flocked to the dunk zone. Season leaders emerged in some fields while others continued to shift. It was a spectacular day of racing and at its conclusion the only certainty was that everyone who raced tried equally hard. Special thanks go out to the Santa Clarita Valley area teams who put in so many hours of trail work and made this event possible.

unnamedD1 Winners Newbury Park HS – photo by Michael Legge


The top three D1 teams seem to be on a podium rotation this season. After three races, and taking 1st at Castaic, Newbury Park HS is now the series leader in the category. The victory came as no surprise as the team has been in the top three all season. Point margins remain narrow and Yucaipa HS is right on their heels after receiving 2nd place at Castaic. Ramona HS held onto 3rd in the series overall with another 3rd place team result on the day.

When asked what he thought about the race Head Coach Michael Legge said “the day did go as I hoped. We came really close to winning the team trophy at Vail and knew our team worked hard and posted better results. Every last person on the team gave it their all and it showed. The overall team trophy is a great competition this year with Yucaipa and Ramona. The season is going as planned. We are seeing our riders’ results improving as the season progresses. We hope we can keep this momentum through State Champs!”

indexEl Toro on the podium – photo credit Tim Neuville

In the D2 category El Toro HS returned to the podium for the third consecutive time to claim its victory as the 1st place D2 team. They were followed by Woodcrest Christian HS who took 2nd and Valencia HS who took 3rd.

Valencia’s Head Coach Johnathan Celentano commented “before the race we felt confident about our team since this was our home course and we had the opportunity to practice on it over and over, but our performance exceeded our expectations. Valencia High School had its first ever race winner with Jenna Miller winning the Freshman Girls race. We also had two wins in our Middle School group as well.” He also made an important point stating “don’t get lost in the quest for the podium or you will forget that this mountain bike stuff is supposed to be fun.”

SE1 5605Grinding up the climb – photo by Motovation Sports

In the Composite category San Diego Composite was the team to beat at Castaic. Their 1st place finish brings them in at 2nd in the series overall standings just one point behind Temecula Valley Composite who took 2nd on the day. Corona Composite also returned to the podium taking 3rd to maintain their 3rd place series overall standing.

Corona Composite Head Coach Dana Pierce said his team had a hard go of it at Castaic. He remarked: “Going into Castaic, we knew the competition would be tough. We had sickness, mechanicals, and tardiness that prevented the team from possibly out scoring the other teams… We are looking forward to Vail Lake #2 and Marine Corps Hill.”

SE1 5767Johnson and Rodgers pacing the climb – photo by Motovation Sports

Varsity Boys

It was another exciting day of racing for the two top Varsity boys at Castaic. Independent Rider Daniel Johnson and San Juan Hills HS rider Mikael Rodgers have been on each others heels all season. Castaic was no different as the two had yet another head to head race that ended with a break away sprint by Daniel Johnson. Johnson’s 1st place finish garnered him the right to continue wearing Leader Jersey but Mikael Rodgers was not far behind coming in at 2nd. After this Johnson need only win one more race to secure his chance at a series overall victory. Should Rodgers take 1st at Vail however he and Johnson would end tied going into Finals. Only time will tell but certainly the next race is going to be a big one for both of the two. Tyler Weyman and Kyle Legge from Newbury Park HS took 3rd and 4th and George Orloff from St. Francis HS came in at 5th.

Johnson had this to say about his victory: “Last year I missed out on racing the new venue at Castaic Lake and I’m really glad I got to race it this year. The steep punchy climbs made for a great Mt Bike course. I’ve always wanted to stop and ride in this area when driving through heading to other races. It was really cool to finally get on those trails! The race went really well for me, on the last lap I was able to find the energy I needed to pull away. Mikael is a tough competitor and like everyone out there this weekend we put in some hard work to get to the finish line. I’ve learned a lot about being a competitive cyclist through the SoCal League, it has helped so much to get closer to my goals! I am very thankful.”

SE1 5691Varsity Girls leader Gwendalyn Gibson out front and all alone – photo by Motovation Sports

Varsity Girls

The Varsity Girls race was decided on lap one this time around as all of the ladies took to the course at ludicrous speed. In the absence of her closest competitor Madeline Beamis, who was ill, Gwendalyn Gibson of Ramona HS was on a tear at Castaic. She flew through the course with apparent ease taking 1st on the day to maintain her hold on the Leader Jersey. Geraldine Guerrero from San Diego Composite took 2nd moving her up to second in the series overall standings. Veronica Laughton from Antelope Valley Composite came in at 3rd and Kayla Nelson from Trabuco Hills HS placed 4th. In 5th was Karina Fuentes from Redlands East Valley.

12888527 567764763399909 2024960099443080245 oThe JV Boys D1 Podium – photo by Elizabeth Nelson

JV Boys Division 1

Jonah Sanchez from Murrieta Mesa HS returned to the 1st place podium spot at Castaic, holding onto the Leader Jersey, and aligning himself for a series overall win. Meanwhile Newbury Park HS dominated the D1 category with 2nd, 3rd, and 4th place finishers Justin Hurdle, Cayden Phipps, and Nathan Reynolds. 5th place went to Sheldon Pryor from Foothill HS.

As was true for many other racers, Cayden said he was very focused on the climbs at Castaic. He said “coming into this race, I knew it would probably be the toughest race just because of the steep climbs and heat, so I was prepared to really have to dig deep. But once I got going, I felt great and knew it would be a great race. My favorite part of the course surprisingly enough was the climb, I loved having everyone cheering me on as I pushed up the hill. My main challenge during the race was not having anyone to draft, since there was a huge gap between the leader and the pack I rode in. It made it tougher to recover after the hard climbs.”

SE1 5837JV Boys Division 2 Series Leader Andrew Vollmer – photo credit Motovation Sports

JV Boys Division 2

In the JV Boys Division 2 field Andrew Vollmer from El Toro HS stepped up to take the Leader Jersey away from Keven Vermakre of Mission Viejo HS, the former points leader of the series. His 1st place finish at Castaic puts himself and Kevin in a similar situation to the two top riders in the Varsity field. In fact with the ability to drop a race we could see the two racers going into Finals with the potential to tie for the series overall. We will have to wait and see what happens at Vail but surely its going to be an exciting race. Travis Claypool from Murrieta Mesa Valley HS took 2nd and Zack Villars from Victor Valley Composite took 3rd. Wesley Toups from Temecula Valley Composite came in at 4th and the field was round out by Jack Fitzpatrick from Corona Composite who took 5th.

Vollmer’s Head Coach, Tim Neuville said that “We are very proud of Andrew Vollmer who captured the leaders jersey for JV D2 boys. What was very impressive was that he participated in the San Dimas Stage race over the weekend prior to Sunday afternoon’s high school race. San Dimas stage race consisted of crit, time trial and road race.”

SE1 5719JV Girls descend the Grapevine – photo by Motovation Sports

JV Girls

The JV Girls field has been quite exciting to watch this season. At the first two races Meade Plum of Buttermilk Academy and Megan Jastrab from Victor Valley Composite were racing very closely with Jastrab beating out Plum by only a few fractions of a second at each race. Castaic brought about some changes to the field. Jastrab was absent at Castaic allowing for Plum to take control of the Leader Jersey with a 2nd Place finish on the day. Micah Mason from Tehachapi HS won the race and Michelle Cabanas from Foothill HS came in at 3rd. The field was rounded out by Aubrey More of Yucaipa HS who took 4th and Jenessa Sanchez from Temescal Canyon HS who took 5th.

SE1 5610The Sophomore Boys leaders make their way down the canyon – photo by Motovation Sports

Sophomore Boys Division 1

The Sophomore Boys D1 podium belongs to Ramona HS this year. For the third race in a row the team managed to have three riders in the top five positions. The race was won by Ramona HS rider Seth Levy who also maintained his hold on the Leader Jersey. Karson Basore, also a Ramona rider, came in at 2nd and Kurtis Epps of Yucaipa HS was on the podium in 3rd. Independent Rider Jag Barton placed 4th and Brayden Lessler from Ramona HS rounded out the field in 5th. The race had one of the more exciting finishes of the day as Seth and Karson nearly both went down in the final turn before the finish. Karson clipped a fence as they went into the turn together, slowing himself by just a fraction of a second, and allowing for Seth to break away for the win.

12967549 10206296129067200 5025853701781470853 oSophomore Boy D2 all lined up – photo by Fred Laughton

Sophomore Boys Division 2

In the Sophomore Boys Division 2 field Sam Ferris from Woodcrest Christian HS won his first race of the season after making a phenomenally well timed pass on the inside of an off camber turn only a few hundred yards before the finish. Ferris took 1st beating out his opponent Ethan Elisara from Julian Union High School District Composite who took 2nd. Johnathan Viero from Rim of the World HS was not far behind coming in at 3rd and Brandon Kooiman made the top five again placing 4th on the day. 5th place went to Nathan Thornton from Woodcrest Christian HS.

12901525 567764296733289 223745547956457559 oThe Sophomore Girls podium – photo by Elizabeth Nelson

Sophomore Girls

Stassa Cappos was a force to be reckoned with at Castaic. Winning the race with nearly a one minute lead she held onto the Leader Jersey and placed herself squarely in line to capture the series overall victory. She was followed by Keturah Ursua from Tehachapi HS in 2nd, Katherine Carmichael from Academy of the Canyons in 3rd and Bailey Krall of Redlands Home School in 4th. Kara Thompson, also from Redlands Home School, rounded out the filed in 5th.

Stassa said that her biggest challenge was “the heat. It was definitely a big challenge for me in this race. Going up the climb, the water seemed to evaporate off my jersey as soon as I poured it on my back, and no matter how often I drank my throat was so dry that I had trouble calling out my passes on the second lap.”

Carmichael on the other hand “loved the uphill parts of the course, the grapevine being [her] favorite. The climbing at this course felt like real climbing (you couldn’t rely on momentum gained on a previous downhill-you had to rely on your strength and skill!) [She] also really enjoyed the smooth rolling hills of the very last dirt section of the race right before the active road. Although it wasn’t as challenging as the rest of the course and the uphills relied a lot on momentum, it added a bit of extra fun to the course and was a nice break before the sprint in the grassy section.”

SE1 5542Freshman Boys D1 Series Leader Seth Hampton – photo by Motovation Sports

Freshman Boys Division 1

The tie for the Leader Jersey in the Freshman Boys D1 field was broken by Seth Hampton of Redlands Home School who took 1st on the day over his competitors Samuel Weber from Great Oak HS (2nd) and Chase Niblack, also in the Leader Jersey, who placed 3rd. Micah Chitaroff from Murrieta Mesa HS took 4th and Alexander Williams of Yucaipa HS came in at 5th.

Seth said “The race went well for me from the start. Even though the course was new to me, it felt familiar because my home trails are similar, with steep single track climbs. I was surprised to find myself really enjoying the grassy park area of the course and the hardest part was slogging up that climb in the heat! I was glad to hit the downhill and cool off.”

SE1 5552A group of D2 Freshman make their way down the wash – photo by Motovation Sports

Freshman Boys Division 2

The Freshman Boys D2 field served to prove that consistency is just as important as winning races. Without winning a race Tristan Cobb from Crescenta Valley High School took control of the Leader Jersey with a 3rd place finish on the day. Nathan Hickey from Monrovia HS took 1st and Ben Allen from Hart HS took 2nd. In 4th was Jack Sykes from San Clemente HS and in 5th was Eric Duran from San Diego Composite.

SE1 5737Freshman Girls on the descent – photo by Motovation Sports

Freshman Girls

The Freshman Girls field was won by Jenna Miller from Valencia HS who came in just barely ahead of Genevieve Plum from Buttermilk Academy in a sprint finish. Genevieve’s 2nd place finish allowed her to keep the Leader Jersey. McKenzie Steiner from North County Composite came in at 3rd and the Barrick Sisters, Hayley and Alyssa, from Yucaipa HS rounded out the field in 4th and 5th.

Jenna said that it was not easy getting to the podium Sunday and pointed out that she went down once during the race and dropped her chain shortly after. She said that “This made it challenging to regain the lead as all the Freshman Girls are fast riders.”

When asked what her favorite part of the course was Genevieve said “definitely the rolling single track in the middle of the course, but the cork screw is a close second.” while Steiner said that hers was “the short hard rolling hills right before the grass section. I also liked the splash zone, that was a life saver.”

SE1 5425Crescent Valley Middle School girls out on course – photo by Motovation Sports

Middle School

With wide smiles and a few nervous shakes of anticipation 200 Middle School student athletes turned out on the beach for their second race of the season. The racers came ready to test their skills on what proved to be a far more challenging course than Vail. During the heat of the afternoon they pedaled with fervor, fighting to push their bikes over three miles of unforgiving dirt and grass. Amidst the cheers of their High School teammates, coaches, and parents they each crossed the finish line. For them it was just another notch in the belt but for League it was a glimpse into the bright future of racing in SoCal.

April 23-24: Victory At Vail
presented by Primal Wear, Vail Lake Resort, Temecula

May 7-8: SoCal Finals at Techachapi
presented by Hyper Threads, Tehachapi

May 21-22: State Championships, Los Olivos, SoCal Hosts

Full information available HERE

About the SoCal High School Cycling League

The SoCal High School Cycling League was organized in 2008 to provide a well defined race season for high school student-athletes and to promote the formation of teams at public and private high schools. In 2014 that grew to include a middle school program designed to introduce middle school aged riders to the sport of mountain biking focused heavily on skills, fun, fitness, and responsibility with a taste of the competitive aspects of mountain biking. With the cooperation of local race promoters and our sponsors we produce a first class series of races in addition to providing training for coaches and riders. The League is working to make interscholastic racing the easiest way for youth to get involved in the challenging and exciting world of competitive cycling. NICA and the SoCal League exist by virtue of a range of fundraising activities, as well as generous donors, and sponsors including founding national sponsor Specialized Bicycle Components, Easton Foundations, SRAM, and Trek Bicycles; major sponsors Kenda Tire, Primal Wear, Bicycling, Clif Bar & Company, Giro, Podiumwear, and Quality Bicycle Parts; sponsors Casino Bicycles, Haro MTB, Husqvarna Motorcycles, Hyper Threads, ICE Sportswear, Jax Bicycle Center, JensonUSA, Camelbak, GU, and Maxxis.



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