Iain Stewart, Keagen Cox and Cooper Wood

From left: seniors Iain Stewart, Keagen Cox and Cooper Wood get together after competing in their final league race Sunday in Eagle. Salida finished fifth in the Division 1 team competition at the conference championships.

The Salida Racing high school mountain bike team competed in the Colorado High School Cycling League’s South conference championships Sunday in Eagle.

The Spartans finished fifth in Division 1 with 27 team members securing spots at the state championships Oct. 19-20 in Durango.

“The Haymaker Classic in Eagle was our conference championship and it didn’t disappoint,” said Salida Head Coach Rob Kelley. “The course was incredibly fast with a lot of fun features.”

Cassidy Gillis placed 13th in the girls’ varsity race to lead Salida in scoring once again.

“Cassidy Gillis had another good race,” the coach said.

Lanee Dziura was the next-highest scorer for Salida and had the highest finish of any Spartan at the race. Dziura placed eighth in the girls’ freshman race two days after placing eighth at the cross-country 3A Tri-Peaks League meet and helping the Lady Spartans win that title.

Lily Leddington (24th), Alexis Smith (25th) and Rowynn Slivka (26th) also scored for Salida in the freshman race.

“Alexis Smith was considering not starting because of sickness but rode anyway to a 25th-place finish,” Kelley said.

In the junior varsity girls’ race, Maddie Porter finished 15th, and Ruby Shomion crossed 26th.

Gwen Ramsey had the team’s second-best finish, placing 13th in the sophomore girls’ race.

“The conditions were really great for racing, and the course was a good mixture of up and super fun downhill with switchbacks into the finish,” Ramsey said. “Overall I had a lot of fun, and the team did awesome.”

Seda Condell finished 41 seconds behind Ramsey in 15th, tying her best result of the season, while Amelia Capozza crossed 27th.

Keagen Cox led the boys in Eagle with his best result of the year, placing 21st out of 167 athletes in the junior varsity race. Daniel Richardson also scored points for Salida in the race, placing 45th.

Ethan NeJame Zeiset netted his best result in the sophomore race with a solid 16th place.

In the freshman boys’ race, Eddie Glaser finished 25th, Jackson Karls had his best race of the year to finish 26th, as did Ellis Haas to place 49th.

Emma Diesslin (30th), Gianna Fritz (47th), Tess Darracott (37th), Eoin Blackburn (53rd), Iaian Stewart (95th), Cooper Wood (97th), Colin King (98th), Ford Carlos (63rd), Garrett Kearns (68th), Ian Vallier (75th), Daniel Millett (77th), Chase Diesslin (78th), Agulin Brunel (126th), Eli Waldbaum (88th), Charlie Schieren (97th), Ison White (102nd), Casey Pyle (107th), Amory Kindle (146th) and Araya Rodrigues (DNF) also competed for Salida. They didn’t score team points, but some of them also helped punch their tickets to state.

“A lot of hard work has gone into these results,” the coach said. “We have a young team. These bike racers’ improvement has been fantastic to watch.”  

The 27 Spartans and Lady Spartans who qualified for the state race include Gillis and Ruby Brown in the varsity division.

Porter, Shomion, Fritz, Cox and Richardson all qualified for the junior varsity championship.

In the sophomore races, Ramsey, Condell, Amelia Capozza, Rodrigues, Darracott, Nejame Zeiset, Carlos and Millett all qualified for state.

Dziura, Leddington, Smith, Slivka, Emma Diesslin, Glaser, Karls, Kerns, Chase Diesslin, Haas, Blackburn and Vallier will compete in the state freshman championships.

To qualify for state, the competitors had to race in at least three races and finish the season standing’s in the top 45 for the varsity division and the top 80 for the other divisions.

“We have one more weekend of racing in Durango for the Colorado State Championship, and we’re all looking forward to watching 27 rad Salida kids go for it,” the coach said.