LIBERTY – Spinning the spokes for the final ride of the season, local Mountain Biking team, the Catskill Claws, showed home-field pride with leading competitors medaling in the middle and high …
LIBERTY – Spinning the spokes for the final ride of the season, local Mountain Biking team, the Catskill Claws, showed home-field pride with leading competitors medaling in the middle and high school classes, landing a ninth place overall finish in the season as the NICA New York Championship took place at Walnut Mountain Park in Liberty on June 5.
The sunny event welcomed 248 riders competing among 22 teams.
“It’s just been an incredible experience for all of us, all the volunteers, all the coaches, all the parents,” said League Director Jason Cairo.
“A lot of our athletes were looking for a sport to be a part of a team atmosphere, and did not gravitate to stick and ball sports. We came on the scene and started offering it to kids from Rochester, to Long Island, and in between, and they were really taking to it.”
For the middle school competitors, the course was 315 feet of ascension per lap, with each lap being 3.5 miles long. Riders were expected to complete three laps in a 60 minute-time frame.
Catskill Claws Middle School points leaders were Sylvan Garrelts (#5019), who made a podium finish for 1st place in the 7th grade boys with a fastest lap time of 18:14, and Caitlin Walsh (#3005), who made a podium finish for first place in the 7th grade girls class. Garrelts’ total time was 54:59, which earned him 550 points for the race and finishing a perfect season with an overall score of 2075 points and number one in the state for the 7th grade boys class.
Walsh took first place for the event in her class and first place overall for the season with 2036 points, with her fastest lap being 23:32, totaling up to a time of 1:15:38 after three laps.
For high school competitors, the course was more challenging, with 390 feet of elevation change per lap and each lap being 4.75 miles in length.
Catskill Claws high school points leaders were Agatha Ryan (#109) in JV girls, Ryan Walsh (#232) in JV boys, Braedan Clarke (#823) for Freshman Boys, and Benjamin Valladares (#523) for Sophomore Boys.
Ryan made a podium finish in 2nd place after completing 3 of the 4 laps in the 90 minute time frame, and had a fastest lap of 29:25, earning her the 2nd spot on the podium and 2nd place overall for the season.
Walsh finished 3 of the 4 laps with a fastest lap time of 29:56, and ended the overall season in 19th place in JV Boys.
Clarke earned 419 points and finished the championship event in 17th place in Freshman boys with a total time of 1:32 after completing 3 of 3 laps. Clarke finished in 15th place overall with 1604 points.
Valladares (#523) earned 413 points after finishing 18th place in Sophomore boys with a total time of 1:31:34 and completing 3 of 3 laps. Valladares finished in 21st place overall with 1163 points.
Catskill Claws concluded their season with an overall 9th place finish with 8623 points.
“Holding the state championship here in Sullivan County was a great way to end the season, kids from other teams across the state had a great time on our trails, and the weather couldn't have been nicer for the final event of the season," said Catskill Claws Team Director Keith Stephenson.
“I couldn't be happier with the efforts our kids made at this event, hopefully it will return to Liberty next year since we haven't had an event in our region for a few years now."
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