DUST2 team takes ninth at state championships


By Hadley Phillips | DUST2

The Pagosa Springs DUST2 Mountain Bike Team just finished out its season at the state championships in Glenwood Springs. 

The Spring Valley Scramble is located on the Colorado Mountain College campus, which overlooks the beautiful Mt. Sopris. 

Our team had a slight advantage over some of the other regions as it had raced the course a month prior. The trail through the pinion and sagebrush was familiar and fast. 

The 5.5-mile course has 646 feet of climbing per lap with a mix of single- and double-track trails for passing opportunities. 

The state championship racing is different from all the other four races because it lasts two days. This is due to all four of the Colorado regions, with some New Mexico, South Dakota and Wyoming teams joining, racing at the same venue. This adds up to around 800 racers in total. Even with this many racers, we had some amazing placements.

Saturday morning started with the freshmen girls warming up at 7:45 a.m. and taking off soon after. All three of our freshmen girls raced in the cold, but this didn’t stop them from doing amazingly. 

Sophia Alexander placed 12th with a time of 1:04, Adelyn Hittle placed 15th with a time of 1:06 and Kenli Bush placed 81st with a time of 1:37. 

After all the girls finished, the team realized that Alexander had just placed the best out of any Pagosa rider at state. This is a huge accomplishment and we can’t wait to see how these girls grow and get faster and faster every year. 

The freshmen boys followed behind the girls with three of the four qualified racers racing. 

Sadly, Van Halterman injured himself the week before and was not able to race. He still attended the race to cheer on his fellow team members, though. 

The three remaining boys were Jackson Chaney placing 77th with a time of 1:05, Justin Sewell placing 95th with a time of 1:08 and Aaron Sowle placing 119th out of 142 boys with a time of 1:11. 

At this point in the day, it was beginning to warm up for the JV girls. They started at 11 a.m. All of our JV girls made it to state, two of whom are legacy riders, meaning they have raced all four years of high school. 

The girls took off in a cloud of dust and finished two laps later. Rylie Carr came in 21st with a time of 1:07, Natalie Mashue (legacy) came in 32nd with a time of 1:10 and Hadley Phillips (legacy) came in 45th out of 102 girls with a time of 1:12. After the JV girls were done, the team left for town to eat and recover or, for those racing Sunday, prepare. 

Sunday morning started again with a sunrise upon the stunning Mt. Sopris and the sophomore girl, Kaylee Hensle, warming up in the cold. With Hensle being the only Pagosa girl on the course, our cheer squad was able to spread out along the course and catch her at multiple different spots along the course. She finished 66th out of 73 girls with a time of 1:32. 

Her finish was followed by the sophomore boys’ start. Both Weston Phillips and Brady Ziminsky, our only two sophomore boys, barely squeezed past a large pileup at the beginning of their race, helping their times and placements greatly. 

Both boys were a blast to watch on the tight corners and the multiple drops they used as jumps along the course. 

Weston Phillips finished in 76th with a time of 1:00 flat and Ziminsky finished in 140th out of 152 boys with a time of 1:07. 

Bradley Lamoreaux (legacy), our only varsity boy, was up next. This was the most intense race to watch because varsity riders are skilled enough that they can be aggressive on the course. This means many sketchy passes, flying around sharp corners, but sometimes multiple crashes. 

Lamoreaux flew through his three laps in 1:21 minutes and placed 40th out of 95 racers. Just to further show his skills, Lamoreaux won the skills course on Saturday, earning himself some swag and the recognition his skills deserve. 

He wasn’t the only Pagosa rider to win the course, though. 

Coach Janine Emmets won the women’s coach segment of the skills course both Saturday and Sunday. She was cheered on by many of the team members on both days, which only solidified her coolness as a coach. 

Pagosa’s DUST2 team placed ninth out of 25 teams in the D2 division. This isn’t a podium finish, but an amazing placement for the number of kids who raced. Although the season has ended, the head coach Oliver Phillips and team director Emmets are already working on making next year as amazing as this one.