Student cyclers take second at state mountain biking race

May 8, 2012

By Christina Lords

Silas Harrison, Issaquah High School student and Eastside Composite team member, navigates a curve in the trail during the Washougal MX Challenge on April 15 in Washougal. Contributed

Game day looks and feels a little different to coach Phil Therrein and his crew of 18 student athletes.

“Nobody sits on the sidelines,” he said.  “Everybody races on race day.”

Therrein, the coach of an Eastside composite competitive high school mountain biking team since the Washington High School Cycling League’s inception two years ago, said he wouldn’t have it any other way.

The team took second place overall out of 19 teams at the Washougal MX Challenge on April 15 in Washougal, including a first-place finish in the varsity girls category from Mercer Island student Mikayla Davis.

Members of the team include four Mount Si students, as well as athletes from Issaquah, Skyline and Mercer Island high schools.

The Mount Si students include freshmen Nate Lewiston, Nick Larson, Joe Steenvroode and sophomore Boone Hapke.

Hapke finished the sophomore boys race in 58 minutes, 38 seconds, while Steenvroode, Lewiston and Larson finished the freshmen boys race in 47:48, 56:07 and 1:02:05, respectively.

The team competed for the third time this season at the Fort Steilacoom Invitational on April 29 in Lakewood before attending the state championships May 20.

The team practices three times a week at various locations, including Duthie Hill Park, Grand Ridge Park and Soaring Eagle Park and includes riders from the freshman to varsity level for girls and boys.

Each race takes place on a cross-country course between four and five miles long, taking about an hour and 15 to an hour and 30 minutes to complete.

Phil Therrein said the team focuses on strengthening skills in two areas: safe bike-handling skills and physical fitness.

“For us, it’s a no-cut sport,” he said. “We welcome anyone that wants to join the team. For our team, we have people that are brand new to competitive cycling. Some of them have never ridden a mountain bike or had never ridden a bike on a trail in their lives.

“We’re all out there together,” he said. “When the boys are out there racing, the girls are cheering them on. When the girls are out there racing, the guys are cheering them on. We encourage all of the families to come to events … it’s a very supportive environment.”

The team’s success wouldn’t be possible without Compass Outdoor Adventures, which provided bicycles to some of the team members who didn’t have them, and Gerks Ski and Cycle, which provides maintenance for the team at a discounted rate, Therrein said.

Christina Lords: 392-6434, ext. 239, or newcastle@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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