Last weekend, the Oneonta Composite Mountain Biking Team finished second in the New York State High School Championships.
The team is made up of eight local teens, five from Oneonta and three from Cooperstown. It should be noted that the Oneonta Composite Team is not affiliated with Oneonta High. It is an independent team.
The finals were held at the Reidlbauer Resort at Round Top, a small town in Greene County near Cairo.
The high school league was formed last year and 15 schools from around the state compete. Many of the schools are from downstate, but Oneonta, Syracuse and Schenectady represent teams from central New York.
Head coach Mike Maben, as well as coaches Walter Baskin and John Bagby, were really proud of their team, as they should be.
Samantha Fanion, a freshman from Cooperstown, finished the season as the top overall woman and placed first for the day.
In the men’s division, Sam Baskin of Oneonta took first for the day and finished the season as the top overall men’s rider.
The team went into the finals with the potential of winning the top position after several other races this year, but two flat tires led to its second-place finish in the overall standings. The team considered the season a huge success, though, with no injuries and only two mechanical problems.
Oneonta’s runner-up finish was a total team effort. The hard pedaling of Mike Bagby, Thian Misner, Logan Hazard, Nick Fanion, Jackie Pondolfino, Andrew von Tsurikov, Samantha Fanion and Sam Baskin racked up enough points for the team’s success.
For those unfamiliar with mountain bike racing, this isn’t just a ride down the road or a leisurely pedal in the park. Off-road racing is through the trees, in the mud, over rocks and around sharp corners while being jammed up with other competitors who are all trying to get into the lead. It’s a grueling test of speed, balance, endurance and riding ability.
The team is also supported by Otsego Bicycles of Oneonta. Ed Lorenz supplied the bright-yellow jerseys and cheered them along throughout the entire season.
Congratulations to the team members as well as the coaches. You guys did a great job. I can’t wait to see what happens next year.
Rick Brockway writes a weekly outdoors column for The Daily Star. Email him at email@example.com.