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Lightfighters, Palma, SHS Cowboys: Conference Competitions

Photo above, provided courtesy of Cowboys Coach Jeff Lindenthal, was shot 3/21/17.

  • Update, May 20, 2017: NEW POST: Monterey County Teens Bike: at the 2017 California State High School Mountain Bike Championships and elsewhere. Read about all three of our local high school teams and results from the May 14 racing in Petaluma.
  • Update, May 17, 2017: See “WHAT A WAY TO END THE 2017 SEASON,” a race report by the NorCal High School Cycling League, for more info on the 2017 California High School Mountain Bike State Championships on May 14, 2017 in Petaluma, CA. You’ll find Monterey Bay Lightfighters, Palma School, and Salinas High Cowboys all in that report.
  • Update, May 16, 2017: Matthew Saldaña of Palma School, Salinas is a state champ, as of the May 14 competition in Petaluma. Matthew won the JV D2 State title. Best wishes at the nationals, Matthew.
  • Update, May 8, 2017: The Salinas High School Cowboys Racing mountain bike team has again qualified for the state championships after winning  the Northern California League South Conference team title on on May 7, 2017. [Update, May 17: Noah Lindenthal placed 4th in the Varsity category at the state championships in Petaluma; congrats, Noah!]  the In addition, Coach Jeff Lindenthal was named Coach of the Year for the South Conference, as reported by John Devine in the Monterey Herald on 5/7/17.
Update, 3/19/17:  Congratulations to the Salinas High Cowboys on this week’s competition, with a special shout-out to freshmen Sarah Flynn and Tyler Duffus; sophomore Sabeli Saldana and freshman Brad Campbell; sophomore Gabriel Gonzalez; varsity racer Noah Lindenthal; and junior varsity racers Stephanie Garibay and Daniel Reynolds. For details, see “County Clipboard: Salinas mountain bikers take home title” by John Devine in the Monterey County Herald.

Enjoy Cowboy TV, a weekly series produced by media students at Salinas High School, which includes such shows as

Help keep people up to date about all of Monterey County’s high school bike teams: submit a guest post. Click here for details or just phone Mari.
Help the public know when they can come out to watch competitions; submit a calendar listing; click here.
Scroll this post for some archived stories on past competitions, and scroll to the end for a sampling of other posts you may find of interest.

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Update: Salinas High Cowboys won the NorCal South Conference title on May 7, 2016 and will compete for the State Champion title on May 22, 2016 in Los Olivos.
Congratulations to Cowboys’ team members and other Monterey County youth who competed May 7. Read a report on the May 7 event in the Salinas Californian

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NorCal League high school mountain biking teams gather again at Laguna Seca May 7-8, 2016.
This two-day event will be Race #5 of the NorCal League’s Conference Championships. May 7th will be South Conference teams (in which Monterey County’s high school teams compete), and May 8th, North Conference.

The 2016 California High School Mountain Biking State Championships will be May 22 at the Dirt Club, Los Olivos, CA.

Visit the NorCal site for details.

Scroll beneath the May 7-8, 2016 poster below for some history about Monterey County’s high school mountain biking teams at the California High School MTB State Championshipsat Laguna Seca on May 11, 2014.

Screen Shot 2016-04-26 at 11.16.44 PM

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California High School Mountain Biking State Championships

at Laguna Seca – May 11, 2014

Congrats to Salinas High. Read Jim Johnson’s 5/11/14 story in the Monterey County Herald, “Local team among top finishers at Laguna Seca state finals.” We’re proud of all three local teams–Monterey Composite, Palma, and SHS!

And read Tom Leyde’s 5/31/14 Off 68 story, “Palma mountain bike team hits the trails.”

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More than 100 California high schools will send nearly 1,000 riders to the California High School Mountain Biking State Championships on Sunday, May 11 from 10 a.m. to 3 pm. The championships are being held in Monterey County for the first time ever, and at Laguna Seca,1025 Monterey-Salinas Highway 68, Salinas.  The Monterey County Bike Month poster announces this is one of the hottest things happening for 2014!

Come out and cheer on your favorite teams! Spectators, there is no fee to attend, simply the usual Monterey County Parks $8 per vehicle fee at the gate. Refer to event tips on the NorCal site.  NorCal advises no dogs at this event. (Got dog? Make use of tips from Sea Otter Classic, a bike event held annually at Laguna Seca.)

Local hosts for the race are Monterey County’s three high school mountain bike teams. In its first year in the NorCal league is Monterey Composite, open to boys and girls who are homeschooled or in a private or public school without a team; in its second year, Palma School’s Chieftains; and in its seventh year, Salinas High School Cowboys.

Monterey County teams  compete in the NorCal High School Cycling LeagueSouth Conference. For more info, see NorCal and SoCal are the two Leagues in the State of California sanctioned by the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).Founded in 2009, NICA develops high school mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA provides leadership, services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events, and supports every student-athlete in the development of strong body, strong mind and strong character through their efforts on the bike.

Heading for the podium: Monterey County’s longest-running team, the Salinas High Cowboys

The Salinas High School Cowboy mountain bike team will be competing for a spot on the podium. The Cowboys hail from Monterey County’s largest city and county seat, and they recently clinched first place in the NorCal League South Conference Championship race held at Boggs Mountain on April 27, 2014.

The Cowboys have a team of 38 riders, and several finished the regular season with first place overall rankings. These included freshmen boy Roberto Luis Castro, sophomore girl Rebecca Warwick, junior varsity boy Burke Kennedy, and varsity girl Chantel Duliba.

These riders will be joining their teammates in competing against high school athletes from across  California for one of eleven State Champion jerseys to be awarded.


Above photo provided courtesy of Salinas High Cowboys. 

Thanks to David Royal, photojournalist with the Monterey County Herald, for capturing the excitement in this interview with Salinas High assistant coach Jim Warwick. Read a Herald staff report here.

For contacts for all three Monterey County teams, refer to Bicycling Monterey’s directory of resources.
About the course

The State Championship courses consistently challenge a rider’s technical skills and physical fitness, and the Laguna Seca course is no exception. Check out the course map on the NorCal site. This mostly single-track course carves through the grassy hills behind the Laguna Seca racetrack. A steep half-mile start brings riders to the Couch Canyon loop, where they’ll descend for one and a half miles to the bottom of the course before two climbs totaling 700 feet bring them across the finish line and back to the main descent.

Notable features are the mile of beautiful, swoopy single track built by the BLM and NorCal League and the infamously steep climb at the end of each lap known as “Hurl Hill.”.The course distance is four miles, and Freshmen – Varsity categories will race between 2 and 5 laps.

About the SHS Cowboys

The Cowboys varsity boys will be led by twins Dale and Andrew McHaney, who finished the season ranked 2 and 3; and JV boys Burke Kennedy, Levi Jago, and Hudson Courtright, who finished the season ranked 1, 4, and 6 overall.

Sophomore boys include Hector Florez, who finished the season in 3rd place overall. He’s followed by Gianni Ottone, 4th, and Sebastian Burch, 7th.

Top freshmen boys include Robert Luis Castro, 1st overall. He’s followed by another pair of twin brothers, Nash Courtright, 3rd, and James Courtright, 4th overall.

In the Varsity Girls division, junior Chantel Duliba placed first in every race in her quest to win a State Champion jersey. JV girls include Kasey Seltzer, 9th overall.

Sophomore girls include 1st place overall, Rebecca Warwick; 2nd place overall, Quincey Linder; and 5th, Vanessa Vilafana.

Freshmen girls were led by Kate Wenger, 6th overall. She’s followed by Sophia Federico, 9th.

Welcome and best wishes to all high school mountain bikers!

Special thanks to the awesome coaches guiding all three Monterey County high school mountain bike teams. Thanks also to Head Coach Jeff Lindenthal and Coach and Faculty Advisor Jim Warwick for keeping Bicycling Monterey informed about the Cowboys’ progress.

Some related posts on the Bicycling Monterey website
This post was first published in 2014, with some subsequent updates.

This post was published on 20 March 2017. One or more changes last made to this post on 1 November 2017.

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