The bike trails at Heritage Park in Watkinsville more closely resemble Gilmer County terrain than any other of the Georgia League mountain bike race venues, which is to say the trails are technical, steep, and fast. Team Cartecay riders tend to love racing Heritage Park, and that affection showed in Georgia League’s Race No. 4, with impressive Cartecay Team finishes across all racer categories.
Headlining the effort, Cohutta Composite finished a strong eighth place for the day, while Cartecay Composite held fast to their fifth place ranking, and Gilmer High School slugged it out for a 23rd place finish on the day in spite of missing some of their key athletes due to injury.
The Cartecay Composite squad is defending its fifth place overall in the Division II Season Point Series with Cohutta Composite holding fast in sixth place overall. Despite Saturday’s tough finish, Gilmer High School is 17th overall in the Division I season point series.
Each high school athlete has an opportunity to contribute to team points, with higher placed finishers and upper classmen contributing commensurately higher points to the team’s Season Point Series tally. Team points are calculated using a League required ratio of male to female riders.
Emma Moore, the 11th grade phenom who is in her fourth year of racing, placed 2nd in the elite JV I girls category. Moore has qualified, according to Georgia League rules, for an invitation to race next season at the exclusive varsity level, where she will be racing between 10 to 15 miles per race.
Louisa Alonso, also a fourth year Cartecay team member, placed 5th in the freshman girls’ division. The deck is stacked for Team Cartecay next year, with both Clare Moore and Evangelina Giet placing second and fourth respectively, in the eighth grade girls’ division. Next year, both girls will be contributing to team points as they enter the freshman race category.
Cohutta Composite is enjoying the increasingly impressive work and points contribution by junior rider, Samuel Woodall, who placed 13th in the JV I boys category. The JV I category is an elite category, penultimate to the “By Invitation Only” varsity class. Woodall’s been steadily improving over the season, putting in his best effort and placement yet for the 2020 season, covering the 4-mile technical loop in 20 minutes 18.8 seconds, separated from a podium spot by a mere 1 minute and 8 seconds.
“That’s my favorite course because it has a mix of smooth and technical features, and it’s not just flat the whole way ... variety appeals to me,” Woodall said of the Heritage Park venue. “Technically speaking, it’s kind of like our Amadahy Trail at the Woodring Branch of Carters Lake,” Woodall reflected, “and our team cardio level was good because of the long practice days we’ve put in at Talking Rock and riding up to Potato Patch from Gates Chapel Road.”
Greg Calabretta finished top 20 in the crowded and competitive JV II category, placing 18th overall out of 112 competitors in the class. Cohutta Composite Head Coach, Chris Harbin, noted “It is a wonderful thing to see your student athletes working hard, we believe our athletes are some of the hardest working athletes, and it is very exciting to see Team Cartecay student athletes make improvements. We have many athletes deserving recognition for their efforts and improvements.” For example, freshman Cartecay Composite rider, Dontay Adams, improved by 14 positions from race No. 3 with a heroic sprint to the finish that drew cheers from the announcer’s booth. As well, Gilmer High Squad riders saw noteworthy improvements from race No. 3 with Samuel Fontenot moving up 20 places, James Gray ascending 19 places in the eighth-grade boys , and Jake Hoek improving his placement by 12 places in the eighth-grade boys division. “We are seeing global improvements ... everyone is responding to our training regimen, including our youngest riders”, offered Gilmer High squad Head Coach, Chris Gray.