Titans hit the trails for first race of season

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Monica and Shawn Viola show their support for their son Gavin’s first race of the season. Photo provided by Robert Parks

The members of the Titans cycling team hit the trails on Feb. 24 for the Beaches to Boulders race. It was the first race of the season for the Titans.

The first race of the day was the JV1 class made up of students in grades 10 through 12. The 11-mile course consisted of a long road climb, followed by a fast single track descent. Riders then worked their way throughout the Lake Perris State Recreation Area trails along the lakeshore. Returning junior and assistant team captain Austin Moreno led the team with a hard-fought 8th place finish – his career high.

Shortly behind was Austin Landon Schmidt a junior and new rider who overcame another rider crashing in front of him to finish 15th in the race.

Canyon Lakers Conor Camporredondo and Austin Moreno take a break with fellow teammate Landon Schmidt. Photo provided by Robert Parks

Sophomore Brian Sulli, also new to the team, had an outstanding performance with a 25th place overall.

Jonathan McDonald, a returning second-year rider, rode to a 32nd place finish on his new Specialized Epic FSR – which he worked all summer and fall to save for.

New riders Kyle Wilson, Conor Camporredondo and Kyle Beauchemin finished 36th, 49th and 57th respectively.

Following the JV1 class was the huge freshmen boys’ field. This year, the Titans welcomed six freshmen boys to the team, all of whom were incredibly excited for their first race.

Gavin Viola, who had raced on the local middle school team, had his best career finish with a 57th place. Coming in just ahead of Gavin was Aidan Tanny in 55th place.

Fastest of all was Ethan Thomas, whose older brother raced on the team for three years.  Ethan drew a last row start but hit the gas from the green flag, sprinting to the front group of the field within a few hundred yards. Ethan battled to jump ahead of two different chase groups to finish the day in 16th place.

Canyon Laker Steven Iosbaker competes in the final race of the day. Photo provided by Robert Parks

The most anticipated race of the day was the girls’ wave. For the first time ever, the Titans brought five girls to the starting line. Two JV1 returning sophomores, Teresa Iosbaker and Megan Moreno, led their teammates into staging and calmed the new girls’ nerves.

Megan quickly took off with the lead 20 JV1 girls. She battled throughout her 11-mile race to finish in 11th place, a personal best. New sophomore Arianna Maldonado finished in 25th place, sprinting ahead of a competitor to gain a spot at the finish line. Teresa Iosbaker finished in 35th place, a personal record for her.

“Two of our happiest moments were watching new riders Jacki Ponti and Kassie Beauchemin complete their first ever race,” said coach Robert Parks. “Both girls are new to mountain biking and have never competed in any form of organized sports competition. We knew going in that just finishing the race would be a monumental achievement for both girls. It was with absolute crazed enthusiasm the entire team, along with many other parents and racers, were able to cheer both girls all the way to their finishes. Kassie ended the race in tears, overflowing with pride for her accomplishment.”

The final race of the day was the JV2 race. Team captain Steven Iosbaker will be the only Titan rider competing in this elite field. Steven battled for the 16.5- mile race, fighting winds and cramps. He finished in 34th place overall, which was a disappointment for him, but a victory considering the difficult day he had.

“Anyone with racing experience will tell you that your character isn’t tested on the days everything goes well, it’s tested on the days when things don’t go as planned,” said Robert. “We were very proud of Steven for fighting through.”

The team ended the day in 9th place overall in the Division 1 field. This was a solid performance for the team considering they have no varsity riders this year and only one JV2 rider, both of which have significantly higher points values.

“We were incredibly proud of the effort all the students put forth race weekend where they competed with more than 1,000 student athletes,” said the coach.

The team’s next race will take place on Mar. 17 at the Vail Lake Challenge in Temecula.

This year’s roster includes Jacalyn Ponti, Teresa Iosbaker, Kassie Beauchemin, Arianna Maldonado, Brian Sulli, Jonathan McDonald, Kyle Beauchemin, Landon Schmidt, Wyatt Faught, Michael Karnes, Aiden Hatfield, Aidan Tanny, Steven Iosbaker and Canyon Lake residents Austin Moreno, Megan Moreno, Gavin Viola, Conor Camporredondo, Ethan Thomas and Kyle Wilson.

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