SMS MTB Wins Northern New England Overall Team Title 2 years in a Row
The Stratton Mountain School Mountain Biking team won the Northern New England Overall Team Title following their final race of the season at Vermont Academy on Wednesday, Oct 31, racking up 13 straight wins for the team—and two back-to-back Overall Team Titles—over two seasons.
The final Championship race was held on the slick, intricate, and technical trails of Vermont Academy. Leading the charge were seniors Charlotte Ogden (Nordic ‘19) and Conor Munns (Nordic ‘19), who both won their respective A races. Munns battled with Proctor standout Chris Golden to win the top spot in the A race, while Ogden went wire-to-wire for her win.
Asa Chalmers (Nordic ‘20) placed fourth in the A race, followed by Mathias Boudreau-Golfman (Nordic ‘21) in fifth. Though Finn Baily (Nordic ‘23) found himself stuck in the mud early in the B race, Post-Graduate student Zander Martin managed to pull him along until he could unleash his skills on the slippery rocks and roots to finish fourth. Rookie rider Gavin Blauch (Nordic ‘20) finished a strong second in the C category as well.
Though the SMS Mountain Biking team has done exceedingly well over the last two seasons, they often find themselves competing against more practiced teams due to the school’s focus on competitive winter sports and college preparatory academics. Nonetheless, the races provide a great venue to practice racing in a fun environment and prepare SMS student-athletes for the winter season.
“We race against teams that ride five or six days a week, but we only did 2 rides total this fall alongside the seven races,” said SMS Nordic Skiing Coach Matt Boobar, who heads the school’s Fall Mountain Biking program. “The kids are crazy fit and ride a lot in the summer, and they continue to train on roller skis, by running, and in the gym one school starts up. They love adding in mountain biking as part of their training.”
The team competes in the Northern New England High School Mountain Bike Series, an inclusive league comprised of more than 25 middle schools, independent schools, and public high schools. The series is comprised of six Eastern races, six Western Races, and one overall final. Team scores are based on top 5 riders regardless of gender or category (the series segments riders into A, B, and C categories based on skill level), and races take place on courses between 2 and 3 miles long for 30 to 75 minutes. Each course is unique, offering its own local flavor of speed, elevation, and technicality.
“This exposes the riders to all sorts of different challenges so they can really develop a complete mountain bike skill set,” Boobar explained. “At SMS we love the how the mountain biking races replicate the demands of a cross-country ski race, from the fitness level required to terrain changes, balance, line, and gear selection.”