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Mountain Biking Season Recap

By Emma O'Leary in Sports

The Fairview High School Mountain Bike team concluded their season with several tremendous accomplishments: they placed second at state, rider Nathan Pawlak won state at the sophomore level and senior Molly Madden won the Exceptional Female Athlete Award.  

Nathan Pawlak won first place at state at the sophomore level, coming in 45 seconds before the second place rider.
Pawlak said that his performance was not a surprise, and that he had “somewhat” expected it.
According to Pawlak, he was very happy upon realizing that he had gotten first place. “It was really good to know that the work paid off,” he said.

“I definitely love the sport a lot, so I was just really focused on it,” said Pawlak.  

The team snagged a second place finish at state with a total of 4,787 points, while Boulder High got first place with 5,038 points.

Even though the team placed second at state, many of their riders did not have their best day.

“We kind of were hoping that if everybody on our team had a really good day, like their best day, then they had a few riders that maybe didn’t have their best day, then we probably could've beat them. But it didn’t work out that way,” said Andrew Feeney, one of the coaches of the mountain bike team.

Ethan Wright, the team’s only varsity boy rider, could not finish the race due to an injury, and Madden, a senior captain, crashed close to the start of the race.

“We’re still really proud of how these kids rode, and it just is sort of unfortunate that we didn’t have a good day,” said Feeney.

Despite the fact that Madden did not have her best race at state, she won the Exceptional Female Athlete Award, which is given to one girl in Colorado.

“I was very surprised,” said Madden about winning the award. “There are over a thousand people in the league, so, yeah, it was huge.”

According to Madden, there are five pillars that they look for when deciding who should receive the award.

“They’re looking for someone who exemplifies these five pillars, which are: strong minds, bodies, characters, inclusive environment and equal opportunity,” she said.

Madden said that the award recognized her work in increasing the number of girls on the team.

“I tried to get girls involved when I was a captain, and I ended up increasing the amount of girls from, there were only about four of us when I started, to now, there’s much more, and we make up 80 percent of the team scoring,” said Madden.  

“The real key to our team’s success this year was our girls. Our girls’ team was incredible, we had a lot of depth,” said Feeney.

According to Feeney, the top 10 riders are scored at every race, and eight of those top 10 have to be a different gender, resulting in the girls making up 80 percent of the team’s scoring, as Madden said.

“For us we always have eight girls scoring points for us, whereas our rivals usually have two girls score for them and eight boys,” Feeny said.

Feeny said that some of the best moments of the season were when the team beat Boulder High, their rival, in the first two races of the year. Not only that, but they beat Boulder High by one point each time.

“The kids were super excited, the coaches were super excited, the parents. And it was kind of unexpected,” Feeney said on the victories over Boulder High.

According to Feeney, the riders’ hard work and determination makes the team excel.

“One of the quotes from one of our coaches is just ‘keep the wheels in motion’. Keep going, no matter what,” said Feeney.  

“Our team comradery is awesome. Relative to the other teams, we support each other a lot more and we get together a lot,” said Madden.

While many riders achieved amazing accomplishments this year, Feeney is still looking forward to the coming season.

“We’re really excited for next year because we’re going to have a bunch more varsity riders,” he said, adding that this gives the team the potential to score more points in all of the categories.

Pawlak is one rider who will be moving up to varsity, and he hopes to place at state at the varsity level in the next season.


“[This season was] just a lot of fun,” said Madden.

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