Salinas High’s Bryan Duke and Santa Cruz’s Jacob Albrecht [Santa Cruz Composite] dominated the boys varsity race in the NorCal High School Mountain Biking League’s opening event of the season — the Granite Bay Challenge — on Feb. 26. The duo finished within 18 seconds of each other, but more than a solid minute over the next fastest competitor, according to results posted on the NCHSMBL website on Friday.

Duke won in four laps, crossing the finish line in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 31 seconds, and Albrecht followed in 1:32:49. Tamalpais High’s Skyler Taylor followed in third [1:34:07], the Drake Pirates’ Lucas Newcomb followed in fourth [1:36:04], and San Marin High’s Matthew Erbentraut rounded out the top five [1:36:18].

Albrecht’s finish, which came with 540 points, helped pace his team — the SCC — which is now 11th in the standings with 1,488 points. The Spartans High School Mountain Bike Composite is in first place with 2,024 points.

Independent rider Shayna Powless won the girls race [three laps, 1:20:01] and was followed by Redwood High’s Josie Nordrum [1:20:30] in second, the Branson Bulls’ Kate Courtney [1:20:35] in third, the Drake Pirates’ Mackinzie Stanley in fourth [1:26:26], and independent rider Julie Barton in fifth [1:26:33]. No Santa Cruz County girls compete at the varsity level.

Other Santa Cruz County teams in the standings are the Santa Cruz Mountains Composite at 14th after its debut race with 1,395 points and the Aptos High team, which is at 15th with 1,306 points.

Pacific Collegiate School student and defending state high school mountain biking champion Tobin Ortenblad said via Twitter that he was absent from the opener because he was still resting up from the cyclocross season, where he represented the United States at worlds. He does expect to compete in the NorCal league this season.

The next NCHSMBL event, the Monterey Bay Classic, is scheduled for March 18 in Monterey.

–Christina Gullickson, CGullTweets on Twitter.

Editor’s Note: This post was updated at 11:36 a.m. March 4, 2012.