Santa Cruz High student and Santa Cruz Composite rider Jacob Albrecht pulled away from the boys varsity pack on the final climb of the Laguna Seca Grand Prix, dubbed “Hurl Hill,” and held on for the win on Sunday.
The race, at the Laguna Seca Recreational Area in Monterey, was the third NorCal High School Mountain Biking League event and the one with the toughest hills this season.
Albrecht finished the approximately 25-mile trek in 1 hour, 32 minutes, 57 seconds. He was followed by Marin Catholic’s Tyler Smith [1:33:04, second] and Salinas’ Bryan Duke [1:33:14, third].
Independent rider and Pacific Collegiate School student Tobin Ortenblad, the defending state high school mountain biking champion, placed fourth [1:33:23], and the Branson Bulls’ Eliel Anttila rounded out the top five [1:36:02].
Albrecht’s victory boosted his points in the standings; although, he’s still in second behind Duke, who won the first two races of the season. The margin between them narrowed, with Albrecht having 1,604 points to Duke’s 1,631.
Albrecht wasn’t the only mountain biker from Santa Cruz County to bring home a win. Tom Fox [SCC] won the sophomore boys’ 15-mile Division 2 race and Aptos High’s Steffen Andersen won the frosh boys’ 10-mile Division 2 race.
Fox’s win came with a decent lead over runner-up and teammate Chance Tiner. He crossed the finish line in 1:02:15 to Tiner’s 1:03:10. Andersen, though, eked his out, edging Santa Cruz Mountains Composite rider Joe Van Pykeren by two seconds, 41:04-41:06.
The girls varsity race was won by Josie Nordrum of Redwood High [1:24:15]. She leads the girls standings with 1,621 points.
In the team standings, Redwood High is leading in Division 1 with 11,533 points. The Georgiana Bruce Kirby team is the sole Santa Cruz County squad in Division 1 and is currently in 12th place out of 14 teams with 8,744 points. In Division 2, the Spartans High School Mountain Bike Composite leads with 6,071 points and the top Santa Cruz County squad is the SCC, in eighth of 32 teams with 4,532 points.
The next NCHSMBL event is scheduled for April 15 at the Boggs Mountain Demonstration Forest in Cobb.
— Christina Gullickson, on Twitter at CGullTweets