Since last year, things have changed at Drake Well BMX. And all for the better. 

Sunday afternoon, 154 riders from around the state trekked to the far end of the Ed Myer Complex to race in the state qualifier. 

In order to qualify for the state championships, a rider must race in at least four state qualifiers, and for the western half of Pennsylvania, Sunday was the first one. 

“Everything went really smooth,” said Kelly MacDonald, the track secretary and board member. 

Aside from the newly revamped track, another addition to this year’s state qualifier race was the pro-am money race, which drew in some riders that might not have raced otherwise. 

The race paid out 100 percent to the winner. For the men’s pro-am race, the field was filled with six racers. Only three raced in the women’s pro-am. 

“We had a lot of people asking for [the pro-am race] this year,” said Brock Craig, Drake Well BMX board member. 

“We just decided at the last minute

that we were going to do it,” Craig said, adding, “two riders came just for that race alone.” 

With about the same turnout as last year’s state qualifier, there was nothing short of a compliment for the work put into the track.

“I think more than anything, it was all the people commenting on how much the track has changed,” and the facilities, said Craig. 

The track also presents new challenges, especially for riders that were used to downhill tracks. 

“We have riders, that are serious riders, coming from Pittsburgh, saying ‘Hey, this is a challenge,’” MacDonald said. 

Registration started at 9 a.m., making it a long race day. But, the long day was well worth it, at least according to Mike Murdoch, the track director. 

“The new track is amazing,” Murdoch said. “We had so many compliments about the track. It’s hard to not keep from smiling after long days of continuously hand-working everything. It came together nicely.” 

The weather center in Cleveland was calling for harsh thunderstorms over the weekend. Thankfully for the board and volunteers, the rain never made an appearance. 

In contrast to that, there were still challenges presented. 

“We had a few things going on to deal with,” Murdoch said. “The wind was an issue, which made half of the track have a lot of headwind. The wind also kept the track dry. It was hard to keep dust down sometimes. Luckily, though, people from other tracks lended a hand [which] helped really whip things together, just before practice.”

The day was full of cowbells, dust, and extremely close races, which made for exciting races. 

“The highlight of the day would be the close racing,” Murdoch said. “Just because you’re in first the whole race doesn’t mean you have it in the bag. There were a lot of clean passes that went on all day.”

 

Results from local riders

5 and over balance bike

Aiden Tucker, second place. 

 

26-30 women cruiser

Amanda Burlingame, first place; Tracey Sampson, second place; Debbie Gelletta, third place.

 

10 cruiser

Devon Deeter, third place. 

 

16 cruiser

Reagan Riordan, third place. 

 

26-30 cruiser

Eddie Fenchel, first place; Jeff Harry, third place. 

 

36-40 cruiser

Brian Trick, third place; Brock Craig, fourth place. 

 

15 expert

Curtis Burlingame, first place; Cole Spaulding, third place. 

 

36-40 expert

Brian Trick, second place. 

 

11 girls 

Holly Sheve, first place; Brook Pfeiffer, third place; Kaelyn MacDoanld, fifth place. 

 

13 girls 

Shania Hanlon, third place; Meghan Pfeiffer, fourth place. 

 

14 girls 

Taylor Claypoole, fourth place. 

 

15-16 girls 

Anna Shreve, second place. 

 

9 expert

Alexander Trick, second place. 

 

10 expert

Brady Heeter, first place; Vincent Randazzo, second place; Devon Deeter, fourth place. 

 

12 expert

Dylan Totterdale, third place. 

 

14 expert

Zachary Randazzo, third place; Asa Adelhardt, fourth place; Reagan Riordan, fifth place. 

 

28-35 novice

Tom Hunt, first place; Eian West, fourth place. 

 

46 and over novice

John Smidinsky, first place. 

 

10 intermediate

Josiah Grace, first place; Sebastian Grace, second place; Jacob Knapp, sixth place; Jeff Hanlon, seventh place. 

 

14 intermediate

Christopher MacDonald, second place; Zakary Elder, third place. 

 

16 intermediate

Trevor Snyder, sixth place. 

 

28-35 intermediate

Carlo Randzzo, second place; Mike Murdoch, third place; Timberly Cressman, fourth place.

 

41-45 cruiser

Carlo Randazzo, second place; Craig Roehm, fourth place. 

 

7 novice

Eric Jackson, first place; Rick Tucker, second place; Cecelia Kline, fourth place. 

 

9 novice

Zoe Marini, first place. 

 

11 novice

Frankie Kee, first place. 

 

15 novice

Chloe Heeter, first place; Jessica Smolinsky, second place; Dalton Fredericks, third place. 

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