High school cyclist wins top honor at State Cyclocross Championship

Local cyclist Cole Paton won the gold medal in the State Cyclocross Championship.
Local cyclist Cole Paton won the gold medal in the State Cyclocross Championship.

A Sports Feature – Written By Reilly Kneedler

Originally published in the December 2 issue of the Wenatchee World

As a junior at Cashmere High School, Cole Paton already has a number of impressive cycling feats under his belt. However last weekend, he topped them off with a first place finish in the Washington State Cylcocross Championship.

Cylcocross consists of an off-road race on a street bike with all terrain tires; and Paton is well versed in the sport. Last year at the same event, he placed second in his age bracket.

With this upgrade to a first place finish, Paton is nothing but smiles: “I was super stoked to get it,” he said.

Although, it’s taken Paton years to reach this level: “I started racing when I was like eight, and then the last couple years have been pretty serious.” His advances in the sport eventually took him to the doorstep of Jason Jablonksi, a coach for SET Coaching.

Jablonksi supplies Paton with weekly workout routines, helps plan his tour schedule and has nothing but admiration for the young cyclist.

“Cole’s always been a gifted cyclist. He just knows how to ride a bike and has a real passion for it,” he said. “Now he’s coming into being one of the better juniors in the country, he could pretty much do this as a career.”

This championship event in Spokane was actually one of the closer races Paton has attended in the last few years. His race tours have taken him through California, Montana and even to Europe last summer.

“Going to Europe was probably the highlight of my career so far,” he said. “I like traveling to different places and seeing the different trails around the world.”

However constant travel can take a toll on anyone, let alone a student athlete.

“Sometimes it’s hard to juggle school, training and work. That’s probably the hardest part (about cycling.)”

Looking forward, Paton and Jablonski have very similar goals for the young contender’s next season: get top three at the National Championship and eventually make the USA Traveling Team.

According to Paton, the whole experience so far is: “pretty awesome, I just love the atmosphere of cycling.”

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