Okeeheelee Racers Take Part in Local Single, Prepare for States in Tampa

Okeeheelee hosted their biweekly local race single on Tuesday night, but it was with a different mood that racers flocked to the track.

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That’s because Tuesday’s race was the last local event before the racers hit the road for Friday’s state tournament. And as such, there was a mix of emotions before, during, and after the local single.

“I’m nervous because it’s different people and it’s my second state race,” Seth Lubas said, speaking on how felt about Friday.

But it was a good way to end the midweek race for Seth, who called his third run a triumph on Tuesday.

“I felt pretty good because I beat someone I normally don’t,” he said.

With Tuesday’s race split into age classes, the audience was treated to a variety of race sizes — some runs pitted just two or three people against each other. In one case, a racer ran the track herself.

But if all of the runs had something in common, it was definitely speed.

Manuela Roldan certainly had plenty of it. She spoke modestly after the racing event, touting nothing more than her consistency.

You’d never guess from her attitude that she’d won all three runs she participated in during the evening.

Photo credit: Chet Peterman – Staff Photographer

Racers Clay Sheffield and Rocco Pesaturo, who own the top two slots for points in the Boys category, nabbed recognition in Tuesday’s 12x and 14x races, respectively, but both are now turning their attention to Friday’s event in Tampa.

“Win both days,” Pesaturo said simply, stating the clear-cut goal that both have in mind.

Though he admitted being a bit tired before the night’s run, Sheffield notched a first place and expressed that he has plenty of motivation to take into his preparation for Friday. After all, his goal is to accomplish something that has evaded his fingertips.

“I’m trying to get first both days,” he said. “I haven’t yet. The best I’ve gotten was first one day, and second the next day.”

Photo credit: Chet Peterman – Staff Photographer

Nixon Frye and Joshua Mularchyk added their own runs in anticipation of states, going into the rest of the week with an extra practice under their belts — as did Stephen Bukovi and his 13-year-old daughter, Makenzie, who is 15 points out of first place.

Bukovi might be better known as “Boss Beard,” the owner of Boca Bike Shop.

“I went number one in the ol’ fart group — 51 and over — the last three seasons, and if I could just finish top five, I’ll be happy,” he said with a laugh.

And just like the others, they’re both ready for the stakes to rise and the competition to stiffen. If their practice this season means anything, it shows they’re more than up to the task.

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