Southern Utah high school mountain biking teams compete among 1,100 racers at Richfield

Four of the top five finishers in the sophomore girls race were from Southern Utah. L-R: Mia Johnson of Desert Hills (5th), Sophie Hafen of Snow Canyon (3rd), Layla Purdy of Snow Canyon (1st), Ella Thomas of Timpanogos (2nd), and Claire Phelps of Snow Canyon (4th). Richfield, Utah, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Kim Christensen, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The second mountain bike race of the season for the Utah High School Cycling League’s South Region took place Saturday near Richfield, and once again, Snow Canyon High took first place in its division.

Layla Purdy of Snow Canyon competes at Richfield, Utah, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Nate Hansen, St. George News

The event marked the first high school races to be staged at the new venue, which includes parts of a motocross track in the Glenwood Hills Recreation Area a few miles east of Richfield. More than 1,100 high school and middle school racers competed.

Just as it had done in the season opener two weeks earlier, Snow Canyon High took first place among the 20 teams in Division 2, with Dixie High again placing third.

Also among Division 2 schools, Hurricane placed ninth, Iron County’s composite team Iron Giants took 11th, Crimson Cliffs was 12th, Pine View 13th and Enterprise 19th.

Desert Hills High, competing among the larger schools of Division 1, took sixth for the second straight race.

Desert Hills head coach Kim Christensen, who also helps coach Pine View’s team, said the Desert Hills team had 43 students in grades 7-12 competing, while Pine View had another 10 athletes at the event.

Christensen said approximately 78 percent of the racers on the two teams improved in their placements from the first race, which had been held in Kamas two weeks earlier.

“Josh Williams (PVHS) was our student with the most gain, going from 43rd place at Kamas to 17th at Richfield,” Christensen said.

Christensen said several athletes achieved personal best times, including two who finished their first-ever race.

Dixie’s Sophia Phelps, who took third place in the sophomore girls division, competes at Richfield, Utah, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Hillary Boren, St. George News

Undaunted by a broken chain halfway into his second lap, Desert Hills’ Jacob Davenport walked and ran his bike to the finish line.

In addition, Christensen noted that DHHS racers Jacob Callahan and Connor Mayberry both chose camaraderie over competition.

“Jacob stopped during his race to give a fellow teammate his pump to fix a flat tire,” his coach said. “Connor saw another student from another team struggling and made sure to seek help for him, and that student ended up leaving in an ambulance.”

“We as a team try to instill that while it is exciting to finish and even podium, there is a lot more pride when you can put someone else before yourself, especially in a competitive situation,” she said.

Christensen also said she appreciates her team captains, who she says go the extra mile to support their teammates.

“They stay at the finish line all day after they have all raced and cheer for everyone finishing, offering cold water, chocolate milk or Sunny D, and lots of hugs and love to everyone. They are inspiring and bring so much good energy and vibes.”

Team captains for Desert Hills are Adam Seegmiller, Camryn Christensen and McKay Bartholomew, while the team captains for Pine View are Sage Wells and Annalise Schmitt.

Racers from Desert Hills and Pine View pose with race official (center with hat), Richfield, Utah, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Kim Christensen, St. George News

In Saturday’s competition, Snow Canyon sophomore Parker Christensen once again placed first overall out of 80 racers in the Division 2 JV boys category. He completed three laps of the 5.7-mile course in 1:11:54. Fellow Snow Canyon sophomore Laken Ence took third in the same category with a time of 1:15:27.

Snow Canyon’s Kyler Gibb placed third in the boys varsity race, posting a four-lap time of 1:33:18. Desert Hills’ Adam Seegmiller placed sixth in that same category with a time of 1:35:21

Also for Snow Canyon, Layla Purdy won the girls sophomore race in a time of 57:15. Her teammates Sophie Hafen and Claire Phelps finished third and fourth, respectively, in that same race. Placing fifth was Mia Johnson of Desert Hills.

Dixie High also saw several athletes place highly in their respective categories.

In the Division 2 boys freshmen race, Dixie’s Andrew Tritle placed second out of 100 riders in that category with a two-lap time of 51:18. His teammate Aaron Carey placed third in that same race, while Noah Hunt of Iron Giants and Peter Butterfield of Crimson Cliffs finished fourth and fifth, respectively.

For Dixie’s girls, Ember Shockley placed seventh overall in the varsity race with a time of 1:29.47, and Sophia Phelps placed third in the junior varsity race with a time of 58:15.

Chloe Poulton of the Dixie junior development team crosses the finish line (at right), Richfield, Utah, Sept. 8, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Hillary Boren, St. George News

In the Division 2 boys sophomore race, Bryant Lisonbee of Hurricane placed third and Evan Simmons of Snow Canyon took fourth. Dominic Stanworth and Logan Clymore of Desert Hills took sixth and eighth, respectively, in the Division 1 boys JV race.

In the Division 2 girls freshman race, Breanne Stewart of Desert Hills placed second with a time of 1:02.45, while Kaylee Syphus of Dixie took fifth in the same race.

Several Southern Utah seventh and eighth graders also placed highly in the junior development races.

Monet Wall of Crimson Cliffs took first among eighth-grade beginner girls, while Bristol Noorda of Desert Hills placed second. Among advanced middle school girls, Cassandra Evans placed third overall with a time of 30 minutes flat. Coming right behind her in fourth place was Katherine Hall of Iron Giants, who finished in 30:12.

In the beginning boys seventh-grade race, Dallin Holt and Caleb Gunnerson, both of Desert Hills, placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Jordan Porter, also of Desert Hills, won the intermediate seventh-grade boys race. Chase Cloward of Snow Canyon was third among eighth grade intermediate boys,

Also for Desert Hills, Taylor Anderson won the beginning boys eighth-grade race, while teammate Andrew Burton placed fourth

For complete results of the Richfield event, click here.

The next scheduled South Region race is Sept. 22 in Moab.

For more information about the Utah High School Cycling League, visit its website.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery.

Email: jrichards@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2018, all rights reserved.

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