Snow Canyon takes top honors as high school mountain bike season begins in Kamas

Snow Canyon High junior Mason Hansen competes in the Division 2 boys JV race at Kamas, Utah, Aug. 25, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Snow Canyon High Mountain Bike Team, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The high school mountain biking season got underway Saturday, as approximately 1,200 teenage athletes competed in the Utah High School Cycling League South Region’s first race of the season at Kamas.

Staged at the High Star Ranch, the event featured riders in grades 7-12 grouped into various categories based on their age, skill level and experience. The top varsity riders each completed four laps of the 4.6-mile course, with the best finishers crossing the line in under 90 minutes. Riders in other categories had to complete fewer laps, depending on the race.

Snow Canyon High Mountain Bike team members celebrate the team’s first-place finish among South Region Division 2 schools at Kamas, Utah, Aug. 25, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Snow Canyon High Mountain Bike Team, St. George News

Several Southern Utah teams and athletes fared well in the event.

Snow Canyon High School took first place among the 20 teams in Division 2, with Dixie High placing third. Iron Giants, a composite team from Iron County, took ninth place overall in Division 2. Other Southern Utah schools competing in Division 2 were Hurricane, Crimson Cliffs, Pine View and Enterprise. In addition, Desert Hills High competed in Division 1, placing sixth.

This season marks the first time that several of the Southern Utah teams are competing as individual high school squads. After operating for several years as a combined team known as the Southern Utah Flying Monkeys, the group split up into six high school teams earlier this spring.

Read more: Flying Monkeys bike race team disperses; members to ride for high school teams

Snow Canyon head coach Nate Hansen said his team had several athletes place highly in their respective categories. Parker Christensen, a sophomore, placed first overall out of 80 racers in the Division 2 JV boys category. He completed three laps in 1:12:53. Christensen’s teammate, fellow sophomore Laken Ence, took third in the same category with a time of 1:15:44.

Snow Canyon High Mountain Bike team head coach Nate Hansen and senior Nick Gough pose with trophy after the team’s first-place finish among South Region Division 2 schools at Kamas, Utah, Aug. 25, 2018 | Photo courtesy of Snow Canyon High Mountain Bike Team, St. George News

Also for Snow Canyon, Layla Purdy and Sophie Hafen finished second and fourth, respectively, in the Division 2 sophomore girls race. Fellow SCHS sophomore Kate Wilson placed third in the girls JV race.

Kyler Gibb, a junior at Snow Canyon, was the top varsity finisher from a Division 2 Southern Utah school; he placed fourth out of 29 riders in that race with a four-lap time of 1:30.01.

Other top finishers from Southern Utah teams included the following:

Dixie High senior Ember Shockley placed ninth among Division 2 varsity girls. Her teammate, sophomore Sophia Phelps, placed second overall in the JV race. Dixie ninth-grader Andrew Tritle placed second out of 100 racers in the Division 2 freshman race.

In the D2 girls freshman race, Hannah Edwards and Zoe Knudsen of Iron County’s team placed fourth and fifth, respectively.

Bryant Lisonbee of Hurricane placed ninth in the D2 boys sophomore race.

In addition, Hurricane’s Seth Christensen placed first in the beginning boys seventh-grade race, while Desert Hills’ Taylor Anderson won the beginning boys eighth-grade race. Taylor Boren, a seventh-grader from Dixie, placed second in the advanced girls middle school race.

Also in the junior development class, Monet Wall of Crimson Cliffs took first among eighth-grade beginner girls, while teammate Gwen Tuttle placed fourth among advanced girls. TJ Mortensen, also of Crimson Cliffs, placed 10th out of 121 riders in the eighth-grade intermediate boys race.

For complete results, click here.

Saturday’s event in Kamas was the first of four scheduled South Region fall season races. The other three are Sept. 8 in Richfield, Sept. 22 in Moab and Oct. 6 in Cedar City. An Oct. 13 date in Eagle Mountain has been set aside as a make-up race day, in case of a rainout.

Schools in the North and Central regions will also hold four regular-season races. Click here for schedule. All three regions will then meet in St. George Oct. 19-20 to vie for the state championships.

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

Email: [email protected]

Twitter: @STGnews

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


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  • mjvande August 30, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Introducing children to mountain biking is CRIMINAL. Mountain biking, besides being expensive and very environmentally destructive, is extremely dangerous. Recently a 12-year-old girl DIED during her very first mountain biking lesson! Another became quadriplegic at 13! Serious accidents and even deaths are commonplace. Truth be told, mountain bikers want to introduce kids to mountain biking because (1) they want more people to help them lobby to open our precious natural areas to mountain biking and (2) children are too naive to understand and object to this activity. For 600+ examples of serious accidents and deaths caused by mountain biking, see

    Bicycles should not be allowed in any natural area. They are inanimate objects and have no rights. There is also no right to mountain bike. That was settled in federal court in 1996: . It’s dishonest of mountain bikers to say that they don’t have access to trails closed to bikes. They have EXACTLY the same access as everyone else — ON FOOT! Why isn’t that good enough for mountain bikers? They are all capable of walking….

    A favorite myth of mountain bikers is that mountain biking is no more harmful to wildlife, people, and the environment than hiking, and that science supports that view. Of course, it’s not true. To settle the matter once and for all, I read all of the research they cited, and wrote a review of the research on mountain biking impacts (see ). I found that of the seven studies they cited, (1) all were written by mountain bikers, and (2) in every case, the authors misinterpreted their own data, in order to come to the conclusion that they favored. They also studiously avoided mentioning another scientific study (Wisdom et al) which did not favor mountain biking, and came to the opposite conclusions.

    Mountain bikers also love to build new trails – legally or illegally. Of course, trail-building destroys wildlife habitat – not just in the trail bed, but in a wide swath to both sides of the trail! E.g. grizzlies can hear a human from one mile away, and smell us from 5 miles away. Thus, a 10-mile trail represents 100 square miles of destroyed or degraded habitat, that animals are inhibited from using. Mountain biking, trail building, and trail maintenance all increase the number of people in the park, thereby preventing the animals’ full use of their habitat.

    Mountain biking accelerates erosion, creates V-shaped ruts, kills small animals and plants on and next to the trail, drives wildlife and other trail users out of the area, and, worst of all, teaches kids that the rough treatment of nature is okay (it’s NOT!). What’s good about THAT?

    For more information: .

    • Scorch September 1, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      You are one uptight and angry guy. About half your facts are completely delusional, which is normal with most crackpots. They take some truth and then twist it into the narrative and agenda they are currently ranting about.
      Here’s a couple of tips that might help you engage better with the human race; it’s ok if your views don’t coincide with everyone else. But that doesn’t make them wrong or evil.
      Secondly, of you really want to put your energy towards helping people, try something that is important, like suicide prevention, drug addiction or safe driving. All of those things hurt and kill more people every single hour than MTB does in a decade.
      After reading your post again, I realize that your probably just sad, lonely and attention seeking. So it worked! I have you some attention. Now go do something nice for someone instead of maligning a very positive pastime like high school mountain biking.

  • Doug September 2, 2018 at 11:25 am

    All you have to know about the first poster, Mike Vandeman, is that he is clinically (and criminally) disturbed. He was arrested years ago for assaulting two mountain bikers: Ride on!

  • yijin September 4, 2018 at 4:21 am

    All you have to know about the first poster, Mike Vandeman, is that he is clinically (and criminally) disturbed. He was arrested years ago for assaulting two mountain bikers:

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