Southern Utah riders excel at high school mountain bike season opener

Jacob Haws of Snow Canyon (foreground) and other riders compete in the Utah High School Cycling League's first race of the fall 2019 season, Eagle Mountain, Utah, Aug. 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Snow Canyon High School Mountain Bike Team, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Southern Utah riders made strong showings at the Utah High School Cycling League’s first race of the season last weekend.

Snow Canyon Mountain Bike Team members gather for a group photo after winning Division 2 team trophy, Eagle Mountain, Utah, Aug. 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Snow Canyon High School Mountain Bike Team, St. George News

Competing on a 6-mile loop course at Eagle Mountain on Aug. 24, hundreds of athletes battled 93-degree weather and dry, gusty winds as the league’s South Region kicked off the season.

The defending state champion Snow Canyon High School mountain bike team took first place among Division 2 teams, scoring a total of 1,520 points. Desert Hills High placed second in that same division with 1,380 points, while Dixie was third with 1,370. Crimson Cliffs placed fifth with 1,251 points and Hurricane took sixth with 1,245.

Meanwhile, in the newly created Division 3 category, the Cedar City-based Iron Giants team split its points into two separate groups, since its roster included more than 10 athletes from one school.

The Cedar High School team scored 667 points, coming in second place to Moab, which had a total of 714 points to lead Division 3. The remainder of the Iron Giants, who were scored as Iron County Composite, tallied 471 points to finish sixth in the division. Other Southern Utah teams competing in Division 3 were Pine View, which placed fourth with 480 points, and the new team from Panguitch, which took seventh with 133 points.

Individually, Snow Canyon senior Kyler Gibb placed first in the boys varsity race, completing four laps in 1 hour, 37 minutes and 19 seconds. His teammate, junior Parker Christensen, placed third in the same race with a time of 1:38: 57.

In the girls varsity race, Snow Canyon had two of the top five finishers, with Layla Purdy placing second with a time of 1:31.16 over three laps and Kate Wilson taking fifth with a time of 1:36.56.

Cedar High School sophomore Noah Hunt competes in the boys varsity division, Eagle Mountain, Utah, Aug. 24, 2019 | Photo courtesy of Iron Giants Mountain Bike Team, St. George News / Cedar City News

Noah Hunt of Cedar High also picked up 180 points for finishing 21st place in the boys varsity race. He was the only sophomore out of 29 finishers in that category, finishing with a four-lap time of 1:53.34.

As of this year, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) has adjusted some of the categories, basing them on skill rather than grade level in order to make the races safer. Among the changes, sophomores now compete in either the junior varsity or varsity levels.

Other Snow Canyon athletes posting top-five finishes in their respective categories included Claire Phelps, David Bennett, Jordan Crosby, Chase Cloward, Bryce Cowley and Carter Simmons.

Additionally, several other members of Iron County’s Iron Giants team made it to the medals podiums of their respective races. Including senior Wyatt Poulson, who placed seventh in his D2 JV category, freshmen Jeron Ogusthorpe, Clark Tippets and Carson Taylor, and middle-schoolers Katherine Hall and Austin Lund.

For complete searchable individual and team results, click here

The next race for the South Region will be staged at Richfield Sept. 7. That will be followed by Race 3 at Cedar City’s Three Peaks trails on Sept. 21. The fourth and final race of the regular season will be in Price on Oct. 5. Oct. 12, has been set aside as a make-up date for potential rainouts.

Then, for the first time ever, Cedar City will host the statewide championships for all three regions the weekend of Oct. 18-19. The state championships have traditionally been staged in St. George each year.

The race loop used for the state races at Three Peaks will be different than the one used for the Sept. 21 event, according to organizers. For more information about high school mountain biking competitions in Utah, click here.

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Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.

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