By Alex Strickland
MIDWAY, UT – October 22, 2012 – After nearly 23 miles of racing across a wind-whipped course on Saturday at the former Olympic venue of Soldier Hollow, the varsity boys state championship in the first-year Utah High School Cycling League was almost too close to call.
Series points leader Zach Peterson led his chief rival Justin Griffin through a winding set of switchbacks over the course’s last mile and crouched low, pushing the pace, over the last few hundred yards of dirt before the paved finish straight. Griffin hung on, never losing the rear wheel of South Davis Composite’s Peterson and the two made the hard left turn onto the season’s final straightaway and jumped out of the saddle in an all-out sprint.
“I wanted to be able to come out on the road first, but Zach was able to get around me and so it was all I could do to stay on his wheel. I knew my last chance would be the sprint finish so I gave it all I had in the end. It was so close, I had no idea who won.”
Griffin, an independent rider who attends Hunter High School, trailed Peterson for the final hundred yards up a gentle incline before bursting through with a final push that put him ahead by a tire’s width as the two crossed the line.
The pair dueled for the duration of the 22.8-mile race, and after leading a breakaway of five riders within minutes of the start, the pair distanced themselves from the field.
“In any race the most important thing is to be with the leaders from the beginning, so I knew that was the first step in winning the race,” Griffin said.
Peterson said he had a lot of fun with the new league this season and credited consistent racing as the key to his series points title.
“I love how many people came out to watch and my goal was to keep it consistent and go for the leader’s jersey,” Peterson said. “The wind today turned it into a completely different race, but it made it fun because of all the tactics involved.”
Park City High School rider Brenna Egan completed a season sweep in the varsity girls division, winning the state championship race handily and extending her overall points lead to secure the season points title as well.
“I used a different strategy today from past races since this course had so much more climbing than other courses this year,” she said. “I hung back with the other girls until the last lap and then made my move when we hit the singletrack.”
Egan, who also took her age group title in Utah’s summer Intermountain Cup series, said she had high hopes for an expanded varsity field next year in the high school league thanks to racers moving up from the junior varsity ranks.
“I’m really excited for next year,” she said. “There are a lot of girls coming up that are really fast that I’ll be racing with so it should be great.”
In the junior varsity girls division, Ogden’s Kylie Osguthorpe edged Malacie Jorgensen of Mountain View for the state title in a sprint to the line, completing her season sweep. Wasatch High School’s Emmily McIntosh won the sophomore girls race and Park City’s Lindsey Adams won the freshman girls division.
Pleasant Grove’s Adam Lee won the division one junior varsity race on the boys side, securing his season points title in the process and finishing seven seconds ahead of Park City’s Ethan Reynolds. Independent rider Galen Carter held off a hard-charging Anders Johnson of Weber High School to take the division two JV title by one second.
Wasatch High’s Jordan Pope won the division one sophomore race while Timpanogos/Orem rider Brock Jeske took the sophomore division two crown. Alta’s Cameron Dougherty won the freshman division one event and Grand County’s Preston Bagley won freshman division two.
In the season-long team standings, Park City High School maintained its iron grip on the top spot in Division 1, taking the title over Alta High and third place school Wasatch High. In Division 2 – defined as a school with less than 12 riders on the team – Ogden High School bested Lone Peak High for the championship. Morgan High was just 13 points behind in third.
“This season has exceeded all of our expectations,” said league Director Lori Harward. “The best part is seeing coaches and kids who have started this thing on their own and got up to speed on their own, and they show up at race day and see 230 riders and more coaches and more kids, it just feeds the excitement and enthusiasm. I think we’ll add 100 riders next year through expanding teams and adding new ones, we’re at 30 teams this year and I think we’ll hit 40 next year.”
The Utah High School Cycling League will kick off its second season on Sept. 14, 2013 and will add a race to make a five-event season. The league will host a winter training camp next February, as well as a fundraiser in late spring before teams resume practice 12 weeks before the season opens.
Name (Plate Number), Time, School
*denotes series points leaders
1 *Brenna Egan (1) 1:24:26 Park City
2 Tasha Heilweil (3) 1:26:55 Skyline HS
3 Ellie Burton (5) 1:28:19 Park City
1 Justin Griffin (34) 1:34:08 Independent
2 *Zach Peterson (41) 1:34:09 South Davis
3 Matthew Turner (49) 1:36:20 Park City
4 Ethan Fedor (63) 1:37:23 Independent
5 Griffin Park (60) 1:41:03 Independent
1 *Kylie Osguthorpe (100) 1:00:56 Ogden HS
2 Malacie Jorgensen (114) 1:00:58 Mountain View
3 Rachel Wedge (109) 1:04:03 Alta HS
4 Ellen Dahl (102) 1:09:01 Lone Peak
5 Emma Barney (103) 1:12:34 Lone Peak
JV Boys (Division 1)
1 *Adam Lee (205) 1:17:19 Pleasant Grove
2 Ethan Reynolds (214) 1:17:26 Park City
3 Trevor Westrop (220) 1:21:11 Wasatch HS
4 Danny Fendler (232) 1:21:43 Park City
5 Tristen Gunn (233) 1:22:25 Alta
JV Boys (Division 2)
1 Galen Carter (385) 1:16:23 Independent
2 *Anders Johnson (369) 1:16:24 Weber HS
3 Branden Stuart (332) 1:17:01 Jordan HS
4 Demetri Triantafillou (376) 1:20:23 Independent
5 Connor Letendre (313) 1:20:35 St. Joe’s HS
1 Emmily McIntosh (416) 1:05:32 Wasatch HS
2 *Katie Shuman (403) 1:06:16 Alta HS
3 Skye Mcbride (401) 1:08:06 Ogden HS
4 Lindsay Richards (404) 1:12:53 Alta
5 Amber Harvey (415) 1:15:58 Park City
Sophomore Boys (Division 1)
1 *Jordan Pope (512) 0:53:04 Wasatch HS
2 Danny Ellis (509) 0:55:31 Wasatch HS
3 Andrew Ivie (511) 0:57:13 Wasatch HS
4 Jacob Barzeele (500) 1:02:05 Pleasant Grove
5 Jacob Cornell (517) 1:03:57 Wasatch
Sophomore Boys (Division 2)
1 Brock Jeske (601) 0:51:14 Timpanogos/Orem
2 Adam Brown (643) 0:54:52 Timpanogos/Orem
3 *Ian Hansen-Wissbrod (635) 0:56:06 City Academy
4 Brandon Kenison (618) 0:56:33 G3NERATION Composite
5 Chase Vallejo (607) 0:56:46 Lone Peak HS
1 Lindsey Adams (710) 1:03:44 Park City
2 Rachel Anders (709) 1:06:47 Olympus HS
3 *Allison Craig (708) 1:13:28 Salt Lake Center for Science Ed.
4 Megan Mcmillan (705) 1:13:53 Morgan Comp
5 Sierra Pogue (706) 1:18:52 Summit
Freshman Boys (Division 1)
1 *Cameron Dougherty (820) 0:53:04 Alta HS
2 John Andersen (800) 0:53:13 Alta HS
3 Simon Hopkins (803) 0:54:18 Park City
4 Jacob Hunsaker (804) 0:57:15 Park City
5 Anthony Buoscio (802) 0:57:16 Park City
Freshman Boys (Division 2)
1 *Preston Bagley (931) 0:53:58 Grand County
2 Carter Bailey (916) 0:54:05 Morgan Comp
3 Jarren Garvin (927) 0:56:41 North Davis
4 Jeremy Lucas (914) 0:56:45 Morgan Comp
5 Jaden Brown (936) 0:57:14 Ogden HS
Abbreviated Overall Team Standings (After 3 Rounds)
Division 1 Team
1 Park City High School Mountain Bike Club 16,768
2 Alta High School 15,703
3 Wasatch High School 14,462
Division 2 Team
1 Ogden High School Mountain Bike Team 7,862
2 Lone Peak High School 7,799
3 Morgan High School Composite 7,786