By Chip Smith
Consistent effort during the season proved to be the winning strategy for overall points champions
ST. GEORGE, Utah – Oct. 30, 2014 – The Utah High School Cycling League finished out its third season with the State Championships held in St. George, UT last Saturday, Oct. 25. Consistent effort during this year's five-race season proved to be the right strategy for the overall points champions of the league's 11 divisions.
Held in the Green Valley area of St. George, the 4.36-mile course was a mixture of wide dirt roads, narrow jeep trails and technical single-track with lots of climbing, a fast downhill, and a relatively flat sprint to the finish line. With temperatures close to 90 degrees, it was the hottest race of the season.
The girls varsity race saw a close battle for first with only 48 points separating series leader Sienna Leger Redel of Park City High School (PCHS) and teammate Brenna Egan. Redel started out hard from the beginning with Egan following 20 to 30 seconds behind her during the three-lap race. In the end, Redel held onto her lead finishing first, with Egan crossing the finish line 28 seconds later. Leger and Egan's teammate, Quinn Graves finished third a little more that four minutes later, giving PCHS' “Three Amigettes” first, second and third for the race and for the overall points leaders' State Championships results as well.
Series points leaders won nine of the 11 divisional races at St. George, except for in the boys varsity and boys D1 JV races.
In the varsity boys race, Weber High's Anders Johnson fought hard in the last two races and was hoping to maintain his series points lead going into St. George, but Ogden's Jacob Mathewson, fourth place in the race series, had other plans.
Mathewson, after finishing 39th at the previous race due to a broken frame, had something to prove and led from the very start of the 4-lap race. Feeling strong on the second lap, Mathewson “punched it” and opened a wide gap on his competitors in each subsequent lap and crossed the finish line 3:49 seconds ahead of second place finisher Connor Patten of PCHS. Johnson, who hung in there with Mathewson on the first and second laps, slowed down by as much as two minutes on his third lap, and was passed by Patten. After being passed, Johnson dug deep and finished 30 seconds behind Patten to take third place.
In the State Championship points race, Mathewson was fourth going into St. George, but his first place effort earned him the Championship title. Johnson's third place finish knocked him out of the points leader position putting him in second place overall. Patten, who missed race 3 due to a training injury, was 23rd going into St. George, but with a fifth place finish at race 4 in Snowbasin and taking second at St. George, Patten earned the third place position for the varsity boys State Championships.
In the boys D1 JV race, Corner Canyon's Dallin Williams, who was fourth going into St. George, rode hard and led from the very first lap and finished 33 seconds ahead of PCHS' Grant Simmons, and Simmons was followed 24 seconds later by Lone Peak's Chase Vallejo who took third. Series points leader Collin Richards of Lone Peak had mechanical problems on the first lap and finished 91st.
The other category winners for the day at St. George are as follows*:
Girls D1/D2 freshmen – Heather Horton, Alta
Girls D1/D2 sophomore – Allison Teemant, Lone Peak
Girls D1/D2 JV – Lia Westermann, Salt Lake City
Boys D1 freshmen – Jon Jon Drain, Park City
Boys D2 freshmen – Josh Peterson, Bountiful
Boys D1 sophomore – Estin Hicke, Park City
Boys D2 sophomore – Blair Perkes, Bountiful
Boys D2 JV – Brad Huber, Sky View
More than 830 student-athletes from fifty-four teams representing 89 different high schools competed during the 5-race season. Based on the points earned at each of those races, the following is a summary of the State Champions in each of the 11 divisions*:
Girls D1/D2 freshmen – Heather Horton, Alta (1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st)
Girls D1/D2 sophomore – Allison Teemant, Lone Peak (1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st)
Girls D1/D2 JV – Lia Westermann, Salt Lake City (1st, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st)
Girls D1/D2 varsity – Sienna Leger Redel, PCHS (1st, 1st, 2nd, 1st, 1st)
Boys D1 freshmen – Jon Jon Drain, Park City (2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st)
Boys D2 freshmen – Josh Peterson, Bountiful (1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st)
Boys D1 sophomore – Estin Hicke, Park City (2nd, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st)
Boys D2 sophomore – Blair Perkes, Bountiful (1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st)
Boys D1 JV – Collin Richards, Lone Peak (2nd, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 91st)
Boys D2 JV – Brad Huber, Sky View (2nd, 3rd, 1st, 1st, 1st)
Boys D1/D2 varsity – Jacob Mathewson, Ogden (3rd, 3rd, 2nd, 39th, 1st)
The top 5 teams in the State Championship series in each division are as follows*:
1. Park City (22701points. 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st)
2. Corner Canyon (21041 points. 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd)
3. Alta (19,545 points. 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd)
4. Morgan (19,516 points. 3rd, 4th, 4th, 4th, 4th)
5. Skyline (19,056 points. 5th, 4th, 5th, 5th, 5th)
1. Ogden High School (10,850 points. 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st, 1st)
2. Salt Lake Composite (10,480 points. 2nd, 3rd, 2nd, 2nd, 2nd)
3. Riverton High School (10,122 points. 3rd, 2nd, 3rd, 3rd, 3rd)
4. Moab Red Devil (9,793 points. 5th, 4th, 4th, 4th, 4th)
5. Timpanogos (9,456 points. 7th, 7th, 7th, 6th, 3rd)
* Info in parenthesis indicates placing at Soldier Hollow, Nordic Valley, Round Valley and Snowbasin, and St. George respectively.
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) was formed in 2009 with the goal of developing the core principles of “strong body, strong mind and strong character” in high school aged students through mountain biking. The Utah High School cycling League was founded and joined NICA in 2011, and each year has given “Spirit Awards” to student-athletes who exemplify those core principles.
“One of the great things I love about my role in the Utah league is I get to read all of the Spirit Award submissions for the season,” said Lori Harward, Utah High School Cycling League's executive director. “I'm always amazed at how much participating in the league changes these athletes lives. It doesn't matter if they came in first place, last place or somewhere in the middle, mountain biking is changing their lives. Not just as competitors, but also in school with grades, and with the relationships they are developing with friends, their parents and siblings. We want to see these kids 20 years from now still riding their bikes, and hopefully with some of the friends they are making now, and with new friends too.”
Recipients of this year's Spirit Awards were handed out at a banquet following the race. The list of this year's winners is as follows:
Backcountry Goatworthy Award – Sidney Tupai, Brigham
Scott Sports Camaraderie Award – Kyle Leiendecker, Lehi
Bikes for Kids Crusher Award – Abigail Harris, West Granite Composite
Jerry Seiner Leadership Award – James Marshall, Moab Red Devils
Arches Health Plan Determination Award – Tyler Brooks, Lone Peak
Utah Life Elevated Coach of the Year Award – Drew and Lucy Jordan, Salt Lake City Composite
For more information about the league and detailed race results, go to www.utahmtb.org.