The Grand County High School Red Devils mountain bike team capped off its season on Saturday, Nov. 5, in St. George, at the Utah High School Mountain Bike League State Championship race, where 1,146 high school athletes competed. This was the largest ever high school, single-day mountain bike race in the country.
The team finished in 13th place among 47 Division 2 teams competing that day, compiling 2,399 points. First-place Brighton High School amassed 2,841 points for the day.
The top finisher for the Red Devils was senior Bjorn Nicolaisen, who took eighth among 62 varsity boys. He completed the 17.4-mile course in 1.12:13 and once again was the highest finishing Division 2 racer. Nicolaisen capped off a very successful career as a Red Devil mountain biker, competing in every possible race over his four years and getting on the podium many times. Also racing in varsity was Tyler Moreau, finishing in 54th with a time of 1.27:23.
All other racers competed on an 8.7-mile course.
Senior Heather Sweeney took home 19th (fifth among all Division 2 girls) among the JV girls with a time of 51:46 on the 8.7-mile course. The JV girls race was the largest girls race of the day, with 85 competitors. Annie Kopell raced among 62 sophomore girls in 23rd with a time of 56:37.
Starting at sunrise, the freshman boys raced hard and finished within one minute of each other. Elijah Topper was the fastest Red Devil, with a time of 42:12 in 18th place. Griffin Shannon took 19th, at 42:51. Wyatt Gholson finished in 23rd with a time of 42:59, or only eight seconds later. Kenobi Clapper took 24th, at 43:10. A total of 123 freshman boys raced in the Division 2 race.
Both sophomore boys experienced mechanical failures during their race. Ridge Murdock got a flat tire on his second lap and ran in the final 1.5 miles with his bike to take 89th out of 109 racers. Caden Kirks was not as fortunate – he flatted and bent his rear wheel on the first lap. At that point, his wheel was not able to turn and he was unable to finish his race.
The end-of-the-season banquet was held that evening in the Dixie Convention Center in St. George. Five of the 10 members of the Moab team were honored with South Region Overall Series awards, in addition to the team’s second-place honors. Nicolaisen took fifth in varsity boys, while Sweeney took seventh in JV girls. For freshman boys, it was Shannon in fifth, Topper in sixth and Gholson in ninth.
Full results are posted at http://my3.raceresult.com/63740/results?lang=en#.