The Grand County Red Devils mountain bike team returned to Moab after a full day of racing at Powder Mountain Ski Resort on Saturday, Sept 16.
The race course took place at the ski area, at an elevation of more than 9,000 feet. Three days prior to the race, conditions were expected to be freezing rain with snow showers, but the storm blew through and race day was dry yet very cold, with morning temperatures in the 30s, then mid-40s by the afternoon races.
Sixteen athletes were registered and the team finished in eighth place out of 24 Division 2 South Region teams that competed. The top six Red Devils who contributed to the team score were Wyatt Gholson, Elijah Topper, Kenobi Clapper, Griffin Shannon, Tyler Moreau and Annie Kopell.
The team’s three top finishers raced on the 15-mile JV course. Gholson edged out Topper by just two seconds in a finish-line sprint. Gholson took 14th place in a time of 1:15:45, while Topper took 15th at 1:15:47. Shannon was less than a minute behind with a time of 1:16:22 to take 17th among the 60 JV boys. Rounding out the Red Devils in JV were Ridge Murdock, 30th, and Derek Hansen – in his first competitive mountain bike race – in 41st place.
Clapper was the highest finishing racer of the day, taking 10th in the 11.6-mile sophomore race. Clapper was on track to finish on the podium but an unfortunate crash and mechanical problems caused him to miss out on a medal. Simon Rutherford, in his first mountain bike race, was holding in sixth after the first lap, but a mechanical problem forced him to abandon the race.
Senior Tyler Moreau finished his 18-mile course in a time of 1:28:51 to finish 35th among 44 Division 1 and 2 Varsity boys. Kopell, racing on the 11.6-mile course, finished 27th out of 66 Division 1 and 2 JV girls, in a time of 1:10:44. The Varsity boys and all-girls races combine large and small schools, so there is no split in scoring between D1 and D2.
Seven of the Red Devil freshmen had their first taste of competitive, cross-country mountain biking. The top three finishers in this race were: Aidan Baird, 22nd; Eli Taylor, 41st; and Jack Charlton, 46th. A total of 70 D2 Freshman boys raced on the 11.6-mile course. Other Red Devil freshmen finishers were Kyler Helquist, 47th; Jackson Sorensen, 51st; Jayden Stocks, 55th; and Gail Leavitt, 57th. Leavitt stopped his race as a courtesy to a fallen racer who needed assistance from course officials before going on to the finish.
Next up, the mountain bike team will travel north again for a race on Saturday, Sept. 30, at Snowbasin Ski Resort.