Grand County High School junior Annie Kopell had her best finish of the mountain bike racing season on Saturday, Oct. 28, at Eagle Mountain. [Photo courtesy of Melissa Nerone]

The Grand County Red Devil Mountain Bike Team finished up its South Region racing schedule on Saturday, Oct. 28, on the trails at Eagle Mountain, west of Lehi. This race was rescheduled from Oct. 14, when the team was snowed out at High Star Ranch in Kamas.

Eleven Red Devils competed that day – the Varsity course consisted of three laps, while all other racers completed two laps of a 6-mile circuit with 548 feet of elevation gain per lap.

In the team scoring, the Red Devils were consistent enough to take fifth place again among the 22 D2 teams that competed that day. The top six scorers who contributed to the team total were sophomores Kenobi Clapper, Griffin Shannon, Elijah Topper and Wyatt Gholson; junior Annie Kopell; and senior Tyler Moreau.

“I was very proud of everyone who gave their best efforts to make this happen for the team,” coach Melissa Nerone said. “The team outdistanced 6th place by 49 points this time, as opposed to just one point at the Moab race.”

The team’s highest finishing racer of the day was once again Clapper. In another gutsy sprint finish, Clapper pulled off third place by less than two-tenths of a second with a time of 50:58. This finish secured second place for him in the South Region Overall Series by just one point. Clapper will receive his award on Saturday, Nov. 4, at the State Awards ceremony at Southern Utah University’s Centrum Arena in Cedar City, after the State Championship race that day.

“It was great to see Kenobi give it his all and not give up,” Nerone said. “If it weren’t for that effort, he would have missed out on his second place overall finish for the season.”

In JV Boys racing action, Shannon had his best performance of the season. His previous finishes had been in the top 20, but his sprint at the start of the race put him ahead of quite a few racers as he went into the first singletrack portion of the course. Shannon was able to maintain his position and take eighth place. He had a time of 52:30 for the 12-mile race.

Topper also had a solid race, finishing in 53:17 to take 12th. Rounding out the group was Gholson, who took 17th in 54:15.

Kopell sneaked into the top 20 for JV Girls, finishing in 20th place for the day. Like Shannon’s, this was her best finish of the season. Among D2 girls, Kopell would have been the seventh-fastest JV girl. Her time that day was 1:04:39.

The Boys Varsity race took place during the warmest part of the day. Senior Tyler Moreau had one of his better finishes of the season completing his 18-mile course in 1:25:26 to take 32nd place.

Among the five freshman boys racing, Aidan Baird finished strongly, taking 18th in a time of 59:01 and nosing out the next nearest competitor by half a second. Next up for the Red Devils were Eli Taylor, who took 23rd, and River Martucci, who took 39th. Jack Charlton (43rd) and Jayden Stocks (46th) also competed in the freshman race.

Besides Clapper’s second place for the Division 2 South Region Series, JV boys rankings included Topper in 13th, Shannon in 15th, and Gholson in 18th. Baird got the only other top 20 ranking for the Red Devils, completing his season in 19th position.

As a team, Moab ended in fifth overall for the season.

Next up is the State Championship race, where all competitors from the North and South Regions will come together in Cedar City at the Three Peaks Trails. Freshman boys will race on Friday, Nov. 3, while the rest of the team will race on Saturday, Nov. 4.