Saturday marked the first day in a new era of Utah mountain
bike racing. When Park City hosted the first race of the Utah High School
Racing League it welcomed a wave of excitement rarely seen in the mountain bike
Under clear blue skies and warm temperatures over 200 boy
and girls from 30 schools in Utah gathered for a day of racing and supporting
their teams. Saturdayís event was the largest first-race ever hosted by the
nine states in the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
Racing started with the varsity girls, which turned out to
be that smallest group in the race. Just three girls took the start with Park
City, Timpanogos, and Skyline high schools represented.
Tasha Heilweil (Skyline) took the early lead charging off
the line with Brenna Egan (Park City) in tow.
The varsity girls were scheduled to complete three, 4-mile
Before the first lap was over, Park Cityís Brenna Egan had
taken control of the race. Once out front she quickly distanced herself from
Heilweil with fierce attacks on the climbs and solid descending.
By the finish, Egan would put just over 3 minutes on the
runner up Tasha Heilweil.
After the race, Egan had this to say, "I had a really great
time. Itís a great course and itís set up so well. I definitely felt like I was
strongest coming back down the hills. I was feeling good after the long
Egan plans to race the next three events on the Utah High
School Mountain Bike schedule including the race in Wellsville in two weeks.
Varsity boys started later in the day and featured a huge
field loaded with talent. The group of 23 riders included some of the most
talented young riders in the state, names like Matt Turner (Park City), Justin
Griffin (Independent), Cameron Hooyer (Brighton/Hillcrest/Juan
Diego Composite), Zach Peterson (South Davis), and McKay Hunt (Weber).
started fast with Matt Turner close behind. These two are known for their fast
starts and quickly powered away from the field. By lap two Peterson held a gap
of over 1 minute on Turner who was still riding strong in second. Behind him
Mckay Hunt had moved into third just in front of Justin Griffin.
increased his lead on lap three and was clearly on his way to a solo victory.
McKay Hunt had
dispatched Griffin and now had his sights set on Turner in second. Doing most of
his damage on the long singletrack climb, Hunt overtook Turner and secured
second place midway through lap three.
The fourth and
final lap saw Zach Peterson consolidate his lead and leave no doubt who the
fastest high school rider of the day would be.
He crossed the line
completing 16 miles in just 1:11:19. Almost 2 minutes ahead of McKay Hunt in
Matthew Turner held
on for third place with Justin Griffin and Cameron Hooyer taking fourth and fifth
After their finish
it was time to calculate which school would take home the crown for fastest
team. Points were calculated using the finishing places of the 6 fastest boys
on each team combined with the 2 fastest girls on each squad.
Home team Park City
Highschool took the title with a total point score of 4080. Alta High took
second with 3790 followed by Summit Academy in third.
The next race on
the Utah High School Mountain Bike schedule will be September 22ndat Sherwood Hills in Wellsville, Utah.
To learn more about
the high school racing series visit www.utahmtb.org