Saturday, Nov. 9, the Morgan MTB Race Team traveled to the revered mountain bike destination of Moab to compete in this year’s Utah High School Cycling League State Championships. The Morgan team fielded 21 racers to compete in what turned out to be an incredible finish to an already fantastic season.
In the first race of the day, Morgan’s female racers once again showed how tough they are. Spending extra time on their own training and preparing for the race proved rewarding this week as sisters Hannah and Ellissa Clark took top team finishes in each of their categories. Hannah finished second in the sophomore division while Ellissa finished fourth in the junior varsity division. This was Ellissa’s final race in the High School Cycling League.
Sophomore racer Leif Lofgren can attest to the more difficult terrain this course dished out to the competitors. Within the first half mile of the race, Lofgren experienced a flat tire that literally dropped him to the back of the pack. After a quick tire change he was back on course, fighting his way through numerous slower racers. Although frustrating, Lofgren maintained his outstanding sportsmanship throughout the race and even managed to help other racers in the process.
Parker Lyman produced what was easily the most exciting race finish of the day.
With approximately a mile to the finish line, Parker experienced a mechanical problem with his bike that would have taken him considerable time to fix. While dealing with the issue, he glanced up the trail to see a group of racers approaching, so Parker decided to run his bike. With the race announcers and spectators yelling and cheering, Parker crossed the finish milliseconds ahead of the group of riders chasing him down. Had the finish line been 10 feet further, Parker would have lost several positions.
In the final race of the day, varsity racers competed on a slightly different, more technical course than the rest of the racers. In what was his best varsity finish of the year, Brayden Nielsen finished the 26-mile race against the strongest high school racers in the state in eighth place – all while still recovering from an illness and completing a 130-mile endurance race the weekend before.
As the dust from the course settled and the sun disappeared behind the red rock mesa overlooking the race course, Morgan again proved their team success was no lucky streak. With incredible determination, outstanding sportsmanship and fantastic finishes from all team members, they once again took home the third place team trophy.
Later that evening at an awards assembly in the auditorium of Moab High School, overall awards were given out to complete the 2013 race season. The Morgan MTB team had six team members take overall season awards.
Sophmore division: Hannah Clark - 2nd Place, Kate Madorin - 3rd Place, Megan McMillan - 4th Place.
Junior Varsity division: Amber Harvey - 5th Place, Carter Bailey - 3rd Place, Jeremy Lucas - 10th Place.
To top things off for the evening, overall team awards were given to the top three teams in the state. It was no surprise to any of the team members when Morgan was awarded the overall third place trophy. It was a well deserved award for an outstanding group of Morgan teenagers who worked hard, played hard, had a lot of fun and succeeded!
With the conclusion of the season, the Morgan MTB team would like to thank their families, friends, supporters and sponsors. Without them, our season would not have been nearly as fun, successful and exciting has it has been. Thank you!