After five races and months of practice, the high school mountain biking season has finally come to an end. The final race of the season was the state championships in Cedar City on Nov. 3-4. As usual, the Morgan Mountain Biking Club had a very good showing and a couple of athletes even walked away with scholarship money for college.
In the varsity boys’ race, Morgan’s Davis Lance finished in 40th place overall (out of 89 riders), which is remarkable considering that he rode most of the final lap with only a post to sit on.
“Davis’ seat fell off at the beginning of the third lap,” Morgan coach Cade Erickson said. “He couldn’t sit down, so he rode six miles standing up on a very technical course, which is pretty impressive. For him to even finish was a huge accomplishment for sure.”
In the varsity girls’ race, MHS senior Hailey Clark finished 21st overall, which was very impressive seeing as it was Clark’s first race of the season. She had been out most of the year after suffering a broken collarbone earlier in the summer. So to finish 21st in the state championships was a significant achievement.
“She did a great job,” Erickson said. “That was definitely a feat for her.”
Both Clark and Lance also walked away with a $2,000 scholarship provided by the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. Each wrote an essay addressing the five core principles of NICA – strong body, strong mind, strong character, inclusivity, and equality – and how those principles have affected them personally. Clark and Lance received two of the 10 scholarships that were given out.
“That was huge,” Erickson said. “NICA does a really good job of supporting these kids.”
Morgan’s top finisher on the boys’ side was sophomore Porter Hawkes, who finished fourth in the Division 1 junior varsity race. His time of 51:18 on the 11.6-mile course was the 11th fastest JV ride of the day out of 379 racers. Tyce Erickson was not far behind, coming in with a time of 53:34, good enough for 22nd in the Division 1 category.
Jackson Telford, riding in the Division 1 sophomore race, finished in 20th place with a time of 53:51. Eli Ferrell came in 25th at 54:39. Sage Venz finished ninth in the freshman race, completing the course in 53 minutes, 50.88 seconds. Dylan Mansfield was 16th, with a time of 55:30.
On the girls’ side, Kiley Buss and Morgan Lyman – both juniors – took 33rd and 34th place, respectively, in the JV race. Buss finished the course in 1:09:08, and Lyman was just 19 seconds behind at 1:09:27.
Avery Wallin was Morgan’s top freshman finisher, coming in at 1:08:14, good enough for 15th place.
Overall, Morgan’s biking club finished 10th among the 21 Division 1 teams. Considering how young this year’s team was, Coach Erickson was very pleased with the results.
“Since I’ve been with the team, this is the strongest we’ve ever been as a school,” he said. “If we had more kids, we could have placed even higher on the rankings. This has probably been more of a building year for us. We should be even better next year because a lot of our talent is in the freshman and sophomore and (junior development) teams.
“What we take from this year is just working hard and playing hard,” Erickson added. “We want to have an environment that’s cohesive to people who want to compete and people who just want to be part of something. As a coach, our reward is having kids stay positive and seeing kids grow. That’s the true reward. Not winning, but seeing kids excel and fitting in. I feel like we accomplished that pretty well.”