The Red Devils mountain bike team capped off their season with a strong finish during the two-day state championship at Three Peaks Trails in Cedar City this past weekend, finishing 11th out of a total of 47 Division II teams.
The event took place Nov. 3 and 4, with nearly 1,400 riders from all over the state of Utah. The Red Devils had 14 riders representing Grand County at the event. The squad managed to snag 11th place by a mere 3-point margin overall, with riders Kenobi Clapper, Elijah Topper, Griffin Shannon, Wyatt Gholson, Annie Kopell and Ridge Murdock contributing to the overall team score.
The Three Peaks event was a grueling test, with each lap consisting of approximately 6 miles of looping rugged terrain, with around 400 feet of steep incline in each circuit. Riders had to traverse all forms of terrain, from natural to man-made thudding over wooden bridges and dirt roads.
Wind was also a strong factor in the race, with strong gusts pushing against the riders — making each hill more difficult than the last.
“There was pretty much a constant 10-15 mph wind coming from the south, with gusts ranging from 25-40 mph” said head coach Melissa Nerone. “The final mile was into a headwind.”
Clapper once again led the pack for the varsity team, taking 4th place in his 12-mile race. He was able to finish in 53:10, only 2 minutes behind the 1st place finisher. Tyler Moreau ended his time as a Red Devil with a 78th place finish. On the JV squad, Topper was able to secure 21st out of 121 racers with a time of 53:10, just barely a bike length ahead of Shannon. Gholson wasn’t too far behind, taking 32nd place. Murdock finished at 58:54 for 41st place. Nerone noted that the finish was one of Murdock’s strongest of the year.
Kopell was able to snag 40th place out of the 109 JV girls competing, finishing at 1:10:51.
“Everyone should be proud,” Nerone said of her team’s performance. “They battled grueling, windy conditions and lots of competitors. It was definitely a test of perseverance for many of the racers.”