Red Devil mountain bikers ‘brand’ their turf at home

By Greg Child • Special to The Times-Independent

Moab’s Red Devils Mountain Bike Team raced on home turf on Saturday, Sept. 22, in the third event of the Utah High School Cycling League race season. Held at the popular Moab Brands Trail System north of town, the course comprised a fast, flowing single-track loop six miles long with 300 feet of elevation gain. Younger riders had to complete one lap, and older riders, two. Present were 1,121 contenders, and a huge backup of staff, coaches and parents in the pit zone. The Bureau of Land Management permitted the event, and by restricting spectators to key locations already on roadsides, delicate plants and soils were preserved.

Team Moab fronted 24 riders. They all raced with heart, pushing Moab to sixth place among the 20 Division 2 teams.

Topping local finishes was Elijah Topper, placing second in Boys Junior Varsity Division 2. Coming in 27 seconds behind his regular nemesis from Snow Canyon High School, Parker Christensen, Topper suffered from having to replace a flipped chain on the final lap.

Ariann Child came in fifth in the girls freshmen category, stepping up from her 12th-place placings in two previous races. In the boys sophomore Division 2, Eli Taylor came in 9th, River Martucci 11th and Jackson Sorensen 13th. In boys Division 2 freshmen, Isaac O’Harra came in 15th, Brendan Moore placed 21st, Matthew Andrew, 36th; Conor Duniway, 48th; Theo Lawson, 60th; Bryson Jones, 69th; Stryder Young, 72nd; and Jacob Knight, 73rd. In the boys Division 2 sophomore category, Gail Leavitt placed 28th, and Kyler Helquist placed 44th. In boys junior varsity Division 2, Wyatt Gholson placed 26th, Ridge Murdock, 35th; Griffin Shannon, 44th and Mike Tkacz, 54th.

Of the younger middle school riders, Oran Moore placed 37th among intermediate 7th grade boys, and Kip Sevenoff placed 37th in intermediate 8th grade boys. Miles Moloney placed 16th in advanced boys; London Niesen, 13th; and Claret Sutteer, 16th in advanced girls. Utah’s program for middle school riders is dubbed the Junior Devo Program, and it is one of the first middle school mountain bike programs in the nation.

The Moab race marks the last one for the middle schoolers. Next up is Cedar City on Oct. 6, for high school competitors only.