PARK CITY — A new chapter in high school sports began on Saturday, as the Utah High School Cycling league staged its first mountain bike race at Round Valley east of Park City.
With more than 280 riders making the starting line, the UHSCL — a chapter of the nationwide National Interscholastic Cycling Association — is already among the largest in the country.
“For the first event you’re always a little nervous, but today has absolutely exceeded our expectations,” said Utah High School Cycling League director Lori Harward. “There was a great turnout of riders, fans and volunteers, and it’s a perfect start to this amazing opportunity for students across the state.”
Top honors in the varsity division went to Park City High’s Brenna Egan and South Davis Composite’s Zach Peterson, who raced three and four laps, respectively on the 4.5-mile loop.
“This is the very first race for every one of my riders; yesterday we handed out jerseys and their eyes were as big as saucers,” said East High School Coach Drew Jordan. “We have students who are refugees from Malaysia, India, and Africa who’ve never been on a team before. It’s an incredible feeling to watch them.”
The Utah High School Cycling League’s next race is September 22 at Sherwood Hills Resort between Brigham City and Logan.
Weber’s McKay Hunt was second in the boys varsity race. Teams from Ogden, Ben Lomond, Fremont, St. Joseph, Roy and Morgan high schools joined the Weber and South Davis and North Davis squads in the different races.
“I’m so glad the league is out here now,” said Egan, whose time of 1:05:40 bested her competition by more than three minutes. “It’s a great opportunity to get out and bike and meet kids my age who do the same thing, so I’m really happy it’s started here in Utah.”
Now covering six states, NICA was created in 2009, with the core principles of developing strong body, strong mind and strong character.
For more information, visit www.utahmtb.org.