Bring on the state mountain biking finals.
More than 400 Utah high school student mountain bikers race Saturday on trails designed for the 2002 Olympic Nordic ski racers at Soldier Hollow. The event was the fourth race out of five organized by the Utah High School Cycling League and the final event in the Wasatch before the state championship next month in Moab.
Depending on their category, racers completed two-, three- or four-laps on a challenging 5.7-mile course.
"This course was the most physically demanding of the series," said Utah League Director Lori Harward. "Everyone who rode on Saturday had to push themselves and can leave with a real sense of accomplishment."
The top finishers again were familiar faces in the 2013 series, with Olympus High's Justin Griffin winning the varsity boys race for the third event in a row and Park City's phenom Hayley Batten keeping her season sweep intact with a dominant performance in varsity girls.
Ogden High's Cate Carabine was third in the varsity girls race.
In the afternoon's varsity boys event, a group of five -- Griffin, South Davis Composite's Zach Peterson, Park City's Matthew Turner, Weber's Anders Johnson and Jordan Pope of Wasatch High -- fought to keep just enough energy in the tank for a close finish.
But at the end it came down to a two-man sprint between Griffin and Peterson, with Griffin barely beating Peterson at the line, followed 1 minute 21 seconds later by Turner in third, and Johnson in fourth.
"The first part of the race my strategy was to conserve as much energy as a I could, and about at the half way point I put in a couple of attacks and every time I did Zach was tight there on my wheel," Griffin said.
In the team standings after four rounds, Park City continues to lead Corner Canyon in the Division 1 rankings and South Davis Composite maintained its lead over North Davis Composite in Division 2.
The final is set for Nov. 9 at Moab. Visit www.utahmtb.org for details and results.
Clearfield opens football coach post
Clearfield High has announced an opening for its football head coaching position. The application deadline is Nov. 1. A teach position with the job is to be determined.
St. Joseph coach Cravens honored
St. Joseph High School girls basketball coach Joe Cravens was named 2013 girls basketball coach of the year.
"It's always an honor and I'm so flattered. An honor like this is always much less an individual honor than it is a team-type honor," Cravens said.
In addition to coaching the girls basketball team, he is the student counselor at SJCHS. The former Weber State men's coach began at St. Joseph in 2009 and won the 2012 and 2013 1-A championship titles.
Cravens will be eligible for section and national NFHS Coach of the Year awards.
"My decision to coach here (St. Joseph) was a very spiritual one. I enjoyed being back in the gym and teaching." said Cravens.
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