Success of CHHS Mountain Biking


CH Mountain Biker Samantha Miller

The Utah High School Cycling League held its state championship for high school mountain biking in Saint George, UT from Oct 22 through Oct 23. Some riders from the Copper Hills Mountain Biking team were able to qualify and race because of their success during the regular season. This season was the 10th anniversary of the league and as such, the state race this year was a very large celebration.

The races took place on the Desert Canyons Utah High School State Championships course. Each lap was 7.28 miles long and included 550 feet of elevation gain. The course is approximately 8 miles south of St George and just north of the Utah-Arizona border. The Varsity Boys and Girls, as well as the Boys Junior Varsity A (JVA), had to ride 2 extended laps (8.28 each) while all of the other Junior Varsity riders rode two regular laps. Some of the athletes have shared some of their experiences from mountain biking this season, and more specifically from state.

Kelsie Carter, a senior Varsity girl, took 40th place. She was nervous going into the race because of the distance, but she was confident in her abilities. Overall, her race went well, except for what she termed a “minor problem”: no water for the last five miles. She has been able to have a few takeaways from the season as well. “Mountain biking has taught me to work hard for what I want and has helped me to become better friends with my teammates,” Carter said. “I’m so glad that I did mountain biking and hope that everyone has the chance to find something that they love doing.”

Carson Coles, a senior Varsity boy, placed 57th. He said, “[The race] went pretty well. I made a couple of small mistakes on the course that kind of held me back a little, but other than that, I thought it was a good race and a good course to give it your all.” He has been able to learn discipline from mountain biking. Coles said that he has learned how to work hard for his goals and how to encourage others to work hard for theirs.

Ian Noel, a senior rider in Junior Varsity A, finished in 55th place. He said that going into the race, he knew that the race would be long and that it would play to his strengths because it would require endurance. He was hopeful that he would be able to move up a few spots, and in the end, he did so. “I think the biggest thing [mountain biking] has taught me is how to work hard. I was able to put in tons of miles this off-season, and I saw the results.

Ashton Smith, a junior riding in JVA, placed 82nd. He had a great race and felt that everything went very well. He said that mountain biking has taught him to push past his limits and to work hard. “Going into the race, I felt pretty good and I had in my head to just give it my all until the end. During the race, that’s exactly what I did.”

Bayli Atherley, a junior riding in JVA, placed 37th. She has noted that the track was fun and unlike any of the other tracks earlier in the season. “I didn’t think that I was going to place that high just because all of the girls there are cracked and were all the same pace, but I ended up getting 37th, which was insane!” she said. She is very excited for next season and plans on using this season as motivation. “After I had a bad race, I honestly didn’t know if I was going to do the season again, but after my last few races, especially state…I’m so excited for next season, and I’m sad this one is over.”

Samantha Miller, a senior Varsity girl, placed 59th. She has had a unique perspective on racing this season. She said her fitness was not the best at the race, but it still went very well. She rode at what she called “race pace” but she said she took the race in a way that she could still enjoy it. “I have learned that you don’t need to be fast to have fun. In past years, I rode to place, but this year, I rode to have fun and enjoy my last year on the team.”

After all of the races were over, a final award ceremony was held. Both Miller and Coles were honoured with a pin and certificate signifying their participation in mountain biking in all six years they were eligible to race. Miller was also awarded a $1000 scholarship for an essay written about her experiences mountain biking.

Overall, the Copper Hills Mountain Bike team placed 20th in the State. All of the riders pushed themselves and contributed to the success of the team through their placement in the race. They all represented Copper Hills well and are glad that they have had the opportunity to race this year.