GCHS mountain bike competitors pedal to wins at Soldier Hollow
by Jeff Richards
Contributing Writer
Oct 31, 2013 | 2255 views | 0 0 comments | 25 25 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Brityn Ballard of Grand competes in a mountain bike race at Soldier Hollow. Courtesy photo
Brityn Ballard of Grand competes in a mountain bike race at Soldier Hollow. Courtesy photo
The Grand County High School mountain biking club had two racers win their division during the team’s fourth race of the season. Bjorn Nicolaisen won the freshmen boys competition and Preston Bagley-Gurtner took first place in junior varsity in the event at Soldier Hollow near Midway, on Saturday, Oct. 26.

The first wave of the race consisted of varsity, junior varsity, sophomore, and freshman girls. Grand’s two female riders, Brityn Ballard and Robin Willscheidt, completed three laps for a total of 11.4 miles, with Ballard placing 11th in the sophomore division, and Willscheidt placing 14th in junior varsity. 

“Both girls had a blast riding through the dusty hills and made vast improvements as riders,” said coach Christa Green, noting that the course starts out on the Soldier Hollow Olympic venue and winds its way through the hills and loops back.

In Wave 2 (freshman and sophomore boys), Nicolaisen pedaled to first place among 35 racers in the freshmen boys division. Red Devil teammate River Murdock placed 14th out of 48 in the sophomore boys division.

Each rode “a good solid two laps,” according to coach Green.

In the third and final wave (JV and varsity boys), Bagley-Gurtner of Grand came in first among 51 competitors in the Division 2 junior varsity, while teammate Jamie Marshall placed fifth in the same category. Also competing for Grand, Maxwell Lesoine took 14th.

“The day of the race was beautiful and sunny for racing,” Green said. “There were dusty faces as they crossed the finish line.”

The fifth and final event of the Utah High School Cycling League series will be the state championship race on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Bar M trail system north of Moab.

The races are scheduled to start at 10 a.m. for the girls, 11:30 a.m. for freshman and sophomore boys, and 1:15 p.m. for varsity and junior varsity boys.

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