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Draper Journal

CCHS mountain bikers tops in state

Dec 06, 2018 03:04PM ● By Catherine Garrett

The Corner Canyon High mountain biking team won the Utah High School Cycling League state championship Oct. 19–20 in St. George. (Photo courtesy Whitney Pogue)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

The Corner Canyon High mountain biking team won the Utah High School Cycling League state championship over Lone Peak Oct. 19–20 in St. George, its third title in program history.

“This one was perhaps the sweetest one because it was closer and we truly didn’t know who was going to win,” said head coach Whitney Pogue, who was named Coach of the Year. “We had tough competition that we hadn’t come up against all season. Kids who had been on the podium all season long found themselves in large fields of very talented riders and it was anyone’s race. At the end of the day, it was us against Lone Peak and it was just a great race by both teams.”

Payton Anderson, who gave the Chargers a key top finish with a 10th place showing in the varsity boys race, said, “It’s a good feeling when all the hard work pays off, but since it’s a big team there is even more work to be put in. It’s almost harder to win as a team than just an individual because it’s not only one person who has to put in the time and training perform on race days, it’s a whole group that needs to do that. But, when you win as a team, you celebrate as a team, and that’s a lot more fun than celebrating alone.”

The Chargers had some issues in the girls varsity race with two riders not finishing, but Pogue said “solid races” from Max Miller, who placed sixth, along with Anderson and Josh Griffin in the varsity boys division secured the victory for Corner Canyon.

“It feels good to be competitive with the very fast kids that were racing this year,” Anderson said. “I wasn’t winning any races, but a top five and top 10s the rest of the season were good results for me as well as helping the team to achieve our goals.”

Pogue said everyone’s best effort was needed to pull off the title. “It was truly a team effort,” she said. “We didn’t have a single individual category win, but strong races from lots of riders made it happen.”

Pogue’s son Parker, who placed third in the sophomore boys class, said the team has “worked so insanely hard” all year for this result. “It felt a lot different than I thought,” he said. “I knew we had what it would take to win state, but was still nervous and as they announced it, I think we were all just relieved we did it.”

Brooke Meyers, who finished third in the junior varsity girls race, expressed gratitude to be a part of a team with “amazing athleticism and amazing character.” “This is such an outstanding group of individuals,” she said. “Every race day has a very special energy surrounding it which I think makes everyone able to reach their peak performance. It felt amazing that all of our hard work and dedication finally paid off.”

A highlight of the event was in the junior varsity boys race with Ethan Lassiter taking second by .01 seconds. “There was a rider in between the two boys who was being lapped so the photos from the finish line didn’t reveal the winner,” Coach Pogue said. “In the pictures I have, it’s nearly impossible to tell who won. They deferred to the timing mat because that was all they had to go on.”

Lassiter said he was slightly disappointed with losing such a close race. “But, what really matters is that I learned from my mistakes and that my teammates came together for the win,” he said.

Jona Serrell placed seventh and Cail Alles ninth in the JV event.

Along with Parker Pogue’s third place finish in the sophomore boys division, Braxton Zarbock took fifth and Ben Owen eighth. “I was super stoked to have taken home bronze and to have contributed some points for the team,” Parker Pogue said.

Mya Graham and Amber Griffin came in second and fifth, respectively, in the freshman girls race while James Sybrowsky (fifth) and Kenton Jeppson (eighth) placed in the freshman boys event.

“We have been working hard since last May and these riders practiced all summer and then in the evenings after school started,” Coach Pogue said. “All of their hard work paid off at state.”

Coach Pogue also noted the academic excellence of her team, which has an average GPA of 3.6 with 47 of her riders pulling a 4.0 this term. Sam Steele was also awarded a scholarship through the mountain biking league.

“These are some amazing kids,” Coach Pogue said. “This season was an incredible one for the Chargers. We had so much success for so many riders. Watching the kids have an absolute blast together all the time and then to have the success in the races that we did — that’s why we do what we do.”

Meyers said the team could not have won without their “amazing” coaches. “Not only are they great mountain bikers, but they are the best role models I could have asked for,” she said. “They are some of the people whom I aspire to resemble when I grow up. I love them and the rest of the team so very much. Everyone truly is a family.”