Haley Batten wins state title in Moab | ParkRecord.com

Haley Batten wins state title in Moab

Submitted by Utah High School Mountain Bike League

MOAB, Utah – The Utah High School Cycling League crowned its second-year state champions on Saturday on the world-famous trails of Moab, with powerhouses Justin Griffin and Haley Batten taking the varsity classes.

The Moab race was the fifth and final race in the Utah league’s 2013 series, and winners of the event are crowned state champions. Riders also gather points — including up to 50 bonus points for the championship round — toward season-long standings.

Park City High School’s Batten completed her season sweep in the top girls class, dominating for the fifth race in a row on the long, technical course near Arches National Park. Batten, 15, is the only freshman girl racing in the varsity across any of the 10 National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) leagues.

"The course was super cool; it was technical and saving energy on the rocks was really hard to do," said Batten, who races around the United States and in Europe, and already has multiple USA Cycling National Championships under her belt. "I hope to go pretty far with a cycling career, but it’s all about having fun."

Batten finished three laps of the 6.5-mile course 2 minutes and 18 seconds ahead of second-place Cate Carabine of Ogden High and more than six minutes ahead of her Park City teammate Brenna Egan in third.

With the win, Batten is both the Utah State Champion and the league’s season points champ. She and her teammates also helped solidify PCHS’s win in the Division 1 team standings over Corner Canyon High.

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The Moab location and Utah league’s success — it’s the second largest league in the NICA system in only its second year — drew a crowd of cycling dignitaries, from much of the NICA board of directors to mountain bike racing legends Ned Overend and Todd Wells, who took time to chat with riders as they prepared to start their races.

"What NICA and the Utah league are doing here is incredible," said Wells, who is a multi-time national champion, a Leadville 100 winner and one of the most decorated cross country racers of his generation. "Just exposing all of these kids to bikes and teaching them these skills is giving them a sport they can do for the rest of their lives."

In girls’ racing, new state champs are PCHS’s Sienna Leger Redel in the JV division, Corner Canyon’s Sierra Pogue in the sophomore class and Skyline’s Anike Heilweil in the freshman division.

State titles in boys racing went to Corner Canyon’s Jordan Anderson in JV Division 1, while Preston Bagley of Grand County won on his home trails in JV Division 2. The new Sophomore Division 1 and 2 state champions are Mackay Smith of Grand County and South Davis Composite’s Devry Grovum. Freshman winners were Park City’s Connor Patten in Division 1 and Desert Hills’ Lex Avina, who rode a lap and a half of his two-lap race without a seat after his saddle snapped off early in the race.

For 2014, the Utah High School Mountain Bike League expects to continue its rapid expansion. A race schedule will be announced early next year, as well as dates for the annual Cyclefest fundraiser. For more information about the league, visit http://www.utahmtb.org.

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