Park City mountain bike team fights back to seventh at state
The Park City High School Mountain Bike team finished second in the North region on Sept. 29, then rolled into a seventh-place finish out of 19 teams at the Division 1 state finals in St. George on Saturday.
Head coach Chris Best said, considering the team’s ninth-place finish last season, he was happy with the result.
He said the team had improved steadily over the season, and nearly every rider moved up from their seeded position during the final race.
Park City junior Mila Leger Redel exemplified that trend, Best said. Leger Redel was injured with a broken arm during the season and missed two of the races, which gave her fewer points going into the finals and a starting position near the back of the 50-rider girls varsity competition on Saturday.
“She basically had to stage dead last,” Best said. “So she had to pass the entire field and got up to ninth, and she got an awesome top-10 finish. Varsity is a tough field, and to pass 40 riders is impressive on her part.”
Leger Redel finished with 509 points and a total time of 1:07:07.36.
Park City sophomore Sabine Wilson took fourth in the junior varsity competition, contributing 512 points to the team’s overall score for her finish of 42:46.09.
“It was just an awesome performance on her part,” Best said. “She beat all her North division rivals for the first time all year.”
Gunnar Travis finished second in the freshman boys race. Like Leger Redel, he started behind the pack, though his position was the result of a crash.
“He got caught behind a starting line pileup and pretty much had to fight his whole way back,” Best said. “Had the race been a little longer, he would have won the thing, but second was a pretty impressive performance.”
He finished with a time of 38:00.52 and earned 490 team points.
Some of the team’s other advances included Bennett Yaeger’s effort to come back from his 84th position seed in the freshman boys race to finish 42nd, and Mira Terry’s race from 63rd position to finishing 35th in the freshman girls race.
Overall, Corner Canyon took first with 7,768, followed by Lone Peak with 7511 and Skyridge with 6585. The Miners’ seventh place ranking came with a total of 6240 points.
“Oddly enough, we got beat by a lot of our North rivals,” Best said. “They’ve been leapfrogging us all season and it looks like a couple of them edged us out at state.”
Weber and Davis both jumped ahead of Park City in the final race after finishing behind the Miners in the regular season.
Best said the team’s nine graduating seniors – Grace Jenks, Anna Castro, Natalie Fink, Chloe Taylor, Henry Silverman, Marco Zanetti, Anders Ingle, Chase Luettinger, Jack “Sharky” Burke and Andrew Astill – would be missed after the season.
“The seniors that we are losing, they have been the heart and soul of this team, and other kids will step up, but they kind of established the culture of this team and I can’t explain in words how huge that was,” he said. “In terms of talent, we have plenty of good riders coming up through the ranks, but this crew was fun.”
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It’s been a rough season for Park City, but a taste of the postseason could pay huge dividends in the future.