Morgan County is home to some of the most active kids I have ever seen, so it is no surprise that there is a new outdoor sports team in the area, the Morgan MTB race team.
The team consists of a group of high school aged students that train and compete in mountain bike races in the newly created Utah High School Cycling League. This is a project league in the National Interscholastic Cycling Association. Team members include: Brayden Nielsen, Kyler Matthews, Amber Harvey, Carter Bailey, Gage Brown, Hannah Clark, Aaron Fairbanks, Jeremy Lucas, Parker Lyman and Megan McMillan.
On Saturday, Sept. 8, Morgan MTB attended the first-ever high school mountain bike race in Park City and performed incredibly well. Even though it was the first mountain bike race for most of the kids, the team took first place in the team competition out of 24 competing teams. This was a huge honor and a sense of accomplishment was felt throughout the team who had been training hard for the last month.
Five out of the 10 participants were recognized on the podium at the awards. Head Coach, Ryan Neilsen said, “Every racer gave their all at the race despite numerous challenges such as dropped chains, dropped water bottles and one racer’s seat even came loose during the race.” Jeremy Lucas, who has had racing experience on road bikes but is new to mountain bikes, placed second in his division. Carter Bailey and Megan McMillan both placed third in their division and Hannah Clark and Brayden Nielsen both placed fifth.
The freshman and sophomores each raced nine miles in their individual races. The one junior varsity racer, Brayden Nielsen, who is actually racing in a higher category than others his age, raced 13.5 miles.
Coach Neilsen also mentioned how grateful the team is for their current sponsors and said the team wouldn’t be possible without them. Current sponsors include Needles Peak, Morgan Subway, Destination Homes, Ridley’s and Clark Family Dairy. They are always looking for more sponsors who would be interested in supporting this growing team. If anyone is interested they can contact Neilsen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The team would like to invite Morgan residents to come cheer them on at our next race on Sept. 22, at Sherwood Hills Resort between Brigham City and Wellsville. There is a lot of energy and excitement at these races. Spectators have a great time if they are even a little bit interested in high school sports and/or cycling. Looking at the Utah High School Cycling facebook page, you can see the passion and dedication by not only the promoters and volunteers, but also the student athletes themselves.