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The City Journals

CCHS bikers are on top of mountain again

Dec 09, 2021 03:00PM ● By Catherine Garrett

Corner Canyon’s mountain biking team of more than 200 riders is led by 12 coaches, including head coach Whitney Pogue. (Photo courtesy Whitney Pogue)

By Catherine Garrett | [email protected]

The Corner Canyon High mountain biking team didn’t like how second place felt at the 2020 Utah High School Mountain Biking State Championships, so the team gave “total commitment,” according to senior captain Skye Meyers and returned to the top this year. The Chargers avenged its close loss to Lone Peak last season with a dominating effort over the Knights this year in St. George Oct. 22-23.

“It was great taking back what was ours,” Meyers said. “It was nice to move past the Covid and mechanical issues from last year and win this season.”

“We’re super excited,” said junior captain Joe Hansen, who broke his chain in last season’s state race. “We just stayed motivated and it’s awesome that we got it back again.”

“It was such an amazing fun weekend,” said head coach Whitney Pogue. “I’m so proud of our riders and how they have performed this year and last. Last year, we rode through a Covid year and came out of Covid to have one of the most magical years in my memory in 2021.”

Hansen, the region champion in the Varsity Boys division, placed second in the event at state, just missing out on first in an “amazing sprint finish,” according to Pogue, to Dixie’s Andrew Tritle. “It was super close and he got me on that last corner,” Hansen said. 

Maci Waldron finished second in the Varsity Girls race with Meyers coming in sixth, battling back from a last-place finish at the region race when the seat fell off of her bike. “I did a lap without a seat and then finished with another bike which added a 10 minute penalty to my time,” Meyers said. “I could have just stopped, but I didn’t want my hard work to be worth nothing. You’re better off finishing because finishing is a triumph all its own.”

Other top finishes at the state championships were Ella Shearer (first, JV B girls), Harrison Reading (second, JV A boys), Payton Ambrose (second, JV B boys), Alyssa Meadows (second, JV B girls), Mason Quinton (third, JV C boys), Ethan Shirey (third, freshman boys), Aiden Little (fourth, JV B boys), Sienna Mascaro (fourth, senior open girls), Caleb Robinson (fourth, JV C boys), Parker Andersen (fifth, JV A boys), Avery Wettstein (fifth, JV B girls) and Jack Hanks (10th, JV A boys).

Additionally, Jay Clegg received the Enve Composites Academic Achievement award for academic excellence and Mya Graham was honored with the Hyperthreads Heart award for her dedication to dedication to her team.

Other captains heading up the 200-member Chargers squad—which is the largest mountain biking program in the country—include head captains Walker Dunbar and Katelyn Newby along with Brooke Bowen, Caleb Carroll, Jay Clegg, Mya Graham, Amber Griffin, Stella Hadden, McKay Horsley, Olivia Lewis, Josh Murdoch, Simone Parker, Ayden Rooklidge and Zoe Sprague.

“Our team is all about family,” Meyers said. “There isn’t a greater group of people, parents and community. The people are what makes this so awesome.”

Meyers said that mountain biking has taught her lessons the past few years that go beyond the bike. “It’s all super applicable to life where everyone has issues in races, but it comes down to you fighting through the challenges and overcoming adversity,” she said.

“It’s so results driven, so if you’ve put in the work, you can achieve your goals,” Hansen said, about his journey in mountain biking that began in sixth grade.

Pogue started the CCHS program in 2013 and has led them to five state titles during that span but will not be returning to coach the team next season. Meyers credited Pogue for the impact she has had on the team as a whole and on her individually. “She is the heart and soul of this program and one of the coolest people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing,” Meyers said. “She’s there for all 200 of us riders and she has believed in me the whole way.”

Hansen echoed those sentiments for Pogue. “Whitney is the best thing for this team,” he said. “She is so inclusive, knows everyone and runs the team so well.”

“I love watching these kids develop as athletes and even more as amazing human beings,” Pogue said. “They demonstrate good sportsmanship and so much kindness towards each other. I think they genuinely love their team family and it shows. To that, I say, ‘my work here is done.’ It’s been an honor and a privilege to have been at the helm of this organization as long as I have been. I love these kids and everything this team stands for and can’t wait to keep watching them do amazing things.”