Mountain Bike Team wins fifth straight State Championship

Taking the podium, Marshall County Mountain Bike Team celebrates their fifth straight State Championship Sunday at St. Andrews Sewanee School in Sewanee, Tenn.

For the fifth straight year, facing ever-increasing competition from new teams and more experience from seasoned teams, the Marshall County mountain bike team rode to another Tennessee State Championship title. Along the way, they won each of the four races this season, amassing an overall record over the past five years of 20-0.

“With last year’s team losing four seniors that had been in the program since it’s inception, I knew it would be a big void to fill”, Coach Steve Beckett said. “We had two returning seniors (Jaron Wood and Audrey Grizzard) joined by two juniors (Bobby Jones and Grant Wilson) riding in the Varsity class so having four experienced kids in that class is a big advantage as very few teams have that.”

(L-R) National Interscholastic Cycling League President (NICA) Austin McInerny, MCHS Principal Patricia Greer, seniors Jaron Wood and Audrey Grizzard and Celeste McInerny following Sunday’s State Championship.

The Tennessee Interscholastic Cycling League has a lot of seniors in the league, but it doesn’t necessarily mean they will ride in the Varsity class, Beckett added. Their experience and fitness to handle the increased mileage and speeds, dictates whether they can race at the Varsity level.

Beckett said he was feeling pretty confident coming into the season with the Varsity squad they had, plus the strong riders in both the girls and boys JV classes, giving the team a solid backup and depth with the Sophomore, Freshman and Eighth grade classes much more even competitively.

Two high school riders finished the season with perfect 4-0 records, Jaxon Story in the JV boy’s division and Presleigh Jennings in the Sophomore girl’s division. Middle School sixth grade rider, Claire Austin, also finished the season undefeated.

“All four of our middle school girl riders either won their championship race or came in second”, Beckett said. “Many of our middle school boys finished on the podium or very high in results. This is where the program builds from, the middle school group has to expand to keep up with the other teams and establish a solid foundation of young riders.”

Beckett said the Varsity level riders did not race at full strength for the first three races due to illness and injuries which led to the first season the team did not win the Varsity races to start the season, finishing second and third, but the strength of the JV riders who came through with victories, helped them to gain a slight lead over their competition, the same held true for the second and third races.

Marshall County’s three Varsity boys swept the State Championship podium Sunday. Jaron Wood first, Bobby Jones second and Grant Wilson third.

“We entered the State Championship race with a larger points lead than the previous year, which is a testament to the kids continuing to work hard to build their lead over the other teams”, Beckett said. “For the first time this season, we were four Varsity riders strong and it paid off with our largest margin of victory.”

All three Varsity boy’s swept the podium Sunday – Jaron Wood first, Bobby Jones second and Grant Wilson third. Wood’s first place finish was a great way to cap off his four year’s on the team after an injury set him out of most of the season. Audrey Grizzard placed second in the girl’s Varsity race and finished second in the overall series while Jones took the Varsity boy’s overall season title.

Earning State Championship Overall Series titles for the team in Varsity boys- Jones,  JV boys- Story, Sophomore girls- Jennings and Eighth Grade- Olivia Myhand.

“The 2017 team showed their diversity and resilience across the season racing in super-hot, dusty weather, rain-mud soaked downpours from storm Nate and finally cold, wet and snow added in for the final race”, Beckett said. “Our coaches, the ladies and men who ride with us at practices in those same conditions are a huge part of this team and it’s success. We appreciate all the volunteers, parents and sponsors that donate time and money to help get more kids on bikes.”

Taking second this season was the Nashville based Williamson County Composite team, third place went to another Nashville based team, Harpeth Youth Cycling Composite and in their second year of competition, the Paducah-McCracken Composite team placed fifth among 17 teams competing.

The team is also proud of the Freshman Girl’s State Championship win and Overall Series win of Carrie Cavitt from Graves County, who trains with the Marshall County team.
Click on the photo gallery below results for more State Championship podium photos.

State Championship results (high school)
Varsity Boys: 1st Jaron Wood, 2nd Bobby Jones, 3rd Grant Wilson
Varsity Girls: 2nd Audrey Grizzard
JV Boys: 1st Jaxon Story, 6th Clay Austin, 8th Kaleb Cosby, 26th Kyle McClain
JV Girls: 2nd Alyssa McClain, 7th Grace Boatright
Sophomore Boys: 14th Joseph Roberts, 15th Carson Denfip, 18th Dusty Bass
Sophomore Girls: 1st Presleigh Jennings
Freshman Boys: 1st Kaden Jameson

State Championship results (middle school)
8th Grade Boys: 3rd Landon Utley, 4th James Harbison III, 10th Carter Green, 23rd Gabe Driskill
8th Grade Girls: 1st Olivia Myhand, 2nd Natalie Norwood
7th Grade Boys: 3rd Chase Binkley, 5th Gunner Boatright, 6th Jase Story, 13th Jaggar Oakley
7th Grade Girls: 1st Kaylin Denfip
6th Grade Boys: 3rd Cooper Allen, 6th Ty Elrod
6th Grade Girls: 1st Claire Austin

2017 Overall Series State Champion results
Varsity Boys: 1st Bobby Jones, 3rd Grant Wilson
Varsity Girls: 2nd Audrey Grizzard
JV Boys: 1st Jaxon Story, 4th Clay Austin, 6th Kaleb Cosby
JV Girls: 2nd Alyssa McClain, 6th Grace Boatright
Sophomore Boys: 10th Dusty Bass, 16th Joseph Roberts, 17th Carson Denfip, 41st Eli Day
Sophomore Girls: 1st Presleigh Jennings
Freshman Boys: 2nd Kaden Jameson
8th Grade Girls: 1st Olivia Myhand