GALLATIN, Tenn. – Marshall County High School riders swept top honors in the inaugural Tennessee High School Cycling League’s state championship meet Sunday on a muddy Lock 4 Mountain Bike Park course.
The start-up Marshall County team won team honors and took championships in varsity and junior varsity boys plus sophomore girls and boys categories.
Carson Beckett, a sophomore who competes in national cycling events, completed a sweep of all four varsity races on the THSCL schedule this fall, taking the victory over independent rider Sam Stallings in the three-lap event on the 4.9-mile course.
JV boys winner Hunter Dunnigan also won all four events this season en route to his state title and Justice Beal, who missed the first race of the year, won the three events in which he was entered in the sophomore boys division.
Jessica Tillson led a 1-2-3 Marshall sweep of the sophomore girls podium, with Karson Grizzard second and Jillian Farris third.
“I’ve really enjoyed racing in the Tennessee High School League, being a part of the high school team and I think our first season went really well,” said Beckett. “The race was very demanding in the conditions we had. I’m proud to be the first varsity champion representing the league in their inaugural season.”
“It was humbling to win, because going into the season I didn’t expect to do that well,” Dunnigan said.
“I just went into today’s race to have fun and wasn’t really concerned with how it turned out,” Beal said. “It feels good to win the last race and end on a good note.”
Tillson edged Grizzard for the state title.
“We battled it out all season and trained hard and rode hard pushing ourselves to be better riders and it came down to the final race,” Tillson said.
Besides the sweep of the top three spots in sophomore girls, Marshall County had three other top-three finishers in final state individual standings. Rayne Morehead took second place in freshman girls and Travis Tack (freshman boys) and Brock Costello (sophomore boys) finished third.
Derrick May also placed fifth in JV boys, which celebrated the performances of the top five riders in its podium ceremony.
Tennessee was one of three states, along with Arizona and New York, to set up leagues under National Interscholastic Cycling Association sanction this year. Kentucky has no bike racing organization, so the Marshall County team competed in Tennessee’s events.
The NICA has 10 leagues in nine states, with California having northern and southern divisions.