Paul Skilbeck [email protected]
High school and middle school students across the State are flocking to the new Wisconsin High School Cycling League, and its annual mountain bike racing series. The inaugural event, the first of four, was held at Minooka Park, Waukesha, last Sunday, August 31st.
Laying the groundwork for this new league began with a Wisconsin state championship event held in 2013, which attracted 60 riders from six teams.
This year, those six teams has grown to 19 teams with close to 200 entries at the August 31 league race. The first race, in a series of four, that ends October 19 at Cascade Mountain, Portage Wisc. See photos here from their first race.
Kathy Mock, the Wisconsin League co-director, said, “We expected some growth from last year, but 300% growth exceeds our greatest hopes. Middle and high school mountain biking is taking off in states across the USA, under the umbrella of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association, and we are seeing similar here. School teams are being written up in local newspapers, parents are excited and the kids are lining up to join and start teams. There is so much activity surrounding this new league, as an experienced event organizer, this feels like the right idea at the right time.”
Austin McInerny, executive director of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), said, “It is really impressive to see what’s happening in Wisconsin, and we are doubly excited because it’s the home state of Trek Bicycles which has supported our efforts since NICA’s inception in 2010. With 15 NICA leagues now operating across the USA, we are experiencing a transformation in what schools recognize as legitimate sports. Initially, many thought cycling was a sport just for kids that aren’t into the traditional bat and ball sports, but now, after the success of our early leagues, and seeing many of our participants develop into both strong athletes and very capable young adults, participation is growing exponentially, as is support from parents and school administrators. Simply put, mountain biking is a sport for everybody that can be pursued from youth into the golden years. NICA leagues such as Wisconsin make an effort to ensure everybody is included and treated equally.”
The 2014 Wisconsin High School Cycling League schedule is:
Race 1, was held on August 31 at Minooka Park, Waukesha
Race 2, is September 21, at Iola Winter Park
Race 3, is October 5, at Nordic Mountain, Mt. Morris
Race 4, is October 19, at Cascade Mountain, Portage
The league website is www.wisconsinmtb.org. Team lists and contact information are available on their website, as are links for online race registration. Students must be on a team to enter.