MA High School Mountain Biking League Launch Meeting Planned

MA High School Mountain Biking League Launch Meeting Planned

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) will be holding a meeting on March 25 to discuss the establishment of a high school mountain bike-racing league in Massachusetts. The meeting will take place from noon to 3:00pm, at the Washington Square Tavern, in Brookline, MA. If Massachusetts opts to place the bid required for a league to be launched, it would be the 17th state to utilize NICA’s mountain bike-racing program for student athletes in 7th through 12th grade.

MA High School Mountain Biking League Launch Meeting Planned

Founded in 2009, NICA works with coaches and parents to provide guidance and resources to launch non-profit leagues dedicated to getting students into cycling. At the meeting, Minnesota High School Cycling League founder Gary Sjoquist, will guide a discussion about what it will take for Massachusetts to successfully launch a league by the projected date of 2016. Sjoquist successfully ran the Minnesota league in 2012 and 2013.

“These NICA leagues use mountain bike racing as a gateway to get kids into cycling,” said Sjoquist. “The leagues grow quickly and literally create cycling families. The secret sauce is that you bring high schools—with all their diversity—to a safe, fun mountain bike program that is highly social. And unlike typical ball and stick sports, nobody gets cut. All of the participants contribute to the success of the team, which the kids think is really cool.”

NICAs 16 current leagues are comprised of close to 5,000 student athlete racers completing nearly 2 million hours of participation annually. Additionally, nearly 2,000 parents have become licensed as coaches, guiding over 500 teams participating in NICA leagues.

“NICA is a great program to get student athletes into cycling,” said Sjoquist. “But it takes the right people coming together and working toward a common goal to successfully launch a league.  You need people with event experience, racers, or teachers and administrators with a love for mountain biking. You also need parents who love cycling, but have seen their child’s frustration and lack of success with traditional team sports. 10 years from now, only a handful of folks will be able to look back and say they helped launch this league, and that’s who we need at this meeting.”

More information about NICA and the Minnesota League can be found at www.nationalmtb.org and www.minnesotamtb.org, respectfully. Gary Sjoquist can be contacted for more information at gsjoquis@qbp.com.

**We have great stories about kids who discover mountain bike racing in a NICA league, get their parents into cycling, travel on trips together, even achieve college scholarships to continue racing in college.  Kids with disabilities, too, who can compete on a team for the first time ever – it’s pretty compelling stuff.**

Photo  credit Todd Bauer

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