Originally Published: September 19, 2016 6 a.m.
In 2013, Mountain Bike racing began in Arizona’s high schools with the assistance of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), which is the national governing body for the sport. At the same time, the Arizona High School Cycling League (AHSCL) was formed to be the controlling body for Arizona.
Locally, Prescott High School began to participate as a club sport that same year. Although it was officially a school club, it competed as a team and had great success right from the beginning. The first year, the team was composed of 13 riders, 12 boys and one girl, and finished the season ranked second in the state. In 2014 the club grew to 17 riders and took fifth in state. Seventeen riders completed last year, but with a more experienced group, the team finished the season second in state, out of 41 schools competing.
Entering the 2016 season, it was obvious that PHS was going to have a very strong Mountain Bike team as we have grown to 19 members. In addition, we are now an official “team” and part of the PHS athletic department. Athletic Director Missy Townsend said, “We are proud to have the Mountain Bike team as an official member of the PHS athletic department. They have, and continue to represent our school in an extremely positive manner, and I salute their success.”
This year’s team is comprised of 12 boys and seven girls. It is exciting to see a growth in participation, and we look forward to continuing that trend. For the first time, the AHSCL has created two divisions; schools with more than 10 riders are in Division I, while under 10 riders places a school in Division II. Division I schools will be scored on their top six riders. The riders score points in their individual divisions for their overall standing, but their points also count toward the team overall standings as well. Students can compete in four classifications; Freshman, Sophomore, JV and Varsity.
This year’s schedule kicked off in Flagstaff last week with a well-earned first-place finish for PHS and continues with competitions in Prescott on Sept. 25; Fort Huachuca on Oct, 9; and McDowell Mountain Regional Park on Oct. 23. The state finals will be held at the White Tank Regional Park on Nov. 6.
Prescott can be very proud of this team of young adults who practice hard and strive to be their best on their bikes and in the classroom. As the head coach I believe this team will perform at a very high level, and I’m very proud to have the opportunity to work with each member of the PHS Mountain Bike team.
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