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Press Release: NICA Interscholastic Cycling League expands into West Virginia

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Raise your hand if you wish NICA was around while you were in school? Yeah, us too. More than just kids on bikes, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association is giving kids a chance to race, ride, give back to the trails, and learn all while being part of their school’s team. With the addition of West Viginia, NICA is up to 21 leagues across the U.S. and hopefully paving the way for more to come.

Morgantown, West Virginia – West Virginia will become the newest state league in the growing National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), the national governing body for interscholastic mountain biking in the United States.

This volunteer based organization is seeking donations to launch programming in 2018. If you would like to contribute, please click here.

West Virginia League Director, Cassie Smith said, “West Virginia becoming one of NICA’s newest cycling leagues is a dream come true! Mountain biking is a sport near and dear to my heart, and I’m so excited to have the opportunity to work with NICA to spread the excitement of mountain biking to young people and their families throughout the mountain state. NICA is a unique youth development organization with programs that focus on inclusivity, equality, and building strong mind, strong body, and strong character. Student-athletes in all areas of West Virginia will have the opportunity to learn healthy living through mountain biking. I would like to thank the West Virginia League’s founding team, Kristen Dieffenbach, Tim Gregis, Zoe Morris, Bradley Schmalzer, Jeff Smith, Phillip Waidner, and Steve Worden for your dedication to this effort. Without your help, it would not have been possible.”

Austin McInerny, President of NICA, said, “We are very excited and honored to be working with the talented West Virginia League’s founding team to expand youth mountain biking programs to the mountainous east-central United States. While historically known for its coal industry, West Virginia is going to see an explosion of cycling as we work collaboratively to get more kids on bikes. Not only will this initiative help empower and strengthen youth, I predict strong economic benefits to the communities within West Virginia that embrace the power of interscholastic cycling.”

Through its 21 leagues nationally, NICA provides quality youth development and sport enrichment opportunities to nearly 800 school based teams, 14,000+ students-athletes, and 6,000 licensed coaches. The organization has been growing steadily since 2009, and enjoys average growth of 35% annually. West Virginia Interscholastic League will be providing educational opportunities, camps and clinics in the upcoming year and is planning for a Fall 2018 start for scholastic mountain bike racing.

West Virginia native Sue Haywood, two-time Pan American Champion and four-time National Champion, said “I’m really excited that West Virginia student-athletes will now have access to an interscholastic bike league. Bikes are a great way for kids to get outside, be physically active, engage in their community and have fun. With West Virginia’s abundance of trails and parks, this is a natural fit for the state and will have positive effects on the kids and communities for a lifetime.”

The addition of West Virginia to the NICA network greatly increases the availability of interscholastic cycling to young cyclists in both the Mid-Atlantic region and across the U.S. NICA’s growing network includes the established leagues in Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Idaho, Maryland, Minnesota, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Northern California, Pennsylvania, Southern California, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.

“Mountain biking is something families can do together and it provides an amazing opportunity to enjoy the beauty of West Virginia,” according to Kristen Dieffenbach, an associate professor of Athletic Coaching Education at West Virginia University and professional cycling coach. “Cycling is a unique sport that can be enjoyed at all stages of life, both recreationally and competitively. As a long-time fan of the mission and efforts of NICA, I am thrilled that West Virginia now has a league dedicated to providing kids with opportunities to develop a passion for riding.”

The West Virginia League is headquartered in Morgantown, West Virginia. In addition to the efforts of the founding board, NICA West Virginia needs individuals passionate about creating quality opportunities for youth (note: mountain biking skills are not required). Volunteer opportunities exist for coaching, event and logistical support, fundraising, and more. Interested individuals are invited to contact League Director, Cassie Smith at cassie@westvirginiamtb.org for more information about volunteer opportunities.

About the West Virginia Interscholastic Cycling League

The West Virginia Interscholastic Cycling League is a mountain bike organization geared toward middle and high school age students. The West Virginia League is committed to standing behind NICA, and its 5 core values. Inclusivity: no bench warmers, and every finish counts. Equality: no tryouts, everyone rides! Strong Body: lifelong fitness starts here. Strong Mind: students first. Strong Character: work hard, play fair, respect others. This league will be a great avenue for kids to start a healthy lifestyle while having fun. The West Virginia League is generously supported by many private donors, as well as ABPH Art, Auntie Anne’s, Bennon & Thorpe, Big Bear Lake Camplands, Blackwater Bikes, Blennerhassett Bicycle Club, Coca Cola, Dirt Rag Magazine, Echelon Creative Services, Flying Fish & Co., Gregis Insurance Agency, Jeff Smith Insurance, Joey’s Bike Shop, Marathon Bicycle Co., Marietta Adventure Co., Monroe’s Deli, Mountainrides LLC, New River Bikes, North Bend State Park Foundation, Pro Mountain Outfitters, River Valley Mountain Bike Association, Sam’s Club, Sports and Spokes, Superior Seamless Gutters, Trailhead Coffee Shop, VA Crane Rental, Wamsley Cycles,and Water Stone Outdoors.

More Information: www.westvirginiamtb.org

About The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA)

Founded in 2009 as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, NICA develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA provides leadership, services and governance for regional leagues to produce quality mountain bike events and programs, and supports every student-athlete in the development of strong body, strong mind and strong character through cycling.

NICA exists by virtue of generous sponsors, donors and partners, including lead sponsor Trek Bicycles; platinum sponsors SRAM and Shimano; and major sponsors Specialized Bicycle Components, Bicycling, Clif Bar & Company, Clif Bar Foundation, Giro, Podiumwear, Quality Bicycle Products, CamelBak, GU Energy, Maxxis, REI, Athletic Event Supply, Feedback Sports, Yakima, and People for Bikes. For more information on NICA visit www.nationalmtb.org or call (510) 524-5464.

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Jim E.
Jim E.
6 years ago

Great to see them growing. My son competes in the Colorado league and they are the best run events I have ever attended. Would just be nice now if more of the schools recognized them for varsity letters and such.

6 years ago

We tried to do something similar in wv 15+ yrs ago and were shut down…so great to see this now! Hopefullly it will still be around for my daughter to race in (if she wants to).

6 years ago

Glad, this has been a long time coming.

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