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NICA’s Southern California league to offer middle school pilot

Published October 21, 2013

TEMECULA, CA (BRAIN) — Following the Minnesota High School Cycling League's successful middle school pilot launch this fall, the SoCal High School Cycling League will launch its own middle school pilot program for the spring 2014 season.

“There has long been demand for organized middle school mountain biking in southern California," said SoCal league director Matt Gunnell. "Now we have the opportunity to develop a program that will introduce middle schoolers to mountain biking the NICA way."

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association high school programs are built on five core principles: inclusivity, equality, strong body, strong mind, and strong character. While a cornerstone of the high school programs is racing, that’s not the only thing NICA is working to build through its programs.

"After many years of having to turn away middle school riders in grades 6 through 8 we have decided to build programs which allow middle schoolers an introduction to mountain biking with a heavy emphasis on fun, skills, fitness, and etiquette while still giving a nod to the competitive angle they will see more of in high school," Gunnell said.

Middle school students will be able to participate in one of three ways during the spring 2014 season. They may form a middle school club under the guidance of a NICA licensed coach; they may join an existing high school club; or they may register as independent riders. Middle school students should expect to ride with clubs one to three times per week with an emphasis on making friends and having fun doing rides that are appropriate for their level.

Middle school students will be able to come to high school races to be part of the scene but will not be competing against high school students.

Students can expect to compete in one or two SoCal League sanctioned races next spring on courses and distances appropriate for their age and skill level.

For questions on registering a middle school club or on which high school clubs might be accepting middle school student-athletes, contact SoCal league director Matt Gunnell at or go to


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