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 (PHS) 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 thirteen riders, twelve boys and one girl, and finished the season ranked second in the state. In 2014 the club grew to seventeen 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 nineteen members. In addition, we are now an official “team” and part of the PHS athletic department. Athletic Director Missy Townsend stated, “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 in comprised of twelve 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 ten riders are in Division I, while under ten rider’s 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 September 25th; Fort Huachuca on October 9th; McDowell Mountain Regional Park on October 23rd and the state finals will be held at the White Tank Regional Park on November 6th.
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.