The inaugural New Jersey middle and high school mountain bike league race took place on Sunday, April 23, in Chester. The New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League is a chapter of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA).
This was a memorable day for the 15 mountain biking teams of New Jersey students that participated. With 470 feet of vertical over 3.5 miles per lap, the riders definitely earned their glory and made history together.
The Essex Offroad Mountain Bike Team, comprised of 25 students from Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange, Verona and West Caldwell, took second place overall. The team from the Princeton Area won first place and Don Bosco Preparatory High School took third.
Several Verona riders participated with the Essex team. Cole Smith, a Verona High School junior, took second place in Varsity Boys with a time of 1:09:36 in a four-lap race. Nina Machnowski, a VHS freshman, took first place in JV Girls with a time just over 38 minutes in a two-lap race.
H.B. Whitehorne Middle School student Jack O’Neill won third place, and his brother Frank O’Neill won fourth place in 8th Grade Boys, with times of 18 and 19 minutes respectively for one lap. Logan Machnowski, also an HBW student, took third place in 6th Grade Boys in 23 minutes for his lap. HBW eighth grade students Andrew Hunt, Edward Selimi, and John McCarthy also finished strong with the Verona racers pushing the pace of the field stacked with top riders that was the largest start wave by far.
The next NICA race will take place in Lewis Morris Park, in Morristown on May 7.