The Essex Offroad Mountain Bike Team had the final race of its inaugural season on Sunday. Five of the Verona racers on the team again made the podium as the team took third place in the race and in the overall season.
The “Quick, Slick Six” race took place at Six Mile Run near Somerset. Cole Smith, who is finishing his junior year at Verona High School, finished his five laps in third place. Smith earned second place overall in the New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League‘s varsity division this season, and was selected for the Jersey Off Road Bicycle Association’s Trail Advocacy Award.
Nina Machnowski, who is completing her freshman year at VHS, took first place in JV Girls, and maintained her green overall points leader jerseys for her class this season.
HBW student Jack O’Neill earned a third place finish in the eighth grade division and his brother, Frank O’Neil, finished fifth, also in eighth grade. Logan Machnowski, another Whitehorne student, earned fifth place in the sixth grade division. Several more Verona riders participated, including HBW eighth graders John McCarthy, Andrew Hunt and Edward Selimi.
In addition to having Verona riders from both HBW and VHS, the Essex Offroad team includes students from Bloomfield, Caldwell, Cedar Grove, Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange, and West Caldwell. The team, which operates under the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA), was formed last fall and started training over the winter, often around the West Essesx hiking and biking trail.
The Essex Offroad Mountain Bike Team won third place overall for 2017 season, and also finished third in the team ranking for Sunday’s race. This year, 16 teams from all over New Jersey participated in NICA races.