Dramatic Finish By Maile O’Neill Tops Mountain Bike Wins


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Maile O’Neill
Maile O’Neill got her wheel across the finish line for first place just one second ahead of her competitor.
H.B. Whitehorne Middle School student Maile O’Neill took first place in 6th Grade Girls at the New Jersey middle and high school mountain bike league race Camp Edge Classic in Alloway on April 22. The race ended with an exciting sprint battle with a competitor from Salem County, but O’Neill dug deep and got her front wheel across the line just one second ahead for the win. This was her second race of the season and comes on the tail of her third place finish at Wild West Chester on April 15, her first mountain bike race ever.

O’Neill joined the Essex Offroad Mountain Bike Team last fall. The team is comprised of 41 students from all over Essex County, including Bloomfield, the Caldwells, Cedar Grove, Glen Ridge, Maplewood, Montclair, South Orange and Verona.

Several Verona riders participated with the Essex team at the Camp Edge Classic. Cole Smith, a Verona High School senior, took fourth place in Varsity Boys. Nina Machnowski, a VHS sophomore, won first place in Varsity Girls and maintained her overall points leader jersey for her class. Frank O’Neill, a VHS student, took third place in Freshman Boys, while his brother Jack took seventh place.

Dylan Sampers, an HBW student, won first place in 6th Grade Boys again, maintaining his overall points leader jersey for his class; and his brother Henry Sampers took third place in 8th Grade Boys. Also from HBW, Patricia Rakova took third place and Paula Cillik took fifth place, both in the 7th Grade Girls category. Meanwhile their teammates Cara Brett from Glen Ridge finished in fourth place in the 7th Grade Girls category, and Kai Contento from Bloomfield finished in fourth place in the 7th Grade Boys category.

The Essex Offroad Mountain Bike Team won second place overall.

Another Verona racer who competed for the team at Wild West Chester race was Veronica Valera, a first-time racer who took a solid second place finish in Freshman Girls; her teammate Melanie Rojas from Bloomfield took fifth place.

Essex Offroad was also fortunate to have VHS freshmen Paul Cilik, John McCarthy and Andrew Hunt, as well as HBW 7th grader Logan Machnowski racing the events and contributing efforts and points to the team’s overall position.

This was a memorable day for the 20 mountain biking teams of New Jersey students that participated. The Essex Offroad Mountain Bike Team won second place overall, while Morristown Revolutions earned first place and Palisades Cyclones took third place.

The next race will take place at Lewis Morris Park in Morristown on May 6. The New Jersey Interscholastic Cycling League is a chapter of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA). For more information, contact Andrea Cederberg, Essex Offroad Team Director, at 973-746-3200 or visit www.facebook.com/EssexMTB.

The Essex Offroad Mountain Bike Team.
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