The Essex Offroad Mountain Biking Team won the Gloucester Gasser Season Finale at Rowan College in Gloucester County on June 10, earning second place in the overall New Jersey series. Twenty mountain biking teams of middle and high school students participated in the New Jersey Interscholastic Mountain Biking League races this year.
Essex Offroad MTB Team won the race with 2,142 points, followed by Morristown Revolutions with 2,041 points and Don Bosco Preparatory High School with 2,030 points.
Morristown Revolutions won the series with 10,379 points, followed by Essex Offroad MTB in second place with 10,214 points, Don Bosco Preparatory High School in third place with 10,021 points, Palisades Cyclones in fourth place with 9,748 points, and Hunterdon Havoc in fifth place with 9,518 points.
Several Verona High School riders raced for Essex Offroad at the Gloucester Gasser. Cole Smith, a senior, took second place in Varsity Boys. Nina Machnowski, a sophomore, won first place in Varsity Girls and first place in the overall series. Frank O’Neill took second place in Freshman Boys and third place overall. His twin brother Jack O’Neill took fourth place in Freshman Boys and fourth place overall. Veronica Valera took fifth place in Freshman Girls. Essex Offroad was also fortunate to have VHS freshmen Paul Cilik, John McCarthy and Andrew Hunt racing the events and contributing efforts and points to the team’s overall position.
Several students from H.B. Whitehorne Middle School participated with the Essex Offroad team: Henry Sampers took second place in 8th Grade Boys, Dylan Sampers took third place in 6th Grade Boys, Logan Machnowski took seventh place in 7th Grade Boys, Patricia Rakova took second place and Paula Cillik took third place in the 7th Grade Girls category and Maile O’Neill took fourth place in 6th Grade Girls.
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 often trains around the West Essex hiking and biking trail.
The team has 14 active volunteer coaches and include Kristine Contento-Angell, Stephen Machnowski, Geordie Smith, Andrea and Lou Cederberg, Robert Mattesky, David Adornato, Gerard Livelli, Jeffrey Cohen, Ken Press, Matthew Tamasco, Michael Shull, Richard Valera and Stuart Sim.
Geordie Smith, one of the team coaches from Verona said: “We all knew we had a fast crew that could do well this year. Many thanks and congratulations to all the riders for making this a second awesome season that we can be proud of! We all saw each other improve and got to have some great days of challenging rides, local practices and super cool racing. Most importantly, we got to get out on our bikes and push ourselves and hang out with others who shared that buzz.”
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.