Niskayuna/Mohawk youth mountain bike team wins New York title

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The Niskayuna/Mohawk Composite Mountain Goats clinched the New York Interscholastic Cycling League 2021 team championship earlier this month with their fifth win in the five-race series.

The Mountain Goats beat out 17 other teams that consist of boys and girls in grades six through 12 with a five-race point total of 11,172. Dave Jones Racing Juniors placed second (10,791) and Pleasantville finished third (10,641) in the spring competition that concluded June 6 at Windham Mountain.

“We’ve got a little dynasty going,” said Mountain Goats assistant coach Bob Frank. “This is the ninth year of the league, and we’ve never placed below third and we’ve won it several times. We’ve got a good program.”

The Mountain Goats collected 2,376 team points in the fifth race to edge out Dave Jordan Racing Juniors (2,319) and wrap up the season championship. Points in each race are awarded to a team’s top four finishers — scoring must include boys and girls — and are weighted heavier to the varsity level.

In the final race for Niskayuna/Mohawk, Lilliana O’Donnell and Madeline Hanna placed second and third, respectively, in the Grade Girls division; Addison Rizzi placed second in the Freshman Girls division; Maya Healey placed first in the JV Girls division; Jacob McCarthy placed third in the Sophomore Boys division; Olivia Guzzo placed first in the Sophomore Girls division; and Jacob Gilson placed first in the Varsity Boys division.

“It takes a year-round effort,” Frank said of winning the overall team title. “I attribute it to the army of coaches we have and the training year-round. After the season some of the kids do road races and cyclecross, and we offer indoor spinning, which a lot of teams don’t have.”

About half of the 48 currently-registered team members attend Niskayuna schools and the rest hail from other parts of the Capital Region. Although competitive mountain racing is offered, it is not required for the team that has a no-cut policy and puts an emphasis on personal growth, friendship and character.

“Some kids just want to participate and others like to compete,” Frank said. “The main thing is that they are having fun with it.”

In the final season overall individual category, Healey was first, McCarthy was third, Guzzo was first and Gilson was first in their respective divisions.

“We have killed it every year with the boys,” Frank said. “We have done a lot to get more girls involved, and it’s definitely growing in the Capital District.”

More information about Niskayuna/Mohawk Composite can be found on its website, Facebook page and Instagram page. The team will be recognized for its achievements at Niskayuna Town Hall by Town Superintendent Yasmine Syed on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

The New York Interscholastic Cycling League, which includes teams from Catskill, Rochester, Otsego, Chenango, Briarcliff and Watervlille, is a member of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.

 

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