Mountain biking on rise in WillCo, team meeting Monday for those interested


Mountain biking on rise in WillCo, team meeting Monday for those interested

Opportunities for competitive mountain biking continue to climb for for county athletes.

The Williamson County Composite (WILCO) cycling team will be holding an informative meeting Monday, May 13, at Harlinsdale Park from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. to inform local students and their families about what possibilities await their participation in the program.

“Mountain biking is a rapidly growing sport across the country,” team representative Kim O’Neil said.

“Tennessee started its cycling league in 2012 under the NICA (National Interscholastic Cycling Association), the national cycling league umbrella. There are now nineteen teams competing in our state. The Tennessee league as a whole had over 450 riders competing last year. North Carolina and California have over 2,000 riders in their league.”

O’Neil said coaches will be on hand to answer questions on the goal, team schedule and equipment. Local bike shops will also be present to field questions on cycling in general.

Franklin High School will be the first school in the county to have a cycling team, per O’Neil.

Franklin graduate Simon Lewis was named Savannah College of Arts and Design’s Male Athlete of the Year for his accomplishments in cycling. O’Neil says that more than 44 colleges offer cycling scholarships.

“[Williamson County] has massive potential for growth this year,” she said. “We have grown over a 100-percent each year since the team began six years ago.

“It started with four riders and we had over 65 last year riding with us. Riders come from every middle school and high school in the county and includes home school students. We love to see the growth, and as it continues, we hope to see it branch out and every middle school and high school have its own mountain biking team.”

She says that practices will take place at all types of courses in the area, like Harlinsdale Park, Chickasaw Trace State Park, Cane Ridge’s mountain bike park, Miontgomery Bell State Park, Percy Warner Park, Lock 4 in Gallatin and Wilkins Branch’s new mountain bike park in Leipers Fork.

O’Neil says the ultimate aim for the program is to continue to elevate the sport for all county athletes.

“Our goal is to get kids on bikes and help them develop the love for cycling,” she said. “We have had kids that just love to ride, and that is great. We have also had kids reach competitive goals to win state and some receive cycling scholarships.”

Those interested at the high school level can contact O’Neil at kimgo@att.net, and those interested for the middle school team can contact melissal@wcs.edu.

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