Monday, October 1, 2018

Crank it UP! SoMont Youth MTB Team Performs Strong at First Event of 2018 Season

On Sunday September 23rd, 30 local MontCo-based youth mountain bike athletes performed strong at the first race of the 2018 Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League's season -- Grinnin' at Granite Hill event in Gettysburg, PA.

Photo credit: Brian Wasson
The SoMont roster includes local interscholastic athletes competing together, on one team, against other state-wide interscholastic cycling athletes and teams. SoMont youth athletes from Abington, Cheltenham, Jenkintown, Lower Moreland, Upper Dublin & Springfield squared up against athletes from across the state -- NE Philly, NEPA, Lehigh Valley, Great Valley and more, even as far away as Pittsburgh and Centre County! Over 450 youth athletes from grades 6 thru 12 competed in the event.

Wet conditions at the Gettysburg course, a new venue for the state-wide league, didn't dampen the mood of any athlete. The course was challenging -- muddy, slippery and a bit cool. But the athletes persevered, some taking the podium.

SoMont had 11 top 10 finishers and 4 podiums out of the 30 SoMont athletes who competed in the event.

Elkins Park Middle School athletes from Glenside, Cheltenham Township took 2nd and 4th in the 6th grade boys classification. This was the first mountain bike race for both boys!

Cheltenham Township scored another podium from a 10th grader with his 3rd place finish in the JV3 (one step down from Varsity) boys category. SoMont's podium was rounded out with a 3rd place finish by a Springfield High School athlete in the boys Freshman category. See podium photos below.

Head Coach John Raisch, a local Wyncote resident and 2016 team founder, couldn't be more proud of the team. "NICA, the national program teaches 'Strong Mind, Strong Body and Strong Character' along with mountain bike skills and endurance -- our team showed all of this and more this weekend. The conditions were tough, but we were tougher!"

Photo credit: Brian Wasson
NICA, the National Interscholastic Cycling League, is the governing body of the PA league as well as 20 other state-level interscholastic mountain biking leagues. NICAs program also stresses Inclusivity and Equality in their sport. SoMont Youth MTB is co-ed, with 8 females on the team of 40 youth athletes.

This weekend October 5 and 6 SoMont is headed to Johnstown PA for their second race of the season. SoMont will be Fair Hill MD, Pittsburg and Allentown PA to continue the season.

For more information, visit our website at


Founded in 2009, the National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) develops interscholastic mountain biking programs for student-athletes across the United States. NICA provides leadership, services and governance for local leagues to produce quality mountain bike events, and supports every student-athlete in the development of strong body, strong mind and strong character through their efforts on the bike.

The Pennsylvania Interscholastic Cycling League (PICL) is a non-profit 501(c)3 NICA Project League. The league was organized in 2014 with the goal to provide fun, safe, and competitive mountain biking opportunities for middle (grades 6-8) & high school students in the Commonwealth.

SoMont Cycling Youth MTB Team is a PICL sanctioned composite team, organized in 2016.  It is an independent youth mountain bike team in the Cheltenham, Abington, Rockledge, Lower Moreland, Upper Dublin and Springfield areas of southern Montgomery County. The goal of SoMont Youth MTB is to introduce boys and girls (6th to 12th grade) to the sport of mountain biking and to help them use the sport as a way of developing a new life-long athletic interest.  The team and coaching philosophy is to use cycling, and the mountain bike itself, as a way-of-thinking to transport our riders to a sense of adventure, exploration, excitement, friendship and good health.

Pennypack Park Pine Rd Cleanup

On Saturday Sept 29 before we hit the trails at Pennypack the team did a cleanup. The team picked 2 full bags of litter from the park. The time spent will be logged toward our Team Trail Corp credits.