Message from Lisa Miller

 

Coaches, Parents and Riders of the Washington League,

It is with great excitement and enthusiasm that I write this letter to you, the important people that make up the cohesive community of the Washington League.

Many of you may have read the announcement that I have recently been hired by Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance as the Director of the new Washington Student League. This is exciting news on many levels, but most importantly because this means we can develop a more comprehensive youth mountain bike program that is tailored to Washington State and will reach a broader audience.

WHY A NEW LEAGUE
During the two years following the launch of the Washington High School Cycling League in 2010, we discovered an overwhelming demand for a mountain bike program that includes not only high school aged athletes, but also younger students. Additionally, we saw the need and the benefit of a program that focuses not only on racing and competition, but does more to empower our student athletes to be leaders within their team, their school and their community, and to be stewards of the our trails, forest, and environment.

Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance has a long history of community involvement in stewardship work and the organization is growing; they recently launched several chapters across Washington State. A league under the Evergreen organization allows us to expand the program to middle school, incorporate a new student leadership component, and help spread awareness of youth mountain biking further across our state – all of which contribute to a much stronger and more sustainable program.

Click here to read the official announcement and learn more about Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance.

WHAT ABOUT NICA
The National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) is a sanctioning body for high school racing in a number of states.  Unfortunately, under the current NICA mission and rules our expanded program would not be allowed. However, we would like you to know that the Washington Student League and NICA are committed to continuing discussions aimed at developing a mutually supportive relationship in the future.

HOW WILL THE NEW LEAGUE BE DIFFERENT
Much of the program will look and feel the same. The same high quality mountain bike race events that meet stringent safety guidelines will be offered in the spring. We will still offer a fall/winter Coaching Conference. And we will still have coaching licensing requirements for team volunteers. I have personally talked with all team directors and they were excited by the opportunities of the new program and committed to continuing coaching their respective teams.

Some of the differences will be:
·      A new name, logo, and website. Check out www.washingtonleague.org.
·      We will be operating under the Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance’s non-profit 501(c)(3) status.
·      We will have both middle school teams and high school teams.
·      We will encourage “regional” or community-based teams with distinct boundaries. This also includes new rules for home school student participation.
·      Early in 2013 we will offer a Student Leadership Summit.
·      In the summer, we will be offering a Student Summer Camp and Coaches Retreat.

OUR MISSION
·      Create safe, accessible riding opportunity for students grades 7 through 12.
·      Foster a sense of teamwork, stewardship, leadership and mentorship with participating students.
·      Encourage healthy lifestyle habits through physical fitness and positive outdoor experiences.
·      Provide coaching and skills to help students achieve competitive and non-competitive goals in mountain biking
·      Create an environment fostering camaraderie and responsibility

IMPORTANT THINGS TO NOTE
·      The new website is www.washingtonleague.org
·      My new email address is lisa@evergreenmtb.org
·      Join our Facebook page to stay most updated about the league:https://www.facebook.com/washingtonmtb
·      Registration for teams, coaches and riders will open on 12/3/12. Once registration is complete, teams will receive their certificate of insurance and practice may then commence.
·      Coaching conference date to be announced soon.

I am delighted to have the opportunity to continue working to create a sustainable mountain bike program for student athletes across our state. Our league name may have changed, but the same passionate people behind the league and our community remain the same.

As always, thank you for your continued support! It is an honor for me to be part of the Washington Student League family and join Evergreen Mountain Bike Alliance to continue helping create new cycling opportunities in our state.

Warm regards,
Lisa Miller
Director, Evergreen Washington Student League

  1. John Mackey December 18, 2012

    So does this mean that Washington will not be included in the leagues that go to nationals? It seems like departing from NICA sacrifices a great deal of our state’s “legitimacy” which is truly a shame.

    • Washington League December 18, 2012

      “Nationals” is a USA Cycling event, not a NICA event. The last race of the Washington Student League series is a USAC qualifying event, which means that by participating you do qualify to go to Nationals.