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With Blue Skies, Over 300 MN High School League Racers Took to Hillside Park in Race 3


With Blue Skies, Over 300 MN High School League Racers Took to Hillside Park in Race 3
Published on October 07, 2013Email To Friend    Print Version

Libby Hurley, MN High School Cycling League
Hillside_Race_1.jpgCould it have been any better? Over 300 high school racers under a cloudless blue sky, with temps in the high 60s; it was a fabulous Race 3 at Hillside Park, in Elk River, Minn. for the MN High School Cycling League’s mountain bike racing program. Hillside’s swoopy singletrack, sneaky uphill, rooty tight turns, and long grassy dual track made for a great day of racing. Smiles on racers, smiles on parents, and the clanging of cowbells as racers sprinted through the infield straight made for another epic day of racing for the MN League - History was made, too!

12 years after the high school mountain bike racing movement began in California, 7th and 8th grade students were allowed to participate in a National Interscholastic Cycle Association-sanctioned (NICA) event and at Hillside Park, 44 Minnesota middle school racers had their own race at Noon, thanks to a Pilot Program approved by the NICA Board of Directors. Using the Prologue portion of the Hillside course, all but 2 middle school racers completed 2 laps in the designated time limitation.

Hillside_Race_2.jpg“Middle school racers tore it up today,” said MN League Director Gary Sjoquist. “We had 7th and 8th graders running lap times that would have been competitive in the Sophomore ranks. No DNFs, no issues, no crashes – these kids can race! What we learned today - as in Nordic skiing, middle schoolers can participate in high school mountain bike races and deserve a chance to become life-long cyclists through NICA participation.”

            Next race, this Saturday (10/13 - Race#4)-White Tail Ridge, River Falls, WI

JV Boys | Hillside Trail Race #3
In the Frosh/Soph Girls class, Cianna Swanson, running as an independent came to the line first, seconds in front of Justice Sahaydak, who earned the Leaders Jersey as the new class leader. Burnsville’s Taylor Horner was third. In JV Girls, Minnetonka’s Sophia Holmes took first, followed by Kalli Opsal and Nicole Jensen, both from the Lakeville team. Varsity Girls was won by Burnsville’s Jordon Horner, with Lakeville’s Libby Endersbe taking second. Rochester’s Claire Ommen put in a strong race to come home in third.

In Boys Frosh, it was Eastview’s Luke Doolittle taking first, followed by Hutchinson’s Trevor Roen. Max Fierek of Duluth was third. Zach Van Sickle took first in Sophomore Boys, with Washburn’s Owen Woodward a few ticks behind in second. Independent rider Noah Halloran took third. JV Boys saw Eastview’s Erik Brekke continue his winning streak, topping Duluth’s Levi Hayden, 2nd, and George Olson, 3rd. In Varsity Boys, Osseo’s Lucas Hieb put in a dominant performance, besting Sam Olson from Duluth and Sean O’Donnell who finished strong to take 3rd.

“Hillside was one more step in our racers’ learning curve,” said Sjoquist. “Course marshals reported a great majority of our racers were able to clear the rooty, rocky short climbs that define Hillside. During tear down, before our Awards Ceremony, I noticed many of our racers were back out on the course – it was just so much fun, they just wanted to keep riding.”

Hillside_Race_3.jpgMN League Director Gary Sjoquist was reflective after Race 3. “We need to acknowledge the effort by our racers,” said Sjoquist. “At varsity cross country or Nordic events, racers are done after maybe 20 minutes of hard effort. Our racers, especially those at the back, are out there pounding out the laps, never complaining or giving up; they just keep on truckin’ to the finish even if it’s close to two hours of racing. It’s sort of a life lesson, I guess, and as parents we couldn’t be prouder. Congratulations to all our racers, no matter where you finished. You rock!”

Race Results and Photos
Preliminary race results are now posted to the site. After the 48 hour time period for protests, we will confirm the final results and post the overall series leaders.
Official Photos - now posted. Photo Credit: Todd Bauer, MN League Official Photographer.

Here Stillwater's own Emmet Nickeson-Ranum (left) and Gary Sjoquist (right) at the Elk River race. Emmet's claim "Though I'm having fun I am number one in pain!"

Individual Race Results:
Freshman/Sophomore Girls:

1. Cianna Swanson - Lakeville Composite
2. Justice Sahaydak -- Washburn Composite
3. Taylor Horner -- Burnsville High School
4. Kayla Egle -- Roseville Area Composite
5. Nikita Finnerty - Crosby-Ironton Composite

Freshman Boys:
1. Luke Doolittle -- Eastview High School
2. Trevor Roen -- Hutchinson High School
3. Max Fierek - Duluth Composite
4. Elliot Forst - Minnetonka High School
5. Wyatt Furois -- Roseville Area Composite

Sophomore Boys:
1. Zach Van Sickle -- Roseville Area Composite
2. Owen Woodward - Washburn Composite
3. Noah Halloran - Independent
4. Cullen Bode -- Washburn Composite
5. Justin Markuson -- Independent

Junior Varsity Girls:
1. Sophia Holmes - Minnetonka High School
2. Kalli Opsal -- Lakeville North & South Composite
3. Nicole Jensen -- Lakeville North & South Composite
4. Claire Dirnberger -- Hopkins High School
5. Alexis Sommers-Getty - Crosby-Ironton Composite

Junior Varsity Boys:
1. Erik Brekke -- Eastview High School
2. Levi Hayden - Duluth Composite
3. George Olson - Duluth Composite
4. Liam Franken -- Rochester Composite
5. Jakob Braun -- Prior Lake High School

Varsity Girls:
1. Jordan Horner -- Burnsville High School
2. Libbey Endersbe -- Lakeville North & South Composite
3. Claire Ommen -- Rochester Composite
4. Carley Endersbe -- Lakeville North & South Composite
5. Caitlin Juvland -- Apple Valley High School

Varsity Boys:
1. Lucas Heib -- Osseo Area Composite
2. Samuel Olson - Duluth Composite
3. Sean O'Donnell -- Rochester Composite
4. Ethan Furois -- Roseville Area Composite
5. Sam Gobllirsch -- Mayo High School

Team Race Results:
1. Duluth Composite
2. Rochester Composite
3. Roseville Area Composite

Middle School Girls
1. Anna Christian - Ramsey
2. Moriah Johnson - Duluth
3. Hannah Brown - Stillwater
4. Katia Swanson - Independent
5. Sydney Carlson - Falcon Ridge

Middle School Boys
1. Zach Smith - Prior Lake
2. Kyle Hermann - Rosemount
3. Jon Busse - Stillwater
4. Stephen Hatt - Independent
5. Henry Hall - Ramsey

2013 MN High School Cycling League venues and dates:
9/8 - Race #1 - Salem Hills, Inver Grove Heights, MN
9/21 - Race #2 - Jail Trail, St. Cloud, MN
9/29 - Race #3 - Hillside Park, Elk River, MN 
10/13 - Race  (This Saturday)  #4 - White Tail Ridge, River Falls, WI
10/27 - Race #5 - State Championships: Mt. Kato, Mankato, MN
11/2 - Season Awards Banquet

Additional Race and MN League Information
MN League website:
MN League Facebook page:
MN League Twitter:
About the Minnesota High School Cycling League
The Minnesota High School Cycling League, founded in 2011, serves all Minnesota high school-aged students, and regardless of ability level, is committed to providing a positive co-ed cycling experience. New for 2013, the MN League launched Crank Sisters, an outreach program established to recruit girls to race and women to become licensed coaches in the MN League. Each MN League season includes summer camps, a five-race series, wilderness first aid certification courses and a Spring Leaders’ Summit for training and certification of coaches. The MN League exists by virtue of a range of fundraising activities, as well as generous donors, and MN League sponsors including the founding national sponsor, Specialized Bicycle Components; as well as establishing NICA sponsors Easton Foundations, SRAM, and Trek Bicycles; major sponsors Sho-Air, Clif Bar and Company, Clif Bar Foundation, Primal Wear, Quality Bicycle Products, GU Sports, Kinetic, Maxxis, CamelBak, Feedback Sports, Fort Lewis College, Fox Racing Shox, and Ritchey Designs; media partners Mountain Bike Action, Dirt Rag, Mountain Bike Review, Switchback and Cyclingnews. MN League specific sponsors include Founding Retailers Penn Cycle and Erik’s Bike and Board Shop, Mt Borah, Life Time Cycle, Karma Race Management, AAA Minneapolis, HealthPartners Orthopedic and Sports Medicine, Muscle Milk, the Minnesota Mountain Bike Series, Park Tool, Peace Coffee Racing Team, Salsa, Ipsity Marketing, Random Bikes, and Valley Bike and Ski. For more information on the MN League, visit


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January 13, 2014