Middle School Program

The 2018 SoCal League Middle School Program Overview:

For the 2018 season, middle school student-athletes may participate in the SoCal League by forming clubs at their schools, practicing with existing registered high school teams, or participating independently. We will offer 5 middle school races during the season. Middle school racing takes place Saturday afternoon on race weekends (high school racing takes place Sunday on race weekends). Middle school races will be middle school appropriate in time, distance, and terrain. Any middle-school student-athletes (independent riders, riders on high school teams, or riders on middle school teams) who have fully registered and paid fees in the NICA Pit Zone (“Practice Ready”) are eligible to compete. Check our main page, 2018 Race Page, and newsletters for updated information as it becomes available.

The SoCal League’s middle school program is aimed at introducing middle school aged riders to the sport of mountain biking focused heavily on skills, fun, fitness, and NICA’s “Spirit of Howdy” with a taste of the competitive aspects of mountain biking they will find when in high school minus the additional pressures when team scoring and season overall standings are applied.

Definitions for the 2018 SoCal League Middle School Program:

  • “Middle School” applies to student-athletes in 6th, 7th and 8th grade in the Spring of 2018.
    • 6th graders in “elementary school” may participate in middle school programming. 9th graders in a “middle school” or “junior high school” compete in the freshman category at the high school level.
  • Middle school specific racing will occur on courses appropriate for middle school riders.
  • NICA Pit Zone is the online data base system the SoCal League uses to collect information, league fees, and race fees (www.socaldirt.org – go to Pit Zone).
  • The SoCal League 2018 season ends May 31, 2018.

Parameters of the SoCal League Middle School Program:  Middle school students may join the SoCal League and participate in one of three ways:

  1. As part of a Middle School Club under the leadership of a NICA licensed coach. A middle school club may be officially affiliated with a school or may be outside of school in similar format to a composite club as defined in the NICA rulebook;
  2. As an Independent Rider with no team or school affiliation; or
  3. As a member of an existing registered SoCal League High School Team.

The details for these options are as follows:

  1. Middle School Club – Middle Schools can form a Mountain Bike Club/Team:
    • Middle school clubs pay $50 to register their teams with the SoCal League. Team registration will open October 2, 2017. Email League Director Matt Gunnell at matt@socaldirt.org for more information.
    • Middle school clubs, once registered in Pit Zone and having received their insurance policies, can begin practices.
    • Each student on a middle school club will have to register in the Pit Zone and pay a $60 Registration Fee.
    • Once a club is registered and its participants have submitted completed waivers and paid their fees, insurance will be in effect for the practices held during the season.
    • Students who want to race will pay $30 per race (if paid online in the Pit Zone before the Monday night ahead of race weekend) or $40 per race (if paid on site at the race venue the day of the race).
  2. Independent Racers – Middle school students who don’t live near an existing SoCal League high school or middle school team can compete at a middle school race as an Independent racer. Contact League Director Matt Gunnell at matt@socaldirt.org for more information.
  3. Joining an Existing Registered SoCal League Team – Middle school students can join existing SoCal League teams that are registered and have fees paid in the Pit Zone. High school teams accept middle school riders at their discretion. They are not required to accept middle school riders. 

Fee for middle school races: Middle school students, once the $60 Annual Fee has been paid, will pay $30 per race (if paid online in the Pit Zone before the Monday night ahead of race weekend) or $40 per race (if paid on site at the race venue the day of the race). A middle school student wishing to race all five races in the season will pay a total of $210 ($60 for season registration and $30 per race for four races if pre-registering).

Other Middle School Program Parameters:

2018 Middle School Placement

For the 2018 season, SoCal League middle school Categories are broken into Levels 1, 2, and 3 for each grade (6th, 7th, and 8th) and gender (male and female). Some categories are combined into single fields. Each resultant field has its own start time and podium for awards. For the 2018 season the fields are:

  • Girls Level 1, grades 6-8
  • Girls Level 2, grades 6-8
  • Girls Level 3, grades 7/8
  • Boys Level 1, grade 6
  • Boys Level 1, grade 7
  • Boys Level 1, grade 8
  • Boys Level 2, grades 6/7
  • Boys Level 2, grade 8
  • Boys Level 3, grades 7/8

Category placement for 2018 is based on individual results obtained during SoCal League middle school competition during the spring 2017 season. All student-athletes who have not raced in the SoCal League shall, absent an approved petition, compete at Level 1. Following are the placement criteria based on 2017 SoCal League results. All results described are for the rider’s best finish of the 2017 season amongst the total number of starters (not finishers) and the grade mentioned is the rider’s 2018 grade level.

  • Girl grade 7 who finished any Novice race in the top 35% goes to Girls Level 3, grades 7/8
  • Girl grade 7 who finished any Novice race between 36-75% goes to Girls Level 2, grades 6-8
  • Girl grade 7 who finished any Novice race lower than 75% goes to Girls Level 1, grades 6-8
  • Girl grade 8 who finished any Novice race in the top 35% goes to Girls Level 3, grades 7/8
  • Girl grade 8 who finished any Novice race between 36-75% goes to Girls Level 2, grades 6-8
  • Girl grade 8 who finished any Novice race lower than 75% goes to Girls Level 1, grades 6-8
  • Girl in grades 7 or 8 that competed Experienced goes to Girls Level 3, grades 7/8
  • Boy grade 7 who finished any Novice 6 race in the top 10% goes to Boys Level 3, grades 7/8
  • Boy grade 7 who finished any Novice 6 race between 11-80% goes to Boys Level 2, grades 6/7
  • Boy grade 7 who finished any Novice 6 race lower than 80% goes to Boys Level 1, grade 7
  • Boy grade 8 who finished any Novice 7 race in the top 20% goes to Boys Level 3, grades 7/8
  • Boy grade 8 who finished any Novice 7 race between 11-80% goes to Boys Level 2, grade 8
  • Boy grade 8 who finished any Novice 7 race lower than 80% goes to Boys Level 1, grade 8
  • Boy in grades 7 or 8 that competed Experienced goes to Boys Level 3, grades 7/8

Riders with significant outside racing experience and results MAY, with coach approval if on a team or with parent/guardian approval if independent, submit a petition to the SoCal Rules Committee asking to race at a higher level. However, we strongly encourage riders to do their first race at the prescribed level before submitting a petition because once a petition is approved to race “up,” a subsequent petition to race back “down” is unlikely to be approved.

  • Please look for emails asking for you to declare the field you will be racing in to help us assign plates ahead of the first race as your only option when registering in the Pit Zone is “middle school.”
  • Please report to Race Registration at your first race if you have not declared your field so you can declare and get the appropriate plate. If you do not change fields you will use the same plate the entire series.
  • Race day medals will be give to the top five finishers every field.
  • There will be no team scoring for the middle school race.
  • Number plates for middle school races can be picked up at the Registration Tent at the first race a rider participates in.
  • Middle school programs shall focus on fun, skills, fitness, and etiquette as primary and competition as secondary.
  • Middle school club practices need not occur 3-4 times per week, 2 times per week is acceptable and appropriate.
  • Middle school student parents are strongly encouraged to obtain NICA coach licenses to assist in managing middle school programs.
  • Strict coaching ratios must be applied when managing middle school practices.
     
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