Middle School Program

The 2017 SoCal League Middle School Program

Overview:  The SoCal League will be running a middle school program during the spring 2017 season.

Middle School Program Overview:

For the 2017 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 4 middle school races during the season (Saturdays at race #2, 3, 4, and 5). 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 are eligible to compete. Check our main page, race page, and newsletters for updated information as it becomes available.

The SoCal League’s middle school program is designed to introduce 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 2017 SoCal League Middle School Program:

  • “Middle School” applies to student-athletes in 6th, 7th and 8th grade in the Spring of 2017.
    • 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 tailored to 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 2017 season ends May 31, 2017.

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 either $250 or $375 (depending on coach certifications) to register their teams with the SoCal League. Team registration will open October 3, 2016. 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 $40 Annual 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 $25 per race (if paid online in the Pit Zone before the Monday night ahead of race weekend) or $35 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 $40 Annual Fee has been paid, will pay $25 per race (if paid online in the Pit Zone before the Monday night ahead of race weekend) or $35 per race (if paid on site at the race venue the day of the race). A middle school student wishing to race all four races in the series will pay a total of $140 ($40 for season registration and $25 per race for four races if pre-registering).

Other Middle School Program Parameters:

For 2017 the category definitions are as follows:

  • Race categories for middle school races are age/experience appropriate and include both boys and girls fields and categories as follows:
      • For racers who finished in the top 10 in a Novice Boys 6th grade race, top 20 in a Novice Boys 7th grade race, or top 10 in a Novice Girls race at a SoCal League middle school race in 2016 (2016 Results Here) — OR
      • Are Cat 1 mountain bikers in USA Cycling competition — OR
      • Are Cat 2 mountain bikers who regularly finish top 3 in fields of 10 or more riders — OR
      • Compete at a high level in road racing or cyclocross
      • NOTE: Once you race EXPERIENCED you may NOT race NOVICE without permission of the League Director. SoCal League middle school racing is competitive. If you do not meet one of the above criteria, please race NOVICE first. If you find you want to race the rest of the season as EXPERIENCED we will get you a new plate and you can race EXPERIENCED.
    • NOVICE
      • For racers who do not meet one of the above criteria.
      • Novice Boys is broken into Novice Boys 6th grade,  Novice Boys 7th grade, and Novice Boys 8th grade.
    • Please look for emails asking for you to declare Novice or Experienced to help us assign plates ahead of the first race.
    • 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 for both the boys and girls classes.
    • 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, 1-2 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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