VALHALLA – On Sunday, April 23, the Galena Growlers middle/high school mountain bike team traveled down to Valhalla, NY to the EF Academy for its first of five National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) New York League mountain bike races for the 2023 Spring Season.
Head coach Rob Baker said of the race, “Not bad overall for the nasty weather and conditions we encountered Sunday on a course that had many mud spots (it rained hard Saturday night and through the morning on Sunday) and greasy corners on an approximately 3.5 mile race course. All our Growler kids did great today!”
Middle schoolers all race individually, so there’s no team score. For the high school team, the top four points scorers are added up for the total team score. The Growlers took only five high schoolers down for the race. There are teams of 25 kids, teams of 40 kids, some teams have 60 kids from the bigger city areas like Albany, Syracuse, and New York City. The Growlers team is small compared to these teams, but they pack a good competitive punch.
Eight local kids traveled to the other side of Hudson for this race. For three of the eight, it was their first ever mountain bike race, but they were excited.
“All our kids finished. Whenever that happens it’s a success,” head coach Rob Baker said, “No one got hurt, especially in these conditions – another check in the success box! Kids smiled and enjoyed life – Huge success! They all can’t wait for the next race!”
“The local community should be proud of these hard-working kids. In my opinion, there’s no other sport that is as tough (both mentally and physically) as this NICA mountain biking sport is out there for kids between sixth grade to 12th grade. It’s pure GRIT that these kids have,” head coach Rob Baker said.
If you see a Growler out riding around town – give them a shout – or a honk!! If you want to know more about the Galena Growlers, contact head coach Rob Baker at GalenaGrowlers@gmail.com
The Growlers will be in action on May 7 in the Mountain Hugger XC at Walnut Mountain in Liberty NY.
For the full 2023 Race schedule go to: https://newyorkmtb.org/race-series/
-Information from the Galena Growlers
Sixth grade boys - Malakai Hagenbuch (#5006) in seventh place
Sixth grade girls - McKenzie Hagenbuch (#6009) in sixth place
Eighth grade Boys - Amon Oliver (#1007) in eighth place
Freshman boys - Alex Dennis (#602) finishing in 21st
JV Boys – Charlie Sheldon (#803) bringing home a strong 20th place finish
JV Girls - Emma Brooks (#302) taking eighth place. Madison Breckenridge (#316) in 11th place.
The Growlers lone varsity boys rider, Drew Brooks (#100) took a podium finish in third place.
The Growlers ended the day in seventh place overall heading into race number two.