BY MADELINE WILSON —
The mountain bike team hopes to kick off their season on July 2 with more female athletes.“One of the struggles the team has is we are struggling to get more female athletes involved,” said Stephen Van Dorn, coach. “It is one of the pushes that we are having this year,”
Sydney Shimko, professional mountain bike coach, coached a few seminars with the team last season.“We are hoping to recruit her as a full time coach,” Van Dorn said. “We are hoping that will get more female athletes interested in riding,”
Ava Miller, senior, was one of two girls on the team last year. She and other team members are working to recruit female athletes.
“I’ve definitely reached out to girls that I’ve played soccer with or that I do other sports with or just walking around school,” Miller said. “This summer we are hoping to get girls together and just go on some fun rides. We don’t even have to do mountain biking on the trails. I think the best way we are going to do it is get people on bikes and see how much fun it is to ride with the team and hang out every day.”
Miller thinks more girls will join the team this coming season.“We had our kick off where we got together and talked about the team and there [were] five girls and there is usually two girls,” Miller said. “It was awesome.”
One unique feature of the team is that it is comprised of intermediate school students along with high school students.
“I think it is really awesome how we have seventh graders all through twelfth graders,” Miller said. “Half the time I don’t even know what grades kids are in, and I still don’t just because of how well we melt together. I think it is super cool how we do that and help to carry that forward.”
Although the team is made up of experienced and beginner athletes, a variety of ages and is coed. Van Dorn describes the team as an encouraging unit.
“If you put them in a group, you couldn’t tell the elite racers from the novice racers,” Van Dorn said. “Everybody is part of the group and included and extremely supportive of each other.”
The team is looking forward to using the trails in Estabrook Park to practice skills.“We don’t really have mountain bike trails to ride on in the area,” Van Dorn said. “So our upcoming season will be the first year when we’ve worked with Milwaukee County parks and the Friends of Estabrook Park to get permitted to ride on the hiking trails in Estabrook Park.”
“I think it will help the team because we can’t do technical skills because the river trails aren’t legal mountain bike trails for us to be on as a team,” Miller said. “I think it will help with technical skills. We can all go as a team, learning how to take turns, avoid trees and stuff like that.”