Competitive Cycling Picks Up Traction in High Schools Around the State

October 19, 2018 10:23 PM

There's a shift happening in high school sports. A national high school sports survey shows that football, the most played sport, is losing players in Minnesota. But other sports like cycling are finding some serious traction .

The Minnesota High School Cycling League started in 2012. The program is state-wide for student-athletes in middle and high school. It's a league that's grown from just over a hundred riders to over 1,500 riders. Anyone with the league will tell you there's healthy competition in the race series. But what they truly emphasize is getting kids on bikes to enjoy being active, comradery and a healthy dose of fun.


"Unlike other sports, you get to practice but you may not actually get to participate in the game itself if you're not one of the top players. Here, everybody who practices and everyone that show up gets to race, which they love," Armstrong high school Coach Bill Welsh said.

Welsh got involved with the league five years ago. He says training is three days a week and starts in July. The racing season kicks off in August and goes until October. Seven races make up the season. Riders are either on the varsity, junior varsity  or seventh and eighth grade rosters.


Welsh says the club draws a wide variety of kids. Some, like Aryanna Somaiah, started racing a few years ago.

"I got involved because my older brother. He started mountain biking and I was coming to his races and I saw how much fun he was having with everyone else, and that got me into it," she said.

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Aryanna is no slouch. She's killed it in the five races she done this year.

"I've done pretty good," she said "I've been top ten."

Welsh says, the league is much more than just racing.

"Kids are ultimately out here to have fun and have some friends, and that's how we coach them," he said.

There's a total of 57 teams throughout the state of Minnesota. The state championship will be held Oct. 27 and 28, with more than 1,500 riders participating. 

Cycling has gotten so popular that universities and colleges are even offering cycling scholarships. 


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Todd Wilson

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