Auburn park hosts Alabama Interscholastic Cycling State Championship on Sunday

Auburn park hosts Alabama Interscholastic Cycling State Championship on Sunday

AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - For the second year, the Alabama Interscholastic Cycling Association State Championship took place on Sunday.

Sunday's event was the first hosted at Chewacla State Park in Auburn.  Alabama is one of 19 states across the country that offers mountain biking to high school students. They are also only one of two that offer it to middle school students.

Every camp site in Chewacla State Park was occupied this weekend to watch both the high school and middle school teams compete. There were over 290 riders from across the state that made it to Auburn to look to be crowned state champion.

This was the sixth event the National Interscholastic Cycling Association has hosted in Alabama this year, but none were as anticipated as this one. Athletes competed in six different races, group by their grades, scoring points for each individual races.

At the end of the weekend there were over 20 state champions crowned, both men and women from sixth to the 12th grade. 

Only in its second year, mountain biking has begun to sky rocket in popularity. Organizers from Pennsylvania and Arkansas were at Chewlacla to train to bring the National Interscholastic Cycling Association to their respective states.

Philip Darden, the President of Central Alabama Mountain Peddlers and the President of Alabama State Parks Partners, was thrilled to bring the  Alabama
Interscholastic Cycling Association State Championship to Chewacla.

"It makes cycling legitimate, it makes the sport of mountain biking a legitimate sport for our high schools. And it is going to continuously grow the availability, both by trails and by riders in Alabama," said Darden.

Jacob Smith is a 9th grader competing with Cheaha Mountain Bike Racing Team, this is the second year he has competed in the Alabama Interscholastic Cycling Association State Championship.

Jacob was asked about the new sport and why he believes high school kids should give mountain biking a chance.

"Just try it, if your heart tells you no than it wasn't meant to be," Jacob said. "This is different because no one sits on the bench everybody rides, and it is just a good fellowship with all of your friends."  

Mountain biking is a growing sport that will be available to high school students in 21 states across the country by the spring of 2017.

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