Middle school student-athletes may participate in the Arizona League by forming clubs at their schools or practicing with existing registered high school teams. We plan to offer five middle school races during the season. Any middle school race will be middle school appropriate in time, distance, and terrain. Any middle school student-athletes (riders on middle school teams, riders on high school teams or independent riders) who have fully registered and paid fees in the NICA Pit Zone are eligible to compete. Check our main page, Race & Results page and newsletters for updated information.
The Arizona 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 Arizona League Middle School Program
- “Middle School” applies to student-athletes in 6th, 7th and 8th grade in the fall.
- Sixth graders in “elementary school” may participate in middle school programming. Ninth 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 management system the Arizona League uses to collect and track coach / team / rider information (everything from coach training to building rosters to registering student-athletes for events).
- The Arizona League season begins on July 1 and ends two weeks after the final race each year.
Parameters of the Arizona League Middle School Program
- Middle school students may join the Arizona League and participate in one of three ways:
- Join an existing registered Arizona League high school team – Middle school students can join existing Arizona League teams that are registered and have fees paid in the Pit Zone. High school teams accept middle school riders at the team director’s discretion. They are not required to accept middle school riders. Once registered, the middle school student is permitted to practice with the team and will be insured while riding under the supervision of a NICA licensed coach. Check the Arizona League Neighborhood Map for a listing of the existing teams.
- Form a middle school team – Middle schools can form a mountain bike club/team:
- Middle school clubs register their teams with the Arizona League. Email League Director Mike Perry for more information.
- Each student on a middle school club will have to register in Pit Zone.
- 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.
- Independent racers – Middle school students who don’t live near an existing Arizona League high school or middle school team can compete at a middle school race as an Independent racer. Contact League Director Mike Perry for more information.
- Race day medals will be given to the top five finishers for both the boys and girls classes.
- There will be no team scoring for the middle school race; the middle school race will not count towards high school team points.
- 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 (General Volunteer at minimum) to assist in managing middle school programs.
- Strict coaching ratios must be applied when managing middle school practices.
How to Register Middle School Riders
Rider registration is only possible after being invited by a coach or League Director.
- Teams already registered in the Pit Zone can invite new middle school riders to register onto their team by using the “Invite New Riders” feature on the team dashboard.
- Riders receive the invite link via email. To log-in to the Pit Zone system, riders should click on the invite link and set up a login and password as instructed.
- Follow the instructions to register. Fill out all information in its entirety through each screen.
- Each student on a middle school club must pay an annual registration fee.
- Students who want to race will pay a per race (on site registration at the race venue may result in a late fee).
- Proceed to checkout to pay via credit card or check.