The Northern California High School Mountain Bike Racing League (NorCal League) will launch the Southern California Interscholastic Cycling League (SoCal League) for the 2009 academic year, with grant support from the Easton Sports Development Foundation II (ESDF II). The new league is based on the successful model of the NorCal League, now in its eighth year, with 400 high schoolers, 150 coaches, and 35 schools involved.
Matt Fritzinger, executive director of both leagues, said, "We are tremendously grateful for the generosity of Mr. Easton and his foundation. The grant allows us to launch a new league, and that has been a dream of ours for several years. With the SoCal League, we'll be fostering the same values of life-long physical fitness, community, and self-confidence combined with athletic competition that has been so successful in Northern California."
Jim Easton, President of Easton Sports Development Foundation II, which provides grant support to a range of youth sports, said, "Sports have been very good to me throughout my life, and my hope is to help provide sporting opportunities to young people everywhere. We feel that a great place to start creating those opportunities is right here in Southern California."
The ESDFII was set up in 2006 and plans to give back to the development of the four sports for which the Easton Companies developed innovative equipment: archery, softball and baseball, hockey and cycling. The SoCal League is one of the first few recipients of an ESDF II grant in part because of the proposal's emphasis on coaching, community, and making cycling a mainstream high school sport.
"We know that good coaching means working closely with families, and helping athletes create a balanced life perspective. We aim to take the SoCal high school mountain bike teams in the same direction as we have in Northern California working to make cycling as important as baseball, football and soccer in the fabric of our high schools," said Fritzinger.
The SoCal League will draw from the NorCal League's pool of experience, human resources, equipment and technology while it gets established. It's schedule will include a winter-spring five-race series, including participation with NorCal riders in the May state championships; a fall coaching conference; rider training camps; an annual benefit gala (tentatively planned for November 22 at Ca Del Sole and hosted by mountain bike pioneer Gary Fisher); and promotional outreach events at bicycle stores and pre-existing cycling events.
For more information, visit www.socaldirt.org