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Four high school girls selected for Mata's Temecula team

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Camilla Fernandez Arredondo

Camilla Fernandez Arredondo
(Image credit: Team Sho-Air / Specialized)
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Ksenia Lepikhina

Ksenia Lepikhina
(Image credit: Team Sho-Air / Specialized)
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Liz Duchetta from the San Gabriel Valley Composite Team

Liz Duchetta from the San Gabriel Valley Composite Team
(Image credit: Danielle Smeltzer)
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Ellen Noble

Ellen Noble
(Image credit: Team Sho-Air / Specialized)
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Pua Mata at dusk just before "lights on"

Pua Mata at dusk just before "lights on"
(Image credit: Drew Greer)
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Women’s 3-day leader Monique Pua Mata (Sho-Air/Specialized) rode the first stage of the 3-day race extremely fast.

Women’s 3-day leader Monique Pua Mata (Sho-Air/Specialized) rode the first stage of the 3-day race extremely fast.
(Image credit: Kevin Kane)

Pua Mata (Team ShoAir) has selected four young women for her five-person women's team for next weekend's 12 Hours of Temecula race. The pro endurance racer had run a contest for high school girls who mountain bike. The US Pro UET champion sorted through the many entries, narrowing her selection down to one rider from each high school year.

"To my surprise, I began receiving entries from across the country and as each day passed, not only did I realize that I was doing the right thing, I realized the predicament that I was putting myself into," said Mata. "Every entry and every girl was amazing in her own unique way. They each had a story and they each wanted it more or just as much as the other and I had no idea how I was going to decide."

The team includes freshman Ksenia Lepikhina from Fairview High School in Boulder, Colorado; sophomore Ellen Noble from Kennebunk High School in Kennebunkport, Maine; junior Camilla Fernandez Arredondo from Eastlake High School in Chula Vista, California; and senior Elizabeth Duchetta from Glendora High School, California.

"My intention of this contest wasn't to create a killer team that would be rippin' up the course and taking everyone down. The intention was and is to bring awareness to all girls out there from every walk of life and level and show them how awesome we are and what we can do if we just try. I felt that by calling on all high school girls and giving them an opportunity to join another force of girls who love to get out, have fun, get dirty and ride bikes it would encourage them to get out and try or at the least...begin to think about it."

The team will race this coming weekend at the Vail Lake Resort in Temecula, California from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm.