NorCal League Awards

 

 

Every year, the NorCal High School Cycling League asks registered student-athletes, volunteers, and coaches to nominate their colleagues for a few NorCal League Awards. These awards are not based on athletic performance, but rather on a multitude of other attributes that makes one an incredible teammate, competitor, coach, or team.Please enjoy reading a bit from each of this year’s North and South Conference NorCal League award winners!

 

Soul Rider, South Conference

Enzo Sapojnikoff, Woodside Beasts

 

“If I had to sum up my season, I’d say that I stayed positive and focused on the fun. That allowed me to make some incredible friends, and get a lot closer with my awesome teammates and fellow racers. It also allowed me to eat a lot of Denny’s pancakes and breakfast burritos, which helped keep the stoke high and the wheels rolling. This was a rad season, and I’m beyond hyped for the next one!”

Coach of the Year-South Conference

Nick Hoeper-Tomich, Berkeley High School

 

“It’s been a long road and I am truly humbled to be recognized for this award. Year after year, season after season I have strived to create a cohesive team built on the values of inclusion, fun, and respect–respect for your teammates and fellow mountain bikers, respect for the trails we ride, and respect for the natural world we live in. Berkeley High mountain biking would not be what it is today without the tireless support of our volunteers, ride leaders, coaches, and my wife, and coach, Elise. I am truly surrounded by great people.”

Coach of the Year- North Conference

Sean Robertson, Humboldt Composite

 

“This season has been incredible. Not only because of our results, but more because real growth occurred in our team. We went from 13 to 28 riders, with 17 regularly racing. We incorporated tempo endurance workouts and added a core strength day. Our coaches all grew, taking on all aspects of our program and dramatically improving it with enthusiasm and vibrant energy. That segues to my thoughts on this award, it was a shock because I have had to step back this year for work-related issues and do less than I have in prior years. This award is for our team coaches who have made this team a tremendous community asset and visible manifestation of the NICA and NorCal League mission – to build better humans. Thanks.”

Best Sportsmanship, South Conference

Raffa Motomura, San Francisco Composite

 

“This season has been my favorite season so far, and I really enjoyed the team dynamic, which was so supportive to everyone on the team. I have seen so many acts of kindness from many different people, from small things like giving water to someone who had ran out, to people giving their bike for another person to be able to ride.”

Best Sportsmanship-North Conference

Riley Mullen, A-Team

 

“Thanks for another fun season! It’s been a great year of working hard, setting goals, and overcoming challenges. The best part of the season was making friends with teammates and other athletes I raced with. I was really surprised and honored to receive the sportsmanship award. Thanks to the whole mountain bike community for setting great examples of good sportsmanship for me to follow and pass along.”

NorCal Achievement, South Conference

Brian Kalcic, Black Mountain Composite

 

“Racing for the past four years has by far been the highlight of my high school experience. It has been amazing to be in such a great community doing what I love the most. I am truly honored to receive this award and I am grateful to everyone who supported me along the way!”

NorCal Achievement Award-North Conference

Spencer Stone, Tam High

 

“This season was a special one for sure. Mountain biking has become the biggest part of my life and I am so grateful to have been nominated for this award by my peers. It was a great four years!”

Most Supportive Teammate, South Conference

Allison O’Dell, Salinas High School

 

“This year’s race season would not have been the same without the friendships and support from other teams. Watching someone ride by with a huge smile on their face after us cheering them on makes my day. Stoke Captain, Arann, led us to consistently cheer kids on as loud as we could because we know how motivational it is for us when we’re racing and he’s right there yelling at us.”

Most Supportive Teammate, South Conference

Miranda Urquides, Salinas High School

 

“It has been a honor to be apart of NorCal the past 4 years. This past year I finally got a varsity podium and I just want to thank all the varsity girls for being amazing ladies. I have made so many friends through biking including my best friend, Alison O’Dell. Ever since freshman year we have cheered on every rider from every team and winning the Most Supportive Teammate Award showed how people notice our kind actions and it warms my heart. Thank you NorCal for everything!”

Most Supportive Teammate, North Conference

Kate Benjamin, Redwood High School

 

“I was honored and really surprised to receive the Most Supportive Teammate award! Being a part of the NorCal League these last four years has allowed me to meet so many great individuals who like mountain biking as much as I do. I enjoy helping out the newer riders and make them feel like they are a part of the team.”

Most Supportive Teammate, North Conference

Julia Raddue, Marin Academy

 

“Nothing compares to the times I was supported by the NorCal league. They were there for me when I was first place and when I was almost last place. They were there for me when I came back after a serious injury, when I pushed my bike over the finish line with a broken chain my final race and everything in between. No matter where I placed, I was supported and I felt the love of the entire NorCal League. I am so honored to have received the Most Supportive Teammate award because I strive to embody someone who the NorCal League has taught me to be. They have taught me to be kind to my coaches, my teammates and everyone else that shows up at the starting line because this is what is most important and what makes racing in the high school mountain bike league meaningful and fun!”

Best Team Spirit, South Conference

San Ramon Valley MTB Club

 

“SRV is all about having a safe, fun time on mountain bikes, so our club spirit is all about sharing the stoke about riding, we’re not necessarily about winning races, although that sure helps. Our riders really got into the themed races this year, and with some encouragement and help from our younger (alumni) coaches, earned the League’s award. The coaches and parents couldn’t be more proud of them. Also, we were so impressed by the leadership and enthusiasm that our captains Gabriella Dube and Jaden Davis brought to our club this year. Their mentoring of our younger riders and cheering and support for our racers created great positive team spirit. We certainly felt honored to be recognized by NorCal with the “ Team Spirit Award”, and are looking forward to even more team spirit and enthusiasm next season.” -Bruce Bilodeau and Ken Mozek

Best Team Spirit, North Conference

Granite Bay Grizzlies

 

“This year was such a celebration of community. Starting early in the season, our riders connected both on and off the bike – they had fun, supported each other, and pushed their limits. It was amazing to see what these kids could accomplish as a team. The Granite Bay Grizzlies are blessed to be surrounded by the most awesome parents, ride leaders, and coaches and we are stoked to be chosen for the Spirit Award!” -Jon and Carrie Hyatt

Most Improved, South Conference

Peter Bissell, Woodside Beasts

 

“Training me from a couch potato into a state-qualifying student athlete was no easy task. It required a tremendous amount of work from coaches and teammates who were strong-willed and dedicated to helping me reach my full potential. I appreciate everyone, from the awesome coaches and teammates on the Woodside beasts, to the high schoolers on other teams who pushed me to work my hardest, and especially everyone at NorCal who put forth extensive time and work to make this such a great environment for mountain bike racers.”

Most Improved, North Conference

Mazzy Jones, St. Helena Thunderbirds

 

“This season I realized that one of the best things about racing is the freedom that comes with it, that I’m the only person in charge of my own success. So I just started setting goals. First I wanted to get under 15th, but then that actually happened, so I needed another goal. And then eventually I needed another…and another… It was so gratifying to know that my team and NorCal recognized my hard work.”

Volunteer of the Year, South Conference

Kerri Stoneman

 

“This was one wet & wild season! Wet, because the rain kept a lot of kids off trails until later in the season this year for training and kept the organizers & staff on their toes with prepping race venues and even changing one (successfully, I will add) at the last minute. Wild, because again, all the rain and we’ve had tremendous growth in racers and teams across the league which is amazing and awesome. However, all this growth means a lot more time and resources to make sure everyone (from coaches to racers to volunteers) is safe while at the same time are having a great time doing what they love to do! This is where having enough volunteers on race day is important, and why I do it. I felt a bit embarrassed being recognized for being Volunteer of the Year since there are so many folks helping, but it was very much appreciated! Thank you to all the NorCal League & NICA staff! Cheers to another successful year!”

Volunteer of the Year, North Conference

Amy Benjamin, Redwood High School

 

“I think that mountain biking is one of the best sports around for high schoolers and adults alike. NorCal does an amazing job at creating a supportive and caring community for everyone. I volunteer because I want to help out in any way I can. I love helping Bill with his announcing; he does a fantastic job at making sure everyone is recognized. It is an honor to be recognized because I know there are many volunteers that help the event happen. Thank you.”

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