Specialized Student Athlete Leadership Award

The Specialized Student Athlete Leadership Award honors student athletes who have demonstrated outstanding leadership, sportsmanship, academic performance and volunteerism in their team, school and community.

Will Curtis

The male award recipient is Will Curtis, who graduated from the NorCal League’s San Rafael High School in 2010. As a freshman in 2007, Will started his own mountain biking team at San Rafael High School. He recruited the riders, solicited the school for approval to start a team, then asked his father to Coach the team. The following year San Rafael High School won the State Championship, and remained on the Div. 1 team podium for three years straight. In his first year of racing he wore the Leaders Jersey into the JV State Championships, two years later he was selected by the USAC to race in Europe, and last season Will became the NICA California State Champion and represented the USA juniors at the World Championships. Will has maintained a stellar GPA and won the Horton Scholarship at his high school for Top Scholar Athlete (these days cyclists can beat out football players).

Sophia Hamilton

The female award recipient is Sofia Hamilton, who developed into a strong racer while spearheading her team’s enthusiasm and camaraderie. She represents what the NorCal League hopes for in a strong student athlete. She is her team’s captain, has organized girls rides, volunteered to help out with registration at races, CycleFest and fundraising for her Sir Francis Drake High School team. She is also student directing the Wade Thomas school plays, and she is a teachers assistant at the Swedish school in San Rafael. Sofia had top SAT scores and GPA, ranking 2nd in her class, all the while maintaining three jobs throughput the year including tutoring students in math, being a lifeguard and babysitting.

Trek All Star Student Athlete Award

The All Star Student Athlete Award recognizes athletes for their outstanding competitive achievements and potential for future success in competitive cycling.

Zach Valdez

Our male Trek All-Star Athlete Award recipient is Zach Valdez, who hails from the SoCal League. He won the Varsity series as a junior in 2009. He also won the Varsity series as a senior in 2010 before battling to a sprint finish placing him 2nd at the State Championships. In addition to being a great rider — Zach is a GREAT ambassador for the program! He is continuing with racing at the highest level but he is extremely humble and never talks negatively about his competitors. Zach graduated Hemet High School in June 2010 and is now back coaching as a ride leader while pursuing a mechanical engineering degree.

Lindsay Dye

Our female Trek All-Star Athlete Award recipient is Lindsay Dye from the Colorado League. Lindsay graduated from Broomfield High School in May 2011. Lindsay has been racing mountain bikes since 2007 and she won the Varsity series in 2010. Despite 2 broken collarbones in successive seasons, she returned to the sport stronger and more motivated. She welcomes new riders and makes it her mission to be a friendly and gracious competitor. Lindsay is the first to say “Good luck” at the start line and “Great race” at the finish to fellow competitors. She raced as an independent yet generously shared her knowledge of racing while training with the neighboring Boulder High team. Lindsay will continue her racing career and study physical therapy the Northern Arizona University Flagstaff.

Distinguished Alumni Award

Emma Worldpeace

The Fort Lewis College Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a student athlete alum who has carried on the spirit of the League beyond his or her high school years. Our award recipient Emma Worldpeace was a NorCal stalwart during her high school racing and was responsible for the growth of her Humboldt based high school team. Since winning the varsity series and graduating, she studied and graduated from UC Berkeley where she raced mountain bikes and volunteered for the Berkeley High Team. Since college graduation, she has raced for the semi-pro Lost Coast Racing Team and provided much needed counseling services for rural and disadvantaged youth in northern California.

SRAM Coach of the Year Award

The SRAM Coach of the Year Award acknowledges a head coach whose qualities as a leader and motivator embodies NICA’s mission to provide student athletes with the coaching and camaraderie to help them achieve both competitive and non-competitive goals in a safe and enjoyable manner.

Paul Chourre

Paul Chourre, head coach of the NorCal League’s Sir Francis Drake High School had a son in the league who graduated three years ago, but that didn’t dampen his drive to keep the Drake program running strong. Paul is one of the longest serving coaches in the NorCal League and has seen his team to more state championships than any other coach. His team is also the very largest NICA team by a wide margin. He has said he’d like to keep coaching the Drake team until he dies, and we wish Paul many more decades of trail riding with the team.

Ben Boyer

Coach Ben Boyer, head coach from the Colorado League’s Boulder High School lead the Boulder team to sweep the Colorado 2010 series. Coach Boyer also provides professional and constructive feedback to the state organization. He coalesced the largest team, modeled and reinforced League rules, and demonstrated exceptional positive coaching attributes. The Boulder High riders exhibited solid camaraderie and friendly competition every race. Ben has also solicited a large base of community and parental support.

Lee Bird

Head Coach Lee Bird of the SoCal League founded one of the first SoCal League clubs at St. Francis High School. Lee has created a model program that has truly integrated not only the students but their families! Many parents are now involved as coaches and the club had its own table of coaches at the Leaders’ Summit! The club has grown from a group of about 10 in year one to nearly 30 in year 3. The club has exceedingly strong school spirit and their Pit Zone area is the envy of many a club due to its pride, spirit, crowd, and FOOD! Lee has always been willing to do extra work and has served on various League committees. His dedication to his club is remarkable.

Clif Bar & Company Volunteer Service Award

The Clif Bar & Company Volunteer Service Award honors an exceptional volunteer with 3+ years of commitment whose dedication of time, expertise and enthusiasm goes above and beyond to make a difference in the organization.

Mark Kintz

Mark Kintz joined the NorCal League upon its inception and has provided accounting oversight for nearly a decade and has been instrumental in steering policies ranging from racing rules to risk management. Since 2004, as Matt Fritzinger wrestled with the growing pains of a fast growing organization, Mark was never more than a phone call away from offering advice or just an ear to listen. Mark has also coached a team that produced a varsity champion (his son) and has been key in maintaining the overall mission of the NorCal League.

Paul Goesling

Paul Goessling came to the NorCal League like many. His son was a middle of the pack racer come Varsity star, which rekindled Paul’s own passion for the sport. Scoring league races is not for the feint of heart. The standard has long been to strive for perfect results down to the very last place — the kids work hard and for that we feel they are owed that effort. Amongst a high-pressure atmosphere of cowbells and unavoidable protests, sometimes on a cold rainy day, Paul has taken the craft to a new level of professionalism and even trains in other leagues for NICA.

Shimano Community Impact Award

Austin McInerny

Our Shimano Community Impact Award honors an individual whose long-term dedication to high school mountain biking has resulted in positive impacts on youth, the community and the organization. This individual is an outstanding representative of the organization internally and externally. Our award recipient Austin McInerny exemplifies this award. In addition to serving as the president of the NorCal board, Austin coached the Berkeley High Mountain Bike Team for 6 years and has contributed at every stage during the growth of the NorCal League and NICA. Austin serves on IMBA’s California Regional Leadership Advisory Council and has assisted in writing the coaching manual and presented at every leader’s summit. He has also assisted at more than 35 races during the past seven years.

Primal Wear Digital Media Award

Albert Reinhardt

The Primal Wear Digital Media Award is presented to an individual whose devotion of considerable time and expertise in the digital media field has been an incredible resource to the organization. This award is given to Albert Reinhardt for his many years of supporting the NorCal and then SoCal Leagues. Albert, who is a full time freelance graphic artist, under the name Happy Go Fun, built the first professional level website in addition to designing the graphics for numerous elements, t-shirts, posters, brochures and other media. Albert’s ability to work with clients and the iterative process of creating designs from ground zero helped define the NorCal look throughout it’s most fast growing years.

GU Energy Innovator Award

Francis Chapman

The GU Energy Innovator Award honors an individual whose creativity, leadership and originality have advanced the organization. This couldn’t be more true for our award recipient Francis Chapman, who in the early years of the NorCal League developed the NICA Scoring System. The system replaced a failing program with a robust computer program that is user friendly, calculates all the overall individual and team scoring for the season, and even includes wireless broadcast to laptops and smartphones at events.

QBP Race Production Partner Award

Keith DeFiebre

The QBP Race Production Partner Award acknowledges an individual whose outstanding partnership role in race productions is key to the success of a leagues race events. Our award recipient Keith DeFiebre s a passionate racer himself and has worked with the NorCal League on everything from venue exploration to race course design, trail maintenance, maintaining relationships with local land managers, and helping in any capacity on race day.

Specialized League Founders Award

Quintin Reich

The Specialized League Founders Award recognizes an individual’s commitment, enthusiasm and perseverance in launching a new NICA league. Quintin Reich exemplified these qualities when he helped to launch the SoCal League. Quintin took charge, persevered and got inspired after attending the 2008 State Champs. After that event he prepared a fundraising plan and the rest is history. The SoCal League now has over 20 teams and is growing like wildfire.

NICA Legacy Award

Jim Easton

The NICA Legacy Award honors an individual for their tremendous philanthropic support of NICA and NICA leagues. Award recipient Jim Easton, continues the legacy of the Easton Sports, Inc. which his dad started in 1922 as a maker of wooden arrows. Jim’s background as an engineer drove his focus on making the highest quality, most innovative sports equipment. Jim channeled his competitive drive into that passion of growing the business with his dad and expanding it from archery to baseball, softball, ice hockey and cycling.

Established in 2006, Easton Foundations was formed so that Jim could give back to those sports for which his company built innovative equipment. The foundation also provides vision and sponsorship funding for business and engineering education, as well as medical research.

We are very grateful that Easton Foundations provides considerable funding to NICA. Without Jim Easton’s belief in the NICA mission and his dedication to philanthropy, NICA would not be where it is today.