Mountain Biking Gains In Popularity For High School Girls

FAYETTEVILLE (KFSM) — More and more schools in Northwest Arkansas have mountain biking teams thanks to the National Interscholastic Cycling Association.

An Arkansas chapter formed a few years ago — and one local girl credits the group with the pastime’s surging popular

Junior Cate Mertins started a mountain biking team at her school, Haas Hall Academy in 2016. The first year she says there were around 12 kids on their team and she was the only girl.

“This year between all four campuses I think we had up to 25 that raced. So it was really awesome to see all the Haas Hall jerseys compared to the first year when we were kind of in the minority,” she said.

Mertins said not only has their team grown but so has the number of girls in the entire NICA program. The first year of the program she was the only person in her division.

“It was nice because I could go out there and race and know that I would be in first place but at the same time there wasn`t that competitive aspect that the boys had and I felt that wasn`t really fair,” she said.

Mertins said she’s making it her mission to get more girls interested in mountain biking.

“It`s really important to me that girls are empowered, and they know they can do something like this because if you just look at the field from the first year, it was mainly boys,” she said.

Mertins said this past year her category went from just her to ten. Training doesn`t start for the following school year until this spring. There first race will be in September.