October 1, 2015 In This Issue ▪ League Director Welcome▪ Season Overview▪ Important Dates and Reminders▪ Pricing Changes▪ 2016 Race Schedule▪ N


October 1, 2015

In This Issue

League Director Welcome
Season Overview
Important Dates and Reminders
Pricing Changes
2016 Race Schedule
New Middle School Program


League Director Welcome

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It's hard to believe that it's already been one year (to the day) since we opened up our league registration for the first time ever in the state of Alabama. Since that time we experienced many 'firsts' as our league made history by bringing this amazing program to the students, families and communities across the state. Even though we now have some experience under our belt, this year will once again feel historic because we are expecting exponential growth and we are making some changes that will improve the program for everyone involved. Read through this newsletter for a glimpse of some of those changes and keep your eyes and ears open for further announcements over the next couple weeks.

I want to extend a warm welcome to the new families who have joined the league since last season and those who will join over the coming months. If you haven't already heard, you're in for an amazing experience. This will be unlike any youth sports program you've ever been involved with. Along the way I'm sure you'll have some questions as you learn the ropes. Rest assured you have plenty of resources to help you between now and our first race in March. Don't hesitate to ask your local coaches, the league director (your's truly) or the amazing support team at the NICA national office in CA for help. We are all here to help in any way we can.

Last year we had over 260 student athletes involved with our league. From what I hear, almost all of you are returning for next season. Guess what? I can't wait to see you all again. Standing at the starting line before each of your races was such an inspiration and I was so proud of all of you. I hope you've continued riding throughout the summer and that you have found the same passion for this sport that I have. Just in case you've forgot, I'll give you a count down from 10 and you'll go at the sound of the siren...........

I know there are many student athletes who can't return for next season as they have moved on from high school to the next phase of their lives. I regret that the opportunity didn't exist for you to participate in the league for more than one season, but I'm confident that whether it's this year or sometime in the near future you'll be back as a mentor, coach or volunteer to share your experiences with the next generation of league riders. Take with you the knowledge that there will never again be a senior class in this state to launch the sport of Interscholastic Mountain Bike Racing. You my friends made history and for that you should be very proud.

As the founder and director of this league I can tell you how honored I am to be working side by side with such an amazing group of coaches, volunteers, league staff, parents and of course student athletes. All of you inspire me to continue to work my hardest to make this league the premier interscholastic sporting program in the nation. Based on the dedication, enthusiasm and passion I witnessed last season, I have no doubt that together we will make that happen.

Here's to a great second season.

Your's truly,
Eddie Freyer


2016 Season Overview

Heading into our second season we are expecting significant growth in our participation numbers. While this is certainly a very exciting development it will require some changes from how our league operated for our first season. The fundamental core principles of how we run our program will not change, but some of the details will. Keep aware of announcements leading into the start of the season so that you'll be informed of these changes, all of which are designed to improve the quality of our program and to allow us to handle the growth of riders and racers in the league.

Some of these changes are explained below, but others will be communicated in subsequent newsletters as we start to determine how many total student athletes we will have participating.

Today (October 1st) the online registration system opens for teams, coaches, and student athletes. If you haven't already reached out to you local coach, please do so and they can invite you to register. All coaches received an email earlier today with detailed instructions on how to register. They should be able to walk you through the process. If you need help with finding a local team or starting a new team, please send an email to me at : eddie@alabamamtb.org.


Important Dates and Reminders

As we head into the start of our season, there are a few important dates to keep in mind:
- Registration opens October 1, 2015 (today)
- Pre-Season begins October 15, 2015
- Season begins December 1, 2015
- First race is March 6, 2016

It's important to understand that there are specific limitations for off-season and pre-season team activities. All coaches have been informed of these limitations and the league will enforce 100% compliance with this regulation. Any team found in violation of these limitations will be subject to penalty. Official team practices can only begin after December 1, 2015.


2016 Fee Changes

In order to effectively provide the events, programming and management of this league, some minor adjustments had to be made for our 2016 participation fees. While we still tried to keep the overall costs minimal these changes will allow the league to build a long-term, sustainable model of financial stability. If any increases prove to be prohibitive for a coach or student athlete, I ask that they contact me directly to discuss opportunities for financial assistance.

The 2016 Fees are as follows:
Coach Annual License/Registration Fee = $40
High School Team Annual Registration Fee = $250 or $125
Middle School Team Annual Registration Fee = $200 or $100
High School Student Athlete Annual Registration Fee = $50.00
Middle School Student Athlete Annual Registration Fee = $40.00
High School Per Race Registration = $40
Middle School Per Race Registration = $30
* Team registration fees are determined according the the NICA guidelines for coach licensing. Ask your Team Director for clarification.
NOTE : Late fees may apply for registration past certain deadlines. Please pay close attention to all posted dates in the Pit Zone to avoid paying additional late fees.


2016 Race Schedule

We are thrilled to announce that not only will we be returning to all of our same race venues from last season, but that we are also adding a 5th race to the series for 2016. This new venue is going to be one of the most memorable and perhaps unique venues of any NICA race in the country. Here is the schedule:

Race #1 : March 6th - The Feud at the Furnace, Tannehill State Historic Park in McCalla
Race #2 : March 20th - The T-Town Throwdown, Muny Sokol Park in Tuscaloosa
Race #3 : April 3rd - The Space Race, US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville
Race #4 : April 17th - The Rumble on the Ridge, Oak Mountain State Park in Pelham
Race #5 : May 15th - The Crank Down in Tiger Town, Chewacla State Park in Auburn

We have also identified a weekend (April 30th - May 1st) to use as a possible 'make-up' weekend for an early season weather cancellation. The location is TBD.


The Alabama League 2016 Middle School Program

The upcoming season will include a change in the middle school program. These changes are being implemented to provide a more competitive experience for those student-athletes who have the experience and desire to race while also allowing for an introductory experience for students who are new to racing or prefer a low-pressure, non-competitive environment.


Beginning in 2016, middle school student-athletes will have the choice of participating in one of four middle school categories;
- Boys-A
- Girls-A
- Boys-B
- Girls-B

Boys-A and Girls-A
These categories will provide a competitive racing experience including:
- Individual race podium recognition
- Leaders’ jersey designation
- Starting line call-ups
- Overall series points standing
- End-of-season awards

Boys-B and Girls-B
These categories will not include podium recognition, leaders’ jersey designation, overall series standings, nor end-of-season awards. Student-athletes will be able to gain valuable racing experience without the added pressure of podiums, rankings, awards, etc. End of season spirit awards will be provided for all racers in this category based on nominations from each team's coach. Spirit award categories include:
- Most Improved
- Best Team Spirit
- Best Teammate
- Determination
- Overcoming Adversity

Working with their coach, student-athletes will choose which category to race in prior to the first race of the season. Changes between categories after the first race can only be requested through the standard league petition process. Call-up standings, series points, etc. will not carry from one category to the other. It will be important for coaches to work with the students and their parents to determine what category placement is in the best interest of the individual racer, keeping in mind that all categories will be combined racers of 6th – 8th grade students.

Scoring for 'A' Categories

Rules for scoring will be based on the individual scoring guidelines for the Frosh-Soph category per the NICA rulebook including the following:
- Overall series scoring will be based on the best 4 out of 5 races (rule 8.1)
- Points are awarded for all finishers of each race (rule 8.2)
- In the event of a category upgrade during the season, points earned in this category will not transfer from one category to the next, nor will call-up standings (rule 8.2)
- Bonus points will be awarded for racers participating in the state championship race (rule 8.3)
- Bonus points will be awarded for racers that complete all 5 races (rule 8.4)
- Medals will be awarded 5 deep at each race except for field sizes of less than 20 in which case medals will be awarded 3 deep (rule 8.8)
- Individual overall medals or trophies will be awarded to finishers in the top 10% of the total number of scoring riders for the series (rounded up) plus two places deep (rule 8.9)

Middle School A categories will only be awarded points on an individual basis and points will not be allocated toward any team totals

Category Upgrades

At the beginning of each season all middle school students will be “reset” to the general middle school category in the Pit Zone. Seven days prior to the first race of the season the Team Director must notify the League Director of what category (A or B) that each middle school student will participate in. Middle school athletes will also be allowed to petition for a category upgrade (subject to the same process and deadlines as high school students) to race in one of the high school categories as follows:
- Any returning middle school student who upgraded and raced in a high school category during the 2015 season will be allowed to re-petition for an upgrade to either the Freshman or the JV category. Rule 3.4 for Category Placement will be used to determine a middle school athlete's eligibility for a JV upgrade. Students who do not meet the upgrade criteria for JV will only be allowed to petition for an upgrade to the freshman category
- All other middle school students (new and those that did not upgrade and race in 2015) must race at least one Middle School A category race prior to requesting an upgrade to the Freshman category. These students are only allowed to request an upgrade to the Freshman category and the decision will be based on the following:
- They must finish in the top 15% for boys or top 20% for girls in at least one Middle School A Category race
- All petitions must follow the same rules and deadlines as high school petition requests
- Middle School students with extensive outside race experience and at least 5 podium results from races outside the Alabama league may also petition to upgrade to the Freshman category
- All petitions must be submitted through the Team Director to the League Director, and a committee will review all petitions and either grant or deny the request based on the information provided
- Any middle school student racing in a high school category will be allowed to compete for both the individual awards (race and series) and contribute points to their team's total

All petition requests will be evaluated on an individual basis, and requests should not be made strictly for the purpose of team scoring opportunities


All middle school students will register in the Pit Zone in the general middle school category but A/B determination will be made 7 days prior to each race via the Team Director and upgrades are subject to the same deadlines as high school categories.

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