2011 NICA Award Recipients

Specialized League Founders Award

The Specialized League Founder’s Award recognizes an individual’s outstanding commitment, enthusiasm and perseverance in starting a new NICA league.

Kate Rau, Colorado High School Cycling League

Kate Rau exemplified these qualities when leading the launch of the Colorado League. A few back, Kate, who is well known for her earnest efforts in progressive social and youth work, was running a youth mountain biking program out of Boulder Colorado. While attending the opening of a local bike store, she heard Gary Fisher speak about the fast growing and successful NorCal league and was inspired to join the NICA revolution. She arranged to visit the California state championships in 2009, and the rest is now history. In 2011 Colorado was the fastest growing NICA league with over 300 participants from 30 high school teams racing in the fall series.

Primal Wear Digital Media Award

The Primal Wear Digital Media Award is for an individual’s dedication of considerable time and expertise in the digital media field that results in a significant increase of resources to the organization.

David Curtis, NorCal High School Cycling League/NICA

David Curtis has played a major role in shaping the visual style of NICA. His eye for detail and drawing talents have aided in the design of many leading brands such as the 1989 World Series, Ghirardelli, and Bank of the West. David’s involvement with high school mountain biking began as head coach and founder of the San Rafael Bull Dogs where his son Will raced and went on to be the 2010 Varsity State Champion. In the summer of 2008, as a NorCal board member, David started sharing ideas first for a name and later what became the NICA brandmark.

QBP Race Production Partner Award

The Quality Bicycle Products Race Production Partner Award acknowledges an individual whose outstanding partnership role in race productions is key to the success of a league’s events.

Jason Ranoa, SoCal High School Cycling League

Jason Ranoa has been involved in the SoCal League since the first meeting of the founding committee in 2008. As an independent race promoter, his experience is extremely valuable and he helps the League create a positive race environment where student-athletes can challenge themselves in a safe venue. His support the first year allowed the SoCal League to put on its first two races. Jason continues his involvement helping the League put on two races every year. He supports the SoCal League in other ways too, including hosting training sessions open to League racers and teams in his area.

Trek All-Star Athlete Award

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

Dominique Fenichell, Boulder High School, Colorado High School Cycling League

Dominique Fenichell had only recently moved with her family from Ecuador to Boulder when she joined her team. With little biking experience she arrived with a huge smile and the confidence to be one of only two or three girls on her newly forming team. She quickly became her team’s captain and got a job at a local bike shop to save money to purchase a fixie commuter bike and then a new carbon-frame race bike. She is a dedicated athlete who through determination, enthusiasm, and hard work has steadily improved. In 2011 she won the overall Varsity title.

Joel Titius, Corona Composite Team, SoCal High School Cycling League

Joel Titius is a strong athlete and quick study. In his first year racing he earned top three finishes each race and finished 2nd at the State Championships in a field of 58 riders. Joel didn’t rest on his laurels though. He took his first season as a learning experience and worked with his coach over the summer. In the off season he bested 134 riders and took 5th overall in New Mexico’s prominent Fat Tire 50 bike race, finishing not far behind legendary pro racer Tinker Juarez, who won the race, and Jerry Coady, a two time top 10 Leadville finisher. Joel’s incredible work ethic and natural talent exemplify NICA’s principles of strong body, mind and character.

SRAM Coach of the Year Award

The SRAM Coach of the Year Award acknowledges one head coach from each league whose qualities as a leader and motivator embodies NICA’s core principles to develop strong body, mind, and character within an atmosphere of inclusiveness and equality.

Fred Maxwell, Salida High School, Colorado High School Cycling League

Fred Maxwell, head coach from the Colorado League’s Salida High School is known for the energy, spirit, and team culture he has created, which strike a balance between fun and competition. He leads by example, supporting other coaches, teams and every rider on or off the course. He has built an inclusive team environment and has garnered the support of the Salida community.

Dave Peery, Woodcrest Christian High School, SoCal High School Cycling League

Dave Peery, head coach of the SoCal League’s Woodcrest High School Team has built a competitive and active team, in a school of only 400 students, which came within 8 points of winning Division 1, out of nearly 10,000 points. With Dave’s leadership, the Woodcrest team set the League standard for volunteering, and Dave himself has provided the venue for hosting two Leaders’ Summits and the land to build instructional facilities. Leading by example, Dave instills in his team the balance between a strong body, strong mind and strong character.

Julia Violich, Redwood High School, NorCal High School Cycling League

Julia Violich started as a ride leader in 2002 for the girls at Redwood High School. By 2005 she was head coach and gained a reputation as a fabulous coach, amazing motivator and organized leader. She is an accomplished athlete herself, having won three cross country national titles. Despite her elite riding status and personal competitive goals, it has been said she has a “magical touch” and ability to be equally passionate with beginners as with accomplished riders. She lives and breathes NICA’s core principles of inclusiveness and equality as she has spearheaded programs to get more females riding. Julia is an incredible athlete, has an infectious enthusiasm and is also a long-time supporter of the NorCal and NICA movements.

Kari Studley, Northshore Composite Team, Washington High School Cycling League

Kari Studley embodies the spirit of NICA despite only one year under her belt coaching in this brand new league. She took the program to one of the toughest school districts in the states, battled, and won their support. She went on to build the 2nd largest team in the league. Although known to run a tight ship with her team, she finds a delicate balance point with the result that the students love and respect her, as do other coaches and parents. Kari constantly combs research and education models to strengthen the minds and bodies of student-athletes while keeping safety a priority.

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.

Walt Lee, Colorado High School Cycling League

Walt Lee plays the role of the Colorado League’s Chief Scorekeeper, an intense and crucial job that can be difficult to pull off with accuracy. Despite the pressure and challenges, Walt fulfills NICA’s mission of getting results right, from the winner to the final finisher. He is one of the first on site to set up at races and the last to leave every race weekend. Between races he spends countless hours responding to questions from coaches, riders and parents, and his volunteer dedication includes training other scorekeepers, attending coaches Summits and CycleFests, and forwarding sponsorship leads.

Ezra Coleman, NorCal High School Cycling League

Ezra Coleman from the NorCal League is an integral part of the NorCal League’s volunteer race staff and he helped define the Chief Course Setter position, which is now becoming a standard at all NICA events. Ezra volunteers at every single event the league produces, as well as volunteering as a Ride Leader with numerous Marin County mountain bike teams. He is a positive and generous member of the volunteer team, in addition to being an exemplary role model for the students.

Sean McCoy, SoCal High School Cycling League

Sean McCoy of the SoCal League has been involved since he landed on the founding committee in summer of 2008. He is the League’s race producer and leads a volunteer crew by example. He has worked as League Director Matt Gunnell’s right hand at every race during the 2010 and 2011 racing seasons, and is the first to arrive at a venue on Friday afternoon and the last two to leave on Sunday evening. Sean is busy managing the venue build, the course marking, the race day logistics and the breakdown. His generous contribution and work ethic are tremendous assets to the League, where he has created a wealth of institutional knowledge.

Visionary Leader Award

The Visionary Leader Award recognizes a volunteer whose astute foresight, imagination, and leadership have contributed significantly to the growth and success of NICA or a NICA League.

Gary Fisher

Gary Fisher exemplifies visionary leadership. When attending the California state championships in 2004 he was amazed by what he saw. Here in his home county, high school kids were competing on mountain bikes for their schools, and acting like that was a normal thing to do. From that point forward, when speaking at events nationwide, Gary always described the NorCal league when speaking about the future of the sport. Matt Fritzinger has stated “Early on, even I chuckled about Gary’s vision, I felt what we had in NorCal was very special and wasn’t sure it would work elsewhere.” Gary’s outspoken belief in his vision for the success and impact of NICA helped pave the way for the creation of new leagues and NICA.

Jeep Extraordinary Courage Award

The Jeep Extraordinary Courage Award recognizes a student-athlete who has persevered through challenging circumstances and overcome adversity to develop and excel as a model student athlete.

Hannah Mendro, Arlington/Lakewood Composite Team, Washington High School Cycling League

This award is presented to Hannah Mendro who hails from the Washington League. In a recent NICA essay contest Hannah wrote about the excitement of riding, stating “when I’m riding, soaring down a hill, the wind blowing through my hair, tearing my eyelashes, stinging my eyes, and whipping away my screams of elation, there’s nowhere I’d rather be.” She wrote a two page essay about learning to ride, the fear, the joy, the way it made her feel free, but this humble young athlete never mentioned she has a severe eye condition and is almost legally blind. Instead, she focuses on the energy of her spirit and her enthusiasm for riding.

Fort Lewis College Distinguished Alumni Award

The Fort Lewis College Distinguished Alumni Award recognizes a student athlete alumnus who has carried on the spirit of the League beyond his or her high school years.

Todd Norwood, 2004 Alum, NorCal High School Cycling League

Since graduating from the NorCal League in 2004 after four years of racing, Todd Norwood has exemplified how NICA programs encourage and nurture academic excellence. He went on to study at Stanford University where he was involved in leadership positions in the cycling club, including serving as team captain twice. While at Stanford, he took time to help with NorCal League rides and races for his former high school team. He continued to race in graduate school at USC while working toward a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. He represented USC twice at collegiate MTB nationals, and has volunteered at SoCal League races. He became a member of the NorCal rules committee in 2008 and upon graduation from USC in 2011, moved back up to the Bay Area where he now practices Physical Therapy and continues to race and commute by bike almost every day.

NICA Legacy Award

The NICA Legacy Award honors an individual for their tremendous philanthropic support of
NICA and NICA leagues

Gary Erickson, Founder, Co-Owner and Co-CEO, CLIF Bar & Company

Gary Erickson, the founder and CEO of Clif Bar, started sponsoring high school mountain biking in 1998, first with the Berkeley High School Mountain Bike Team. Since that day his company has continued to keep high school student athletes well fed with healthy snacks. Sponsorship of the NorCal League began when Gary agreed to fund a documentary named Children of the Dirt. Clif Bar generously funded that film and also became NorCal’s top sponsor for years to come. The film continues to be a powerful tool in recruiting coaches, convincing school administrators, and recruiting new sponsors. Gary was a first mover when NICA raised the game from a regional to a national level. Gary’s quest to provide a tasty energy food for athletes and a healthy alternative for everyday people, all the while creating a progressive company and working environment, is a tremendous achievement, but his belief in giving back to his own favorite sport and supporting this program is also part of his legacy.

Easton Foundations Student-Athlete Community Service Award

The Easton Foundations Student Athlete Community Service Award honors student athletes who have demonstrated outstanding service and contributions to their community.

Josh Hodges, Rim of the World High School, SoCal High School Cycling League

This award is presented to one male and one female in a NICA League. The male recipient of this award is presented to Josh Hodges who has taken his own initiative to get involved in his community and give back. He has volunteered more than 500 hours with San Bernardino Forest Association from 6th grade through 9th grades doing trail maintenance, planting trees, working in the visitor center and as a guide on tours. He now volunteers with San Gorgonio Wilderness Association patrolling the trails by foot as well as in the mounted patrols checking trails, assisting campers and others on the trails and providing wilderness permits. Josh naturally possesses the strong character and desire to give back to his community, which NICA programs nurture.

Angelique Margve, John Burroughs High School, SoCal High School Cycling League

The female recipient of the Easton Foundations Student Athlete Community Service Award is presented to Angelique Margve who has served as a team captain, as well as being an active member of the Key Club coordinating food drives, collecting clothes for the needy, and mentoring youth in her community. She tutors at the middle school and her high school, and volunteers in the City of Burbank’s Bike Angel Program, which accepts and repairs old bicycles for needy families. Needless to say she is an inspiration and exemplifies NICA’s core principle of strong character, which encourages student-athletes to work hard, respect others and give back to their communities.

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.

Dillen Maurer, Crescenta Valley High School, SoCal High School Cycling League

This award is presented to one male and one female in a NICA League. We are pleased to recognize student-athletes who truly exemplify all of NICA’s core principles of strong body, strong mind and strong character. The male recipient of the Specialized Student Athlete Leadership Award is presented to Dillen Maurer who is in his 4th year riding with the SoCal League and has taken on a mentor role within the club and actively helps the coaches teach new riders. As Team President for two years he actively fundraises and volunteers at races. Outside of mountain biking Dillen had helped raise funds for the American Cancer Society, has emerged as a leader in his cinematography classes, was a cameraman at this year’s Athletes with Character and Ethics awards, and has also directed and acted in several short films. Even with all of this, Dillen maintains a high GPA, takes AP classes, wrote his senior research paper on the environmental, economic and personal benefits of bicycle riding, and is never late to his job at a local bike shop.

Jencee Reardon, 7220 Racing Team, Colorado High School Cycling League

Jencee Rearden is a senior at Laramie High School in Wyoming. Her Wyoming team participates in the Colorado League. Her exuberant presence at practice creates an atmosphere of enthusiasm and hard work. She is involved with the Gay Straight Alliance, Peace Jam, and she started an anti-bullying group with the help of her NICA teammates. She worked with her school to recognize “Fat-Talk Free” week to encourage a healthy body image among young women. She maintains a nearly perfect GPA despite a rigorous AP course load and she is working with a University of Wyoming graduate student on research to determine if barefoot running makes a difference in athletic performance. Jencee volunteers her time and service at numerous causes including the Laramie Enduro, the Silent Trails Memorial Race, and the Cathedral Home for Children where she volunteers as a peer worker 10-15 hours a week in the evenings and on weekends.

Shimano Community Impact Award

The 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.

Officer George Martinez

Officer George Martinez exemplifies this award. He has developed a program to provide inner-city students an opportunity to participate in mountain biking, while at the same time developing themselves as individuals. Officer Martinez formed the mountain biking team at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento as part of a holistic approach to preventing youth delinquency. This opportunity has enabled a tremendous boost of self-esteem to all the students that participate. Using numerous resources, including bicycles from Police Property, equipment donations from other schools, the business community and volunteers, Officer Martinez ensures the success of this program without impacting the Police Department’s budget.