Mountain Biking Team Disbanded


Ed Tseng, one of the members of last year’s mountain bike team, pedals down a trail during a competition.

Sarah Markiewicz, Staff Writer

After two accelerating seasons of biking their way through hills throughout the region, the Diamond Bar High Mountain Bike team’s races have come to an ominous halt. As of now, the team has been forbidden from participating in competitions.

With a full list of riders from the past season wishing to return for the next season, the members of the team were in for a surprise on August 28 when they learned via email that the association has been disbanded due to issues over insurance.

“The team and I were very sad and we hadn’t known why the team got cancelled after two successful years of racing and riding,” commented the team’s captain Kenji Yoshimoto. In the past week, the riders and parents have united to change the minds of district officials.

At the last Walnut Valley Unified School District board meeting on September 3, a majority of the team was present to support the cause. A few of the members and one parent spoke to the school board and to the superintendent.

“We felt that it was great to advocate and practice our sport and it gave opportunity to a lot of people,” said former rider James English, who had been a member of the team last year. “They didn’t have any direct comments or response to it,” continued English. “Mrs. Real spoke to the parents and students after the meeting to explain how we can be informed about the progress of our case.” As of now, the district’s ruling still stands.

“The district’s insurance company deemed the sport as too big of a liability to continue because of the dangerous environment that it creates,” said Morgan Galeener, who was the advisor for the team. However, this does not support the fact that other high schools in the region continue to have mountain bike teams.

“I think that the main reason is the way that the school’s insurance policies are structured,” said English. “Mountain biking league [the National Interscholastic Cycling Association] has its own insurance, and these two policies may not be in accord regarding full coverage for students. Waivers may not have been signed and things may not have been done to exempt liability from the school district.”

In the past two seasons, there have been only two significant injuries. One rider broke a finger in the first season, and another rider had a concussion last year. As of now, the riders can only hope that they can participate in another season this spring. Tryouts would have taken place from Sept. 20 to 21.

The team began as a club in the 2012-2013 school year, and it transcended to the status of a competitive sports team in the spring of that year. Under Coach Yoshi Yoshimoto, some of the team’s accomplishments include a scholarship awarded to Andrew Tsing and involvement in the State Championships last May.

“They [the riders] enjoyed the experience and they had the opportunity to win scholarships and those opportunities are no longer available,” said Galeener. “They put in a lot of time and effort. We all did.”