Often, outside observers assess value to our athletics seasons based on our win/loss record or standings at the league championships, but for Proctor’s Mountain Biking team, it was both their final results and the bold, remarkable actions of sportsmanships that helped define their success at Saturday’s Northern New England Mountain Biking League Championships held at Kennett High School.
Proctor’s 36 riders traveled to North Conway, New Hampshire on a spectacular day to taclke a wet course alongside nearly 400 other riders. Proctor’s team continued their outstanding season-long performance earning a second overall finish in the end of season standings, while placing a number of riders in the Top 20 of each Class.
- Overall Season Placement: Proctor 2nd Place
- Class A Girls 5th Place Ella Maher ‘23
- Class B Girls 9th Lisle Coombs, 10th Grace Schad ‘23, 11th Lauren Bush '25
- Class B Boys 2nd Hap Pederson ‘24, 16th Henry Wagler ‘25
- Class C Boys 4th Lukas Ordonez '25
The highlights of the day were not, however, the placements noted above. Instead, it was the selfless acts by Whitney Hollenbeck ‘24 and Teo Ryder ‘25 as they sacrificed their own position in their respective classes in order to help other riders. Whitney (a top finisher for the Hornets all season) witnessed a competitor crash and immediately jumped off her bike to help console the injured athlete until medics could arrive on the scene. Without thinking twice about her own performance on the day, she jumped into action when she was needed most to provide comfort and support to her opponent.
In a similar event, a crash at the start of the Boys B Race in front of Teo Ryder ‘25 had him jump off of his bike to stand in front of a fallen rider in order to protect him from on-coming traffic. While Teo was able to eventually get back on his bike and finish the race, he sacrificed dozens of spots to make sure that his competitor was safe. It is actions like this that make us so proud to be associated with Proctor.
Senior co-captain Ella Maher ‘23 shares additional insights on how this team, and this program, have a positive impact on others.
What makes being a part of this team so special?
The Proctor Mountain Biking team has been like a family to me. Over the four years I have been a part of this team, despite how the group changed every year, we have come together and gotten to know and support each other in a way that no other team that I have been a part of has. Mountain biking is a really difficult sport from the aspects that is incredibly physically taxing, it requires a lot of bike control skills, and you have to have strong physical fitness. However, I would argue that the mental toughness and the mindset of the sport play a far more significant role in how you ride. This year the team was the most enthusiastic and positive group I have been a part of. I always looked forward to practices because people had positive attitudes and were just overall excited to ride.
In reality, mountain bike racing is an individual sport. While you are trying to earn points for your team, when it comes down to it, you are the one alone in the woods with your own thoughts and physical exhaustion. I believe that I was only as good as my team though. Without this team, I would not have been able to race as I did this season. When I would come through the start of each lap of a race, and hear the team cheering me on, I could find a whole new level of energy and drive to keep pushing. Words cannot describe the love and appreciation I have for all of these people and how they helped me get through some of the most difficult races.
Finally, this team is unique in the fact that so many types of people, from all over, have come together to form this team. We are all so different, yet have one thing in common; we love biking. I have gotten to know people I never would have had the chance to meet through this sport. The support, the positive vibes, the good energy, and everyone’s dedication and hard work on this team have been one of my favorite parts of Proctor.
While people keep reminding me that mountain biking is a lifelong sport and that even after the season has ended and I have left Proctor I will still be able to bike, recreating this team is impossible. This group of people is irreplaceable. I love my coaches, who to me, are more than just coaches. They have helped me through these four years, and without them, I would not be the biker or the person I am today. I love my teammates and the joy they have brought to biking. Every day I would look forward to seeing everyone at practice. I am forever grateful for the opportunity to be part of something as special as PAMTB.
What impact do you hope you have had on this team during your time at Proctor? What legacy do you hope you have left?
In my time on the Proctor Mountain Biking Team I hope that I have been able to bring positive energy and enthusiasm to the team. In regard to the legacy I want to leave, I feel as though it has been there long before me. The legacy is the positive energy, the enthusiasm, and the good vibes, all things that are already part of the team and surely will be next year and for many years to come. I have confidence that there are numerous team members who could be given the captaincy role next year and lead the team with positivity and enthusiasm. More specifically, I hope I have left a legacy for my fellow female mountain bikers. I hope they know that they have every right to be out on that race course with the guys and that they have the capabilities of being faster, stronger, and more skilled than the majority of them. There were four or five girls on the team during my freshman year. Now, that number has grown to over 10. My hope is that girls continue to join the bike team to demonstrate that mountain bike racing is for anyone and everyone.