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Mountain Biking Club welcomes female captain

The past year’s co-captain steps up to lead this year’s team

Dhani Srinivasan, Staff Reporter
Originally published April 29, 2019

Skye McDonald

Skye McDonald

Throughout mainstream media, one can see that sports are dominated by men. Mountain biking is no exception, but this year something is different: the only girl on the school’s team, junior Jessica Darlington, is the captain.

Darlington began biking in fourth grade alongside her father, an avid mountain biker and one of the assistant coaches for the team.

“When we moved to Seattle, we started biking and learning and so he really inspired me and that’s kind of how I got into it,’  Darlington said. “We would just go as a family on the weekends and just kind of play around.”

The team meets every Wednesday and Saturday from January to June. Wednesday practices are at Lower Woodland but on Saturday mornings, the team heads out to parks around Washington.

“Our coach will set out a course for us or he’ll have different activities for us to do. We’ll practice race starts or sprints or just ride around and practice jumps,” Darlington said.

The 21-person team is composite with other schools such as Roosevelt and Ingraham.  When Darlington first joined freshman year there were other girls on the team, but now she is the the only one left.

“Mountain biking is super male dominated, but I have met a lot of awesome girls that have really helped me and pushed me to ride my best and inspired me to keep riding even if just with the boys,” Darlington said.

The club has their first meet on April 14, one out of four that they plan on attending through the Washington State Cycling League.

“They set up races that are a five mile course. There’s like 60 different teams that compete so there’s about 600 riders and we are split up into beginner, intermediate, JV and varsity,” says Darling, who races intermediate.

As captain, Darlington helps arrange transportation to these meets and practices as well as organize team meetings and outside activities. Currently, she is trying to organize a summer ride right after school ends. The group plans to get down to Oregon and spend a few days riding there.

“It has been fun being a captain and that has helped me bond with [the boys]. I feel like I don’t have anything to prove because I am still out there and still going with them,” she said.

Darlington had never raced before she joined the team but has since shown true dedication to the team and sport.

““I was so stoked about it,” Darlington said of her first race. “I just feel like I can just escape into my mind while I’m biking; all my stress goes away and I just focus on riding.”

For more information on the club email Jessica Darlington at [email protected]

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Mountain Biking Club welcomes female captain