In its first season of competition, the Bluegrass Berms composite team proved to be one of the state’s best.

The mountain bike team placed second in the state championships last month at Kentucky Dam Village State Resort.

“Informally, we’ve had the kids riding together for a year and a half, two years,” said Team Director Mark Harrell whose son, Treyton, rode for a team in Fayette County previously.

The Bluegrass Berms composite team is a National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) and USA Cycling (USAC) 501c3 non-profit that provides mountain bike programs to middle and high school students.

The team is a member of the Kentucky Interscholastic Cycling League (KICL), and the head coach is Jeb Gorham, of Versailles.

Everyone on the team is insured, and coaches go through background checks and training.

One of the team’s biggest challenges isn’t racing. It’s letting people know mountain bike competition is available to students.

“That’s been the hardest part, especially with COVID,” Harrell said. “We’re not officially part of any school, and it’s the first time some people have heard about it. Some people don’t know the sport even exists.”

The team’s primary districts are Frankfort Independent Schools, Franklin County Schools and Woodford County.

“Last Monday night at the school board meeting Mr. (Mark) Kopp (FCS superintendent) told his principals that if they received any information to pass it on. A lot of it is word of mouth.”

The team is open to boys and girls in middle school or high school, and the races are divided by gender.

There are sixth grade, seventh grade and eighth grade races for boys and girls in middle school. At the high school level there are four divisions — freshman, sophomore, junior varsity and varsity for both boys and girls.

Bluegrass Berms officially became a team in the spring, and the season consisted of five races — two in August, two in September and the state championships in October.

Being a member of the team doesn’t mean a student has to compete in races. Those who are interested in riding, but not racing, are encouraged to join.

This past season, the team had about 13 members who raced and 12 who rode with the team.

During the season, the team practiced twice a week at Capitol View Park.

“Capitol View Park has been great to work with, and Troy Hearn, their trail coordinator,” Harrell said.

“We have 16 to 22 students ride at practice, and seven to nine coaches are helping the riders. Once they get out in the woods, we have a parent ride at the back to make sure no one is left behind.”

The team has also gone to Louisville and Berea to experience riding different trails.

Throughout the race season, team points were tabulated based on how high school riders performed. The Bluegrass Berms had a firm hold on second place going into the state championships and needed four racers to place to win second place overall as a team.

The team did just that, taking second in the KICL.

At the state championships, David Komprs Jr., of Woodford County, was state champion in the boys freshman division, and Foster Bloch, of Franklin County, was second overall in the varsity boys division.

Placing fifth overall were Levi Belen, of Franklin County, in the JV boys division and Elizabeth Komprs, of Woodford County, in the varsity girls division.

In the freshman boys division, Eli Peake was eighth overall and Treyton Harrell was ninth overall. Both are from Franklin County.

This was the inaugural race season for middle school and middle school overall points weren’t tracked.

In the sixth grade boys division, Woodford County’s Ben Komprs finished first once and second four times in his five races, and Preston McLain’s best finish in five races was third.

Elliotte Harrell placed third in all four of her races, Daviss Johnson was fourth in her three races, and Nora Elliott was fifth in her one race this season. All three are from Franklin County and competed in the sixth grade girls division.

In the eighth grade boys division, Grey Gorham, of Woodford County, placed eighth in two of his five races, and Sam Elliott, of Franklin County, finished 21st in the one race in which he competed.

The counties listed for the riders are their school district name.

Anyone interested in joining the team or finding out more about it can contact Harrell at 502-209-8920 or bluegrassberms@gmail.com.

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