Taking the dirt path: Williams Mountain Bike team preps for Ft. Tuthill race

Hunter Wise, Robert Hudspeth, Tony Cavaletto, Samantha Russell and Mia Schmitz make up the 2019 Williams High School mountain bike team. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

Hunter Wise, Robert Hudspeth, Tony Cavaletto, Samantha Russell and Mia Schmitz make up the 2019 Williams High School mountain bike team. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - Tucked out of sight of the ballfields and courts at Williams High School is a group of athletes that spend their time on trails, switching gears and chasing personal bests.

2019 Schedule

Sept. 7-8 Ft. Tuthill, Flagstaff

Sept. 21-22 Pioneer Park, Prescott

Oct. 5-6 Wren Arena, Fort Huachuca

Oct. 19-20 McDowell Mountain, Fountain Hills

Nov. 2-3 White Tank Park, Waddell

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Robert Hudspeth and Tony Cavaletto practice at Buckskinner Park Aug. 16. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

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Mia Schmitz trains at Buckskinner Park Aug. 15. (Wendy Howell/WGCN)

The Williams High School mountain bike team has hit the hills in training for the 2019 season.

In its fifth season, the five-member team spent Thursday afternoon riding circuits near Buckskinner Park.

“It’s an endurance sport,” said head coach Rick Honsinger. “Races generally last 1.5 hours, so that takes training for a rider to maintain a good pace that long.”

Honsinger said he thinks the mountain bike team can be a good option for students who don’t want to play football or volleyball.

“It is a small team with a strong support structure,” he said. “Kids can learn a sport that they can do all their lives.”

Although several past team members have done well in competition, Honsinger said students can perform at all levels.

“Each rider creates their own goals,” he said. “Some kids really want to compete and move up in the standings while others just want to ride their bike with a bunch of other kids. As a coach, I try to meet each rider where they are and help them get value from the team.”

Honsinger said the team is supported by donations from sponsors, fundraising and tax credit donations and is open to any student at any level.

“They have to be ready to do some riding,” he said. “I have two bikes ready to go right now.”

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