Heathcote High School has defended its title at the 20th annual Australian Interschools Mountain Bike Championships held in Thredbo.
For the 10th year running, Heathcote has won the shield for the overall best performing school at the nationals.
The school has created an outstanding culture around the sport – with students given the choice to go mountain biking in the Royal National Park every Thursday at school.
A mentor program has also been developed at the school where an older rider will provide one-to-one tuition to a new rider.
The nationals, held last month, saw over 450 riders from more than 70 schools compete in Thredbo.
Heathcote took a big team of 35 riders down to the event with the boys and girls battling it out for points in the downhill and cross-country events as well as the flow event – which is a less technical form of downhill riding.
This was the first year the school was represented in all divisions in the male and female categories.
Standout performers included Year 10 rider Cassie Voysey, who won both her flow and downhill events, Year 9 rider Jack Herpich who placed in the top five for the same events in the largest division of the championships, and Year 8 rider Jade Keegan who placed third in her cross-country event.
Over the past 15 years, there has been a strong mountain biking culture built up within the school.
“It has been what has taken the kids’ interest,” teacher Jo Hunter said.
“And with the area we are in there is a lot of good places to go mountain biking.
“They often go out into the national park. That is one of our Thursday afternoon sports that they can choose to do.”
She said quite a few teachers and staff at the school were also right into the sport.
“Absolutely. Each year you never have to hunt for teachers to go [to Thredbo]. We have a whole group of teachers that are really keen and ride to school, and the students see it all the time.”
Another factor which has helped towards the school’s success in the sport is providing equipment to new riders, to minimise the cost to students who want to ride but may not have bikes or body armour.
The team would like to acknowledge the local businesses who continue to support them such as TBSM Mortdale, The Tool Store, Australian Paper Destruction, The Paper People as well as Peter Hore and family.