Arizona became one of the newest members of the National Interscholastic Cycling Association on Friday when the group announced the addition of Arizona, New York and Tennessee at Interbike.

The addition of Arizona gives high school students from across the state the ability to form teams and compete against other Arizona high school students.

Mike Perry, the executive director of the Arizona High School Cycling League was the driving force behind getting Arizona added to NICA, which is a non-profit organization.

Perry said high school students from public, private or charter schools are able to form a club or team and compete in the events, which will take place starting next fall. It gives students another opportunity to participate in a sport that interests them.

“Traditional ball and stick sports don’t work for all kids,” he said.

Perry said that even if a team isn’t formed at the student’s school, they can still compete in the events.

The Arizona league will have its first race at the end of September 2013. There will be two races in Phoenix, one in Prescott and one in Tucson. The races will be every other weekend and will be completed before the holidays. Perry said in the coming years they will add a fifth race likely held in Flagstaff.

Perry said diversity of gender and race is important to the league. He said he went to one of the races in Northern California where NICA was started in 1998 and he saw huge diversity in the race and he said to himself that he wanted Arizona’s league to look the same way.

Perry has been excited about the support he had received from around the state, making it a truly state-wide group rather than a Phoenix group trying to claim it’s state-wide.

He said pro racer Krista Park, who trains in Tucson and Todd Sadow, president of Epic Rides, have spent a lot of time making the group a reality.

For those interested in starting a club or team, Perry suggested checking out the league website, which has detailed information about getting started.

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