USA Cycling awards $20,000 in grants to 2011 Centers of Excellence
In 2011, ten programs were designated as Centers of Excellence, based on organizational criteria and performance results in developing junior and U23 athletes.
The Young Medalists out of Trexlertown, Pa., was one of those programs.
Working off the mantra of the 5 P’s (Passion, Preparedness, Patience, Perseverance, and Power), the Young Medalists program is a role model in young athlete development.
“Yes we do like to develop elite athletes and we do have an elite development program and team,” says Wendy Houlik, President of the Lehigh Valley Cycling Club which is the 501c3 set up to fund the Young Medalists. “But we’re also about the young junior riders who maybe don’t have that aspiration, but who just enjoy riding. We don’t want to leave anyone out and we want everyone to be successful.”
The 5 P’s obviously work for the Young Medalists. In the program’s five year history, it has produced seven national titles, 68 national championship medals, 45 state titles, and 82 state championship medals. Not to mention the fact that several of their kids have been selected by USA Cycling for world championship teams.
Wendy says it’s the volunteers and support staff that really make it work, and that a great coach (like Young Medalists founding coach, May Britt) is what truly drives the organization’s success.
Another 2011 Centers of Excellence recipient known for its great coaching is the Durango Devo program. Utilizing a building block style to increase interest in mountain biking, this Colorado group started with five high school boys seven years ago. Now, they’ve got 300 riders.
“USA Cycling’s Mountain Bike Development Program consistently sees top riders coming out of the Durango Devo Program,” commented USA Cycling’s Mountain Bike and Cyclo-cross Program Director Marc Gullickson. “I think the program is so successful in developing young talent because they have a great coaching staff that works diligently on all aspects of junior mountain biking. The program provides young juniors with a welcome and safe entry point, experienced coaching, and great national level racing opportunities across the country. By the time these riders show up in my program they’re well-rounded and prepared for top level competition.”
“We have a great scholarship program that helps with dues, travel, equipment, etc,” explained the program’s Sarah Tescher. “The (Centers of Excellence) grant will go towards furthering that program.”
The Whole Athlete-Specialized Cycling Team, another 2011 Centers of Excellence winner, also plans to use their grant money to offset travel costs for their racers.
Whole Athlete works from a holistic approach, using many ingredients like optimal training, biomechanics, skills, sport psychology, nutrition, and yoga to making their athletes “whole.”
“We have a simple three-point philosophy that defines our development program,” says Whole Athlete Performance Center Director Dario Fredrick. “That is Dedication, Integrity, and Fun. When our athletes embrace these ideals, they are successful regardless of the outcome of a race.”
To help promote the development and growth of great programs like these, the USA Cycling Development Foundation distributed a total of $20,000 among ten 2011 Centers of Excellence winners. Congratulations to the following programs for setting the standard in athlete development:
Whole Athlete Specialized Cycling Team
The Young Medalists
Team Velo Sport Sho Air
Team VRC Get Crackin’- MS Society
Boulder Junior Cycling
Team Specialized Racing Juniors
To learn more about the Center of Excellence Program, or about any other USA Cycling Development Foundation programs, please visit the Foundation’s webpage. To make a donation and support the Olympic athlete development programs in cycling which the Foundation funds, visit the Donate web page.Each year, USA Cycling recognizes outstanding cycling programs with cash grants through the USA Cycling Development Foundation Centers of Excellence program.
This Article Published January 27, 2012 For more information contact: