Diversifying riding

Millard West cyclers earn a prestigious award


Photo courtesy of Ryan Moseley

Junior Dinesh Gullapali races in a NICA race this past season. He thought that diversity in cycling was important for a variety of reasons. “It is important to promote diversity in cycling because it is a fun sport and also it brings people together,” Gullapaili said. “It helps to make the bicycling sport more aware and fun to the people in the school.”

Camille O'Neill, Sports Director

Four members of the Millard West cycling team were awarded a National Interscholastic Cycling Association (NICA) Trek Scholarship on Friday, May 13. The team members that won included junior Dinesh Gullapali, freshmen Braian Kuzcaba and Rushikesh Gurav and incoming freshman Shree Gullapali.

This scholarship was awarded to 250 athletes of color from across the nation out of over 500 applicants. In order to be eligible to apply for the scholarship, a student-athlete must be an athlete of color, as well as be in sixth to twelfth grade. Additionally, the athlete must be registered for a NICA league or team for the 2022 season. The scholarship provides students with a bike, helmet, a $360 stipend to use for registration fees for events and  other accessories. The mission of the NICA is to provide riders of color with the same opportunities to participate in events as other riders. The goal of the Pathfinder Scholarship is to diversify the sport of cycling.

Many students were eager to apply for this scholarship because they knew it would give them more opportunities to explore their passion and compete in mountain bike races. Students also see this as an opportunity to grow the sport.

“This scholarship is important to me because it provides an opportunity for students to explore their passions and discover what they want to do in the future,” freshman Rushikesh Gurav said. “It’s a way to enable them to have a better chance of success. Cycling is a sport that should be open to all people regardless of their race, gender or socioeconomic background. The more diversity there is in cycling, the better it will be for the sport.”

Head cycling coach Ryan Moseley nominated the four students for the scholarship because of their character, hard work and dedication to the sport. All four athletes have a drive to get better and ride faster each and every practice. Moseley is proud of his athletes’ work, and he thinks that better bikes will benefit his riders.

“I was excited for them, as it is a great opportunity to get an awesome bike, and get involved in some fun events,” Moseley said. “They all started the team with some questionable bikes so this was great.”

In order to nominate the four students, Moseley had to fill out an application form. The form was like a letter of recommendation, where he described the student-athlete’s character on and off the cycling track. The application took financial need into consideration, and it asked about the cycler’s race history and how they did in events.

For freshman Braian Kuzcaba, this honor was extra special. Kuzcaba has only participated in mountain biking events in the past, and he has never participated in an NICA race. This scholarship will give him the opportunity to participate in additional events and expand his love of cycling.

“I’ve been part of the biking team and this scholarship allows me to do NICA for the whole season,” Kuzcaba said. “The scholarship also provides me with the bike and the gear that I need in order to participate on the team and ride safely. I feel very happy to be chosen for this scholarship and excited to be in the NICA team for the season. I would like to sincerely thank my coach for nominating me for the scholarship. I think it will be a lot of fun doing NICA events.” 

Some of the athletes have been cycling since sixth grade, and this opportunity will allow these four athletes to continue their cycling journey. With their new equipment and accessories, these athletes will be able to perform better in events.