Youth Mountain Biking and New Sports Programs on MI

February 23, 2015 | by Carla Barokas

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Mercer Island Mountain Bike Team in Pioneer Park

Mercer Island Mountain Bike Team in Pioneer Park

As they say, baseball is America’s pastime, and Seattleites love their professional football, baseball, and soccer teams, but on Mercer Island, less traditional sports are also finding a following with our youth and families.

This year, middle school students have the opportunity to join the newly formed Mercer Island Mountain Bike Team (MIMBT), organized by the Washington Student Cycling League, a non-profit teen cycling program with over 20 teams in Western Washington.

The league was founded by Islanders Heather and Warren Libman, who have enjoyed mountain biking with their three children and who have also introduced the sport to their children’s friends.

“We’ve taken kids up with us for their first ride, and they always come back with a sense of empowerment and accomplishment,” Heather said. “It’s amazing how facing fears in a controlled, safe environment can create such confidence.”

The team meets twice a week – on Wednesday on Mercer Island and on Sundays for an off-island ride – and is led by volunteer coaches, which include the Libmans and acclaimed local riders Daniel Heller and Ian Tubbs. The MIMBT program runs through June 15th, and student riders will compete in a 4-race series this spring.

Learn more at:

Other new and non-traditional sports opportunities on Mercer Island:

Flag Football

i9 Sports Flag Football player

Flag Football

Though it’s not exactly new, flag football offers an alternative to tackle football in which defensive players try to pull the flags off the ball carriers belt.  Local programs are organized by i9 Sports and Skyhawks Sports, offering a variety of options for kids ages 5 – 12.


For the aspiring Ninja Warrior competitor (or just a kid with a lot of energy), Parkour gives kids, ages 6 – 12, the opportunity to learn the safest and strongest way to run, jump, and climb their way through any set of obstacles. Instructors from Move Free Academy teach students how to protect and enhance their ability to move through their environment with style and speed.  Classes offered at the PEAK through the Mercer Island Boys & Girls Club.

Volleyballology – a Boys U8 – U13 Volleyball Program

Volleyballology makes volleyball an equal-opportunity sport on Mercer Island.  Founded and coached by Billie Hwang, Volleyballology is a volleyball training club and training program for boys ages 8 through 13.

Unified Sports Mercer Island

The Mercer Island High School is a new participant in the Special Olympics Project UNIFY®, and they’re off with flying colors. This month, the first-ever MIHS Unified Basketball Team, made up of players with and without disabilities, won the final Unified Team basketball tournament at Rainier Beach High School.

Special Olympics Project UNIFY® is an education and sports-based strategy powered by an engaged youth community that increases athletic and leadership opportunities for students with and without intellectual disabilities, while creating communities of acceptance for all.

MIHS is currently looking for soccer players to form their next team – MIHS Unified Soccer. Interested? Contact Susan Jobe or Mark Zmuda, MIHS Athletic Director and Assistant Principal.

Just across the bridge . . .

Seattle Bouldering Project

With youth programs for kids as young as four years old, the Seattle Bouldering Project offers a range of climbing classes to introduce kids to the sport as well as advanced classes for teenagers interested in mastering more advanced climbing techniques. Hop off the first exit on I-90 going west and you’re practically there – SBP is so close to Mercer Island (and so popular with local families), we had to mention it.

What non-traditional sport does your child love?  Share with us in the comments . . .