NCK Raptors Compete in 4th Race at Snake Farm Showdown

LAWRENCE, KS – The NCK Raptors travelled to Snake Farm north of Lawrence, KS for the fourth race of season three of Kansas NICA’s mountain bike race series held May 7th. The Snake Farm trails offer a mix of single track cut through the limestone hillside and wide-open swaths that twist through the tall grass prairie. The 126 student athletes joining the NCK Raptors came from Topeka, Emporia, Hutchinson, Leavenworth, Lawrence, Manhattan, Wichita, Louisburg and Olathe. Heat and humidity were a factor for this race weekend, but the mountain bike racers didn’t let it stop them from enjoying the hilly, rocky singletrack this venue had to offer.

Keira Schmitt, 8th grade NCK Raptor, tackles the downhill singletrack at ‘Snake Farm Showdown’, Lawrence, KS, Sunday, May 7th. Photo by Danielle Jeardoe

The Snake Farm Showdown bike races began at 9:30 a.m. with the junior high boys. Jeremiah Roderick finished two laps in the 8th grade division for a 5th place podium placing. The 7th grade boys competing with 2 laps were Zane Betzold in 22nd and Luke Hartsock in 23rd. Marcus Hollerich finished in 12th place racing in the 6th grade category to complete 2 laps. Also 6th grade with one lap was Clayton Underwood in 16th and Zerrick Betzold finishing in 17th. The race laps were approx. 3 miles of slight elevation changes adding to the challenge.

The lady Raptors were the next wave with 8th grade racers of Norah Ellenz placing 2nd, Olivia Dail in 4th and Keira Schmitt in 6th, all completing two laps. Riding 1 lap were Vanessa Underwood in 7th and Abby Rigney in 8th. Izabell Dail finished in 1st for a podium finish in the 7th grade girls division with two laps. Elizabeth Palen, 6th grade, completed 2 laps for a 2nd place podium finish.

Chris Heise competed as Varsity with 5 laps and a 4th place finish and 3rd in overall season points. The Freshman boys each completed 4 laps with Isaac Palen placing 4th, Luke Hollerich in 12th and Colton Jeardoe in 14th.

“The NCK Raptor athletes had an absolutely awesome race weekend at Snake Farm. I’m so proud of all of our athletes for the skills, determination and sportsmanship demonstrated at the event,” commented Coach John McClure. The 5th and final race of the season, Takin on Topeka, will be held at Topeka, KS, May 21st.

For more information about joining the team or to join as a coach, visit For more information about the Kansas League, visit

Derek Nester
Derek Nester
Derek Nester was born and raised in Blue Rapids and graduated from Valley Heights High School in 2000. He attended Cowley College in Arkansas City and Johnson County Community College in Overland Park studying Journalism & Media Communications. In 2002 Derek joined Taylor Communications, Inc. in Salina, Kansas working in digital media for 550 AM KFRM and 100.9 FM KCLY. Following that stop, he joined Dierking Communications, Inc. stations KNDY AM & FM as a board operator and fill-in sports play-by-play announcer. Starting in 2005 Derek joined the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network as a Studio Coordinator at 101 The Fox in Kansas City, a role he would serve for 15 years culminating in the Super Bowl LIV Championship game broadcast. In 2020 he moved to Audacy, formerly known as Entercom Communications, Inc. and 106.5 The Wolf and 610 Sports Radio, the new flagship stations of the Kansas City Chiefs Radio Network, the largest radio network in the NFL. Through all of this, Derek continues to serve as the Digital Media Director for Sunflower State Radio, the digital and social media operations of Dierking Communications, Inc. and the 6 radio stations it owns and operates across Kansas.


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