NCK Raptors Finish Season at Kaw River State Park, Topeka, KS

Topeka, KS – The final race for the NCK Raptors was held May 21st at Kaw River State Park, northwest edge of Topeka, KS for the fifth race of season three of Kansas NICA’s mountain bike race series. The Kaw River State Park trails offered a roller coaster ride along the Kansas River through beautiful tree-lined hills and an amazing backdrop view of our capital city. The 124 student athletes in the biking community joining the NCK Raptors came from Topeka, Emporia, Hutchinson, Leavenworth, Lawrence, Manhattan, Wichita, Louisburg and Olathe. The rainfall from Friday caused an hour delay in the pre-ride for Saturday to allow trails to dry, resulting in a pleasantly packed singletrack for the weekend of racing events on Sunday.

Clayton Underwood, 6th grade NCK Raptor, conquered one of the tough hill climbs with teammate Brodey Schreiber close behind at Kaw River State Park, Topeka, KS, Sunday, May 21st. Photo by Danielle Jeardoe.

The junior high boys began the racing at 9:30 a.m. with Jeremiah Roderick finishing 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 19th, Brodey Schreiber in 20th and Luke Hartsock in 21st. Sixth grade boys were next with Clayton Underwood for a 5th place podium placing, Marcus Hollerich in 9th place and Zerrick Betzold in 14th, all completing 2 laps.

The lady Raptors were the next wave with 8th grade racers of Norah Ellenz placing 2nd, Olivia Dail in 3rd, Keira Schmitt in 7th, Anastasya Schreiber in 8th and Abby Rigney in 9th all completing two laps. Vanessa Underwood finished in 10th with one lap. The 7th grade girls division both with two laps were Izabell Dail in 1st and Addisen Schreiber with 3rd. 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 2nd in overall season points. Darien Schreiber raced in the JV division with 4 laps and an 8th place finish. Chris & Darien wrapped up their third season with the Raptors as they have graduated as Seniors this year. The Freshman boys completing 4 laps were Luke Hollerich in 11th and Colton Jeardoe in 14th. Isaac Palen finished 2 laps with 16th place.

“The NCK Raptor athletes had an amazing final race demonstrating all the biking skills learned throughout the season. The Topeka Kaw River State Park trails were tough, but our Raptors rose to the challenge.  All of us coaches are extremely proud of our athletes and look forward to season four in the spring of 2024,” commented Coach John McClure.

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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