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West Virginia University faculty member selected to serve on national cycling organization board

The National Interscholastic Cycling Association has announced that West Virginia University faculty member Kristen Dieffenbach will serve as a new member of their national board of directors. Dieffenbach, director, Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences in the College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences, was selected following a four-month interview and review process.

As an NICA board member, Dieffenbach contributes her extensive background as a competitive cyclist, 20 plus years of coaching developmental and elite cyclists and working in coach education in the national cycling community with USA Cycling. “The work that I do to develop and support coaching education and development systems across a wide range of organizations will help support NICA’s mission and vision,” she said.

“Kristen brings a wealth of experiences and knowledge about cycling, long-term athlete development and coaching to the position on the NICA National Board of Directors. The NICA's mission and vision align well with Dr. Dieffenbach’s position as director of the Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences while guiding their initiatives,” Valerie Wayda, associate dean for undergraduate and academic affairs and program coordinator for athletic coaching education, said.

In addition to the Center for Applied Coaching and Sport Sciences in CPASS, Dieffenbach holds several related qualifications, including the USA Cycling Certified Elite Coach certification. She has served in various positions with national and international organizations, including the United States Center for Coaching Excellence and Association for Applied Sport Psychology.

Dieffenbach says that she was honored to be asked to join the board, which is led by her former athlete and now colleague Amanda Carey, NICA president. “I am excited to help in the continued development of a growing organization. This group is bringing best evidence-based practices for long term holistic development to life for young people. It provides access and opportunity to engage in a lifetime sport that has been such a big part of my life since learning to ride when I was five,” she said.

NICA has 31 scholastic leagues which incorporate middle and high school students around the country, including the WV Interscholastic Cycling League. “I have been involved with NICA for more than a decade, speaking at their national conference and at state events, supporting their volunteer coaching and long-term athlete development work,” Dieffenbach said.

The NICA racing organization hosts a variety of programs that promote entry and engagement for youth and families into a cycling community and lifestyle. Programs include NICA GRiT (Girls Riding Together), NICA Teen Trail Corp and NICA Adventure.

Dieffenbach says that joining the board aligns with the research and applied work she has focused on as a coach, performance consultant and director of the CACSS. “It provides opportunities to expand on the efforts that my students and I have done with coaching education within the WVICL. Being an NICA board member complements what I do as a WVICL board member, advisor of the WV Cycling Club and a mentor rider with the Morgantown chapter of Little Bellas,” she added.

Dieffenbach says she is looking forward to finding opportunities to continue to support cycling in the community and state. “Specifically, I want to support the exciting pilot project that the Youth Cycling Coalition awarded to Morgantown last year. This effort will help students with a passion for sport science and cycling find ways to bring their academic backgrounds to real world application,” she explained.

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