MOULTRIE -- Ten members of Team Pineland Park BMX took top-10 finishes in the state championships in November and Paige Walton went on to a fine performance in the President's Cup in Columbus, Ohio, on Dec. 27-28.

Not a bad start for bicycle motocross in Colquitt County.

The Pineland Park BMX track, located behind the Colquitt County Board of Education offices at the former Pineland School, opened last June 30 and the local BMX group already has succeeded in landing the state championships for 2003.

The sport in growing in popularity in Colquitt County, especially since the opening of track.

"We had kids coming in even at the end of the season," said Beau Sherman, who is the track director and one of those instrumental in getting a track for the county. "We hope those kids return and we get more.

"It's a fun, fun family sport. People are finding out how much fun it is."

And Sherman is speaking from hands-on experience. He is one of those from Moultrie who competed in the state championships and the President's Cup, racing in the 40-44 cruiser class.

Sherman took first place in the state meet.

Others who went to state were Cody Weaver, 6, fifth place; Eli Crosby, 7, fourth place; Brandon Hughes, 6, ninth place; Stephen Moore, 9, third place; Garrett Brewer, 8, third place; Paige Walton, 10, second place; Randy Cabino, 25-29 class, first place; Morgan Castellow, 12, third place; and Jake Sherman, 11, fifth place.

The state meet drew riders from Georgia, South Carolina and Florida to compete under the lights in Augusta.

"For being a first-year track, others were impressed by how many we had qualified to compete," Sherman said. "The kids worked real hard. And we did a lot of gate practice before we left."

A top-10 finish in a state competition qualified a rider for the President's Cup, and Walton and Beau Sherman elected to attend.

Walton turned in an eighth-place finish on the first day at the President's Cup and was fourth in her age group on the second day.

Beau Sherman was 12th in his age group.

June's track-opening meet drew riders from Moultrie, Sylvester, Tallahassee, Leesburg, Albany, Berlin and Newberry, Fla.

A clinic will be held at the track next month and a national event to be held Feb. 9-10 in Tallahassee could draw some local riders.

But racing will begin in Moultrie on March 2 and Sherman says he expects competitions every other weekend through September.

A Georgia Games race also will be held in April or May.

Riders must run in six local and three qualifying races to be able to take part in the state competition, which will be held in McDonough this year.

Sherman said the Moultrie track was popular with out-of-town and more experienced riders, but plans are to make it even better for the coming season. Work will be done on the first and second straightaways and first and second turns.

Dale Crosby has been elected president of the local parents association.

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