Miller School senior cyclist Jake King made history Wednesday, becoming the first Maverick to earn a college scholarship.
He then topped that by signing his first professional contract.
"It's been a long time coming, and a lot of hard work has gone into it so it feels good to have finally made it and signed the papers," King said Wednesday.
King will ride at Milligan College in Tennessee, one of just fifteen schools in the country that compete at the varsity level in cycling.
"This was one of my goals. So to achieve it and step to the next level and race at a bigger level is definitely incredible," King explained.
Milligan coaches were well aware of King's success at Miller. In addition to leading the Mavericks to a state team title, King is also a state champ himself.
"It meant a lot but it also means a lot more when you have your teammates with you there the whole time and it's just as much their win as it is yours," he explained.
"He's the team captain," Miller coach Andy Guptill added. "When we go to races, guys are looking at him, 'What's Jake doing for his warmup? What's Jake wearing? Is he using legwarmers today or a long sleeve jersey?' They really look to Jake as sort of their bellwhether for what they should be doing."
King takes pride in Miller's team title and cautions people to look past the sport being considered individualistic.
"If you look at it closely, it's almost like a high-speed chess game," he explained. "You have your whole team out there with just the subtle strategies to make just the biggest difference in the world."
While he's at Milligan, King will also be a part of the Hincapie Sportswear junior development team. He signed his first professional contract with the team Wednesday.
"This Hincapie Sportswear team isn't just any team, it's 'the' team, the choice for a rider like Jake that's coming out of the junior ranks and looking to make it to the highest level of the sport," Guptill explained.
"That's another one of the goals," King said. "Ever since I was an itty bitty child, you dream of being a professional cyclist. Professional in any sport, you know? And to have the opportunity to go to a college that supports it so much and race collegiately? I mean yeah it felt good, for sure."
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