Jake Visnic is like any other soon-to-be 10-year-old boy.
He plays baseball, basketball and football.
However, it is in another field that he excels.
10-year-old Jake Visnic, of St. Clairsville, stands behind his 70 cc 4-wheeler that has been drawing him national attention.
Even though he won't turn 10 until Sunday, the blonde-haired Visnic is already an accomplished ATV motocross rider.
"I've been riding since I was four," said Visnic, who will be a fourth-grader at St. Clairsville Elementary this fall. "I got a Yamaha 50 for Christmas and that got me started.
"We (my parents and I) went to a track and I found out it was my thing."
His father, Rob, said he saw his son pedaling a bicycle without training wheels at the age of 2 and knew then he had a future.
"We (my wife, Melissa, and I) have no idea where he got the skills, but I bought him a dirt bike right then," the elder Visnic noted. "It wasn't long after that that we got him a 4-wheeler."
Now the younger Visnic competes in three different divisions, and is pretty successful in all of them.
He races on the ATV MX Nationals Series, which, according to his father, is "the only true series for quads." He competes in the 70 CVT (6-11 years old), the 90 Automatic Jr. (8-11) and 90 Modified (8-11).
"I've been getting some top 3s and top 5s for the most part," the younger Visnic recalled, "but I've also had a couple of bad finishes."
According to the ATV MX Nationals web site, the young Belmont County racer is currently fourth in the 70 CVT classification with 140 points, which is 27 behind the leader - Trevor Thatcher, of Swanton, Oh. He is fifth in the 90 Automatic Jr. division with 118 points, which is 81 points behind the leader, but he is only 45 points from second. In the 90 modified, he stands seventh, 105 points behind the front-runner.
"I like the 70 CVT and 90 Automatic Jr. better," he admitted. He has stood on the podium three times in the 70 CVT class, including last weekend at Unadilla in New Berlin, N.Y. and twice in the 90 Automatic Jr.
The 10-race series travels all over the eastern past of the United States. It includes stops in Ohio, Alabama, Kentucky, Maryland, Georgia, Illinois and Pennsylvania. It starts in mid-March and ends in Mid-August.
Next weekend (July 28-29) will be Round 9 at RedBud in Buchanan, Mich. The series concludes on Aug. 11-12 at Loretta Lynn's in Hurricane Mills, Tn.
"That's what they call the Super Bowl of Motocross," Rob Visnic explained. "The track is actually on her property. The mansion and museum are within walking distance, and most competitors make it a week-long event."
When not traveling across the eastern half of the U.S., Visnic is a regular at Fly MX Park in Fly, Oh., where he has already captured six season championships. According to his father, he can wrap up another pair this season.
Visnic is sponsored by Team Hetrick, of Oil City, Pa.
"It's a family-owned shop that has been very successful," the elder Visnic said. "They have really given us a lot of support and such."
Visnic's mother, the former Melissa Hammond, has been inducted into numerous hall of fames for her basketball talents.
North can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org