Local snowboarders end strong


Thirty-five members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club's snowboarding program set off for Copper Mountain last week in search of medals.

By the time the United States Amateur Snowboarding Association's national championships came to a close Friday, the local group had collected 20 individual event medals and 15 overall medals. Fifty-six riders placed in the top 10.

"I was shocked by how well our kids stacked up," said Jon Casson, the snowboard program director. "The amount of top 10s we had was truly amazing."

Casson credited the program's success to the dedicated staff of top coaches and the support the riders got from their parents, teammates and family.

"The best part of the week was watching the younger riders support each other, have fun, goof off and ride their best," ability freestyle coach Spencer Tamblyn said.

The Winter Sports Club qualified 40 of the 75 riders who earned spots at the nationals through the Snowboard Outreach Society Series. The series qualified the fourth largest number of riders in the competition -- which included 1,300 riders from across the country competing in slopestyle, halfpipe, boardercross, slalom and giant slalom events.

Riders also could win overall Alpine (slalom and giant slalom), overall freestyle (halfpipe and slopestyle), overall combined (Alpine and freestyle) and overall triple combined (Alpine, freestyle and boardercross) titles.

Top Steamboat finishers included Mick Dierdorff and Matt Ladley in the Breaker boys division, which included boys ages 12 and 13. Dierdorff won the time trial in the boardercross by more than a second, and he won each of his four heats en route to the title.

Ladley took top honors in the halfpipe for the second straight year. His back-to-back 540s and a front-side 720 led the field. Teammate Blake Eddington placed sixth, and Dierdorff was 11th in the division.

Carter Smalley posted four top 10 finishes, including a second in boardercross and a fourth in giant slalom to win the overall national title in the Grommet boys division, for riders 8 and 9.

Maddy Shaffrick nailed all her jumps in the slopestyle, including a front-side 180 on her last air, to top the Menehune girls division for riders who are 10 and 11.

Davis Johnson capitalized on a second-place finish in the slopestyle and a fourth in the halfpipe to bring home the overall freestyle title in the open class.

Nik Baden placed first in three of five events in the Ruggie boys division for riders 7 years old and younger.

His first-place finish in the slalom and giant slalom gave him the overall Alpine. He was also first in the overall combined, third in the overall freestyle and second in the overall triple combined.

Other top showings included Skylar Weir. She placed second in the giant slalom and third in the slalom in her first national appearance. Austin Reed placed in the top 10 of all three of his events, and Nathan Rothe's first halfpipe run had some of the biggest airs of the entire open class. He placed 11th.


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