On the way up

Dierdorff, Ladley on USASA team

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— Mick Dierdorff and Matt Ladley are two of North America's top young snowboarders.

Dierdorff competes in snowboardcross, and Ladley is a halfpipe competitor.

On Monday, the pair of Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club athletes were named to the United States of America Snowboard Assoc--iation's All-America Team.

The USASA All-America Team is made up of 45 male and female riders, ages 13 to 18, who represent the organization's top young slopestyle, snowboardcross, halfpipe and Alpine racers and riders in the U.S. and Canada.

"These are the riders to watch ... in the years to come," said Jessica Zalusky, USASA's All-America Team manager. "The USASA All-America Team members have an excellent athletic ability, great sportsmanship and the innate drive to compete at top levels."

Dierdorff, 14, will represent the U.S. in the Trofeo Topolino snowboardcross event from Monday to March 12 in Vail Di Sole, Italy.

Ladley, 14, was selected to the U.S. halfpipe team but is not traveling overseas because of his busy winter schedule, Winter Sports Club snowboard coach Jon Casson said. Casson leaves for France today to serve as the U.S. slopestyle coach there. The competitions are held in Italy, France, Switzerland and Canada.

The top nation in all snowboard disciplines wins the Trofeo Topolino, and the U.S. is the two-time defending champion. The Trofeo Topolino is one of the world's largest and most prestigious Junior World events, USASA officials said in a statement.

"We are thrilled about the quality of talent the USASA All-America Team attracts," Zalusky said. "Over the years, the sport has progressed by leaps and bounds. The athletes improve each year. We are confident that the team is a top contender for the first-place trophy against the international competition."

Other countries participating in the Trofeo Topolino are: Australia, Austria, Bel--gium, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Croa--tia, Fin--land, Germany, Great Britain, Holland, Italy, Nor--way, New Zealand, Poland, Republic of Saint Marino, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Serbia Montenegro, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain and Sweden.

Norway took second last year, and Switzerland was third.

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