Youth boarders bring home medals

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— Steamboat Springs snowboarders posted some big results at the biggest snowboard competition in the world - the USASA National Championships - Saturday at Northstar at Tahoe, Calif.

No local riders were able to emerge out of the field of 1,479 competitors as an overall age division champion, but four riders (Nik Baden, Skylar Weir, Carter Smalley and Arielle Gold) took the runner-up spots.

That doesn't mean the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club riders didn't see their share of the podium at a competition featuring two Alpine events (slalom and giant slalom), two freestyle events (halfpipe and slopestyle) and boardercross. Between the individual and overall finishes, Steamboat took home 50 medals - 12 gold, 23 silver and 15 bronze and 88 top-ten finishes.

Kevan Beall and Carter Smalley, who won slalom and bordercross titles, respectively, also won the giant slalom events to secure overall Alpine titles. Maddy Schaffrick and Mike Trapp also took home giant slalom gold.

"Trapp came from behind in every heat to qualify, but couldn't quite sneak into the (boardercross) finals," Winter Sports Club snowboard program director Jon Casson said.

He said he also was proud to see Mick Dierdorff and Cleve Johnson advance to the open-class boardercross finals in one of the strongest fields he had seen this season. "Mick and Cleve were solid all day. Unfortunately Cleve crashed in the finals, but Mick was able to hold onto third place. It's his first year in the open class and he really held his own against some big names."

In the pipe, Taylor Gold lived up to his name and won the "intensely competitive Breaker Boys" division by linking a corked frontside 900 grab to a pair of back-to-back 720s for a near-perfect score of 95.

"It was his perfect run he has been working toward all season," said junior snowboard team coach Collin Jenks.

Arielle Gold grabbed another first-place halfpipe medal for the family with her victory in the Menehune Girls division. Arielle Gold and Nik Baden reached the podium in four of five events, helping Baden to two overall titles.

Junior head coach Jo Richards was proud to see four Winter Sports Club athletes - Weir, Schaffrick, Summer Smalley and Cassie Wagar - not only compete in all five disciplines of the Breaker Girls division, but also finish second, third, fifth and sixth overall, respectively.

"Any one of them is capable of winning each event on any day and it's amazing that we have four of the top six 12 to 13-year-old girls in the U.S.," Richards said.

Casson also highlighted the performances of Chloe Banning and Will Peddie, who arrived straight after competing for the USASA All America Team at the Swiss Junior Boardercross Championships. After winning the Swiss championship, Banning took second in both halfpipe and boardercross at the U.S. Nationals. Peddie took sixth at both competitions.

"I'm so proud that he took the risk trying to pass and going for the win instead of settling for second," senior coach Eric Rolls said of Peddie, who won all his heats and then crashed in the finals.

Visit www.usasa.org for full results.

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