Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cordovano repeats as USCSA snowboard king

NCAA finals wrap up in Montana

Hailey's Spencer Cordovano, 20, has repeated as the overall individual men's champion of the U.S. Collegiate Skiing and Snowboard (USCSA) national championships, this year staged at Sunday River, Me.

Cordovano, a Sierra Nevada College sophomore from the Lake Tahoe area, won Friday's boardercross and followed it up with a huge 1.61-second victory in Saturday's giant slalom to take the combined title over SNC teammate Seth Gunsauls.

The Wood River High School graduate got a slow start with a 22nd place in Wednesday's slopestyle but he came on strong to win the overall and lead Sierra Nevada to its third consecutive national snowboarding team championship.

SNC freshman Austen Butler, Cordovano's teammate on the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation snowboard team, finished a strong fourth of 61 men in Wednesday's slopestyle and added 18th place in boardercross. He finished 24th overall in his first USCSA national finals.

At the recent Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Revolution Tour event near Scranton, Pa., Cordovano placed first in men's boardercross Feb. 29 and Butler was third in men's halfpipe the following day.

Facing stiff competition and difficult weather conditions, Cordovano posted his best finish of the 2007-08 season. SNC snowboard coach Tony Carlstrom said, "It was nice to see Spencer get one. He's been training real hard and staying focused and hasn't had all the breaks."

Butler managed to make the finals of the halfpipe event, where he laid down his best run—going huge off the first hit and landing an inverted 900 spin. He cleanly landed the best trick of the day. The coach said, "This was the day Austen was waiting for all season. He looked good in practice and nailed his finals run."

Cordovano will travel to Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia March 21-30 as part of the U.S. team headed to the Junior World Championships. He'll compete in boardercross, alpine and big air during his first trip to Russia.

NCAA finals in Bozeman

Denver University's ski team rallied from 18 points down entering the final day to win the NCAA Ski Championship Saturday as the four-day event hosted by Montana State University wrapped up in Bozeman.

Coach Andy LeRoy's Denver team got a lift from its dominating alpine racers at Bridger Bowl on the final day of slalom to win the 21-team championships with 649.5 points over University of Colorado (619). Utah (550) was third, defending champ Dartmouth (546) fourth and Middlebury College (529) fifth.

In Friday's 15-kilometer women's classic cross-country ski racer, Middlebury College's Alexa Turzian, 19, placed 8th and Montana State's Kaelin Kiesel was 12th. The former Sun Valley Junior Nordic ski team racers placed 4th (Turzian) and 14th (Kiesel) in Wednesday's 5k skate.

University of Vermont senior Zac Brown of Sun Valley placed 19th of 33 racers in Thursday's men's giant slalom and 28th in Saturday's slalom.

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