Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Farrington, Ballou dazzle in USASA pipe

On the podium at Copper Mountain


USASA Open Class menís halfpipe bronze medalist Kenny Ballou, 17, of Hailey (center) poses at Copper Mountain with SVSEF coaches, from left, Josh Keefer, Andy Gilbert, Jacob Tyler and Jon French. Photo by

The Sun Valley Snowboard Team had an outstanding week at the USASA Nationals Championships April 5-10 at Copper Mt, Co. Nearly 1,500 athletes registered for the event.

Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation snowboard program director Andy Gilbert said 12 riders made the trip to compete in halfpipe, slopestyle and boardercross. Coaches Gilbert, Jon French, Jacob Tyler and Josh Keefer accompanied the riders on the big trip.

The big news was in the Open Class halfpipe, an event that attracted many of the "cream of the crop" competing today, according to Gilbert.

SVSEF Olympic Development Team rider Kaitlyn Farrington, 19, defended her title—dropping in switch to a cab 900 that most of here male counterparts would kill for. She amassed 93.8 points, winning by a large margin of 16 points.

On guys' side of the Open Class, 17-year-old Kenny Ballou of Hailey earned a bronze medal with a run that included a switch straight air to switch backside 900!

Ballou piled up 84.5 points in the 39-rider class, behind first-place Ben Stewart, 19, a New Zealander who pulled a McTwist 20 feet out of the pipe to thrill the observers.

Gilbert said, "The Open class halfpipe is the marquee event at nationals. Having two Sun Valley riders on the podium is a big accomplishment."

The coach said he was pleased the judges recognized Ballou's ability. Gilbert said, "Kenny goes things no one else is doing, and he does them with subtlety. Sometimes he is overlooked because of it."

In the age group competitions at Copper Mountain, Sun Valley riders were very strong and competitive, posting five top-15 results.

They included strong runs from Josie Bunce in slopestyle (6th Youth Women 14-15), Ali Appleton in halfpipe (7th) and Chase Josey in slopestyle (5th).

Ryan Roemer, 13, of Bellevue had an outstanding day in boardercross for the 55-rider Breaker Boys 12-13 year old division, placing second.

Roemer got the hole shot in every heat he ran. He was smaller than most of the riders in his division, but he rode a great line and was constantly looking for speed on the course. His smile crossing the finish line told the story, you would have no idea he finished in second by less than a board length.

In a season when everything started late and riders were working at a disadvantage you would have never known, every one worked extremely hard to qualify for this event, Gilbert said. He added the results bode well for the future since this is a very young team.

Local results by event, including some riders not affiliated with the SVST:

Halfpipe

Breaker boys 12-13: 46—Chase Josey (fell going for the win).

Youth women 14-15: 7—Ali Appleton. 12—Hailey Rheinschild.

Junior men 16-17: 24—Cary Reinemann.

Open Class men: 3—Kenny Ballou. 23—Ross Bird. 24—Scott Pike. 25—JJ Martin. 29—Mal Prior.

Open Class women: 1—Kaitlyn Farrington.

Slopestyle

Breaker boys 12-13: 5—Chase Josey. 26—Ryan Roemer.

Youth women 14-15: 6—Josie Bunce. 12—Ali Appleton.

Open Class men: 24—Kenny Ballou. 47—JJ Martin. 52—Mal Prior.

Open Class women: 18—Kaitlyn Farrington.

Boardercross

Youth men 14-15: 18—Sam Strong. 40—Hayden Burdge.

Breaker boys 12-13: 2—Ryan Roemer. 41—Chase Josey.




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