Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Graham slam

Watanabe finishes third in overall World Cup standings

Express Staff Writer

Graham Watanabe (left) Alex Pullin and Pierre Vaultier celebrate on the podium at La Molina, Spain, as the top three finishers in the LG FIS World Cup snowboardcross standings. Watanabe, a Wood River Valley native, was the top American in the standings. Photo by

After a long season, Sun Valley's Graham Watanabe finished third overall in the LG FIS World Cup snowboardcross standings.

Competing on his 28th birthday Friday at La Molina, Spain, Watanabe rode to sixth place in the final World Cup race of the 2009-10 season. Watanabe finished with a total of 2,860 points. He was third in the overall standings and the top American, finishing behind champion Pierre Vaultier of France and Australia's Alex Pullin. Pullin grabbed second in the overall rankings by virtue of runner-up finish to Vaultier in the final race, edging Watanabe by a mere 60 points.

La Molina marked Vaultier's fifth World Cup victory of the season, giving the Frenchman an insurmountable lead of 5,800 points.

American's Nate Holland (2,240) and Nick Baumgartner (2,090) finished fourth and fifth in the overall standings. Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott was 13th.

Posting consistent standings throughout the season, Watanabe's top individual showing was third place at Chalpeco, Argentina, in September. He had four other top ten finishes.

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