Friday, April 8, 2011

Roemer stays in hunt for USASA overall title

Halfpipe queen at Copper

Posing in their dark sweatshirts during this week’s USASA national snowboard competition at Copper Mountain, Colo. are Sun Valley Snowboard Team members, from left, Chase Josey, Ryan Roemer, Rex Kelly, Head Shred Andy Gilbert, Jacob Tyler, Clara Jenner (in front), Cameron St. Pierre, Hailey Rheinschild, Mal Prior and Ali Appleton. Courtesy photo

Ryan Roemer's chase for the overall national championship in the Youth Men's 14-15 age class has been one of the intriguing things for the Sun Valley Snowboard Team this week at Copper Mountain, Colo.

There, the 22nd annual United States of America Snowboard Association (USASA) national snowboard championships are taking place—and Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation athlete Roemer, 15, of Bellevue has been in the hunt for a title.

Boardercross is one of Roemer's strongest events. Two years ago he won the silver medal in the event at nationals. On Wednesday, Roemer needed another solid result in boardercross to keep his hopes alive for the five-event championship.

He got it with a fourth-place result that showed "what a great all-around rider he is," according to SVSEF Head Shred Andy Gilbert. Along with his other results (5th giant slalom, 4th halfpipe, 19th slopestyle), Roemer rolled into the slalom finale Thursday.

The national champion was to be announced after the slalom.

Gilbert said about Wednesday's boardercross, "Ryan started things off in a good way, posting the fastest qualifying time in the time trials—giving him the easiest path to the finals. In the semis, things got interesting as Ryan made some contact and, in his words, did a Ninja Turtle back spin, stood back up and still finished third.

"In the final, Ryan and another rider made board contact and he went down. Ryan was still fast enough to make a great pass in the bottom section to pull down fourth place. It was still a great race for Ryan."

Also competing Wednesday in slopestyle were Chase Josey 22nd and Mal Prior 44th in Men's Open Class. Both also competed Tuesday in the marquee halfpipe, since the class has some of the best riders in the U.S. and the next wave of X Games and Dew Tour riders.

In the qualifying runs Josey finished 12th and made it into a finals field that included Junior World Championship silver medalist Taylor Gold. And in the finals, Josey landed firmly in sixth place. Gilbert said, "A huge result for Chase and a great cap to a big year."

The coach added, "In the finals Chase dropped into a straight air to FS 720, Hakkon 720, Crippler 720 to huge Crippler 540 and a BS 900. He butt-checked on the 9 and would need to clean it up for a better score. On his second run he landed all the tricks and muscled out the 900 for sixth place."

In only her third boardercross Tuesday, 10-year-old Clara Jenner won a heat and finished a re-spectable eighth in Menehune Girls' 10-11. In Youth Men 14-15, Cameron St. Pierre was 29th slope-style.

Gilbert said, "This has been a great nationals for the Sun Valley Snowboard Team. We've had a top-10 finish every day. We continue to be in the mix against some of the best riders and great pro-grams from all over the country. Having 15 kids qualify for nationals (8 ended up making the trip) bodes well for the future."

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