NEWRY, Maine (March 25) — It came down to the wire, but U.S. SnowboardTeam rider Kelly Clark (Mt. Snow, VT) did what she needed to do and wona snowboardcross Sunday at the X-Nix U.S. Snowboard Championships atSunday River. The win gave her the overall Chevy Truck U.S. SnowboardGrand Prix title and a new Chevy Truck. Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson wonthe men’s snowboardcross.
ESPN will air coverage of the Championships April 12 at 2 p.m. EST.
Going into the snowboardcross, Clark needed to win and teammate TriciaByrnes (Stratton Mt., VT) had to finish worse than second for the 17year-old to take the crown. Clark did her part and won, while Byrnes,primarily a halfpipe rider, rode well but came across the finish linefourth in the finals.
It was Clark’s second national title in less than 24 hours as she wasvictorious Saturday night in the superpipe contest. The overall pointstitle includes the competitor’s best three results of the Grand Prixseason and Clark had the two wins plus a second place finish in pipeearlier in the year at Mammoth Mountain, CA to give her a total of 2,800points.
However, it still wasn’t decided as Byrnes won superpipe events at OkemoMountain, Vermont and Mammoth and took second at Breckenridge, Colo.,also giving her 2,800 points for her best three events.
To break the tie, the next best finishes for each were looked at. Itjust so happened that both Clark and Byrnes had 600 points; Byrnes for athird place finish in Saturday’s superpipe and Clark for a third atOkemo. So down the list the organizers went yet again. Clark’s fifthbest result was a third, again 600 points, at Breckenridge, whileByrnes’ fifth best result was her fourth place finish Sunday insnowboardcross, worth just 500 points.
After some tabulations and deliberations, the title and Chevy S-10pickup were awarded to Clark, who was already the reigning U.S.snowboardcross champion.
“I can’t believe it, it hasn’t hit me yet,” said Clark. “It’s amazing,who would have ever thought?”
Out of the gate, Clark had the holeshot but Amy Johnson (Rochester, NY)made a tight pass on her around a gate and led the field before Clarkcaught her and passed her for the victory. Canadian Ivana Trudel wasthird, followed by Byrnes and Lynn Ott (Bend, OR).
“I got a good start and I was out in first,” said Clark. “After thefirst step-down, I was probably a foot away from a gate and Amy passedme on the inside. It scared the bejeezus out of me. So I was on her tailand chasing her the rest of the course. The only time I had the pass wasover the step-up and step-down so I went over them and gunned it to thenext berm and cut her off.”
Clark picked up $1,700 for each of her two wins and has the choice oftaking the pickup or the cash equivalent.
“I don’t know exactly what I’m gonna do,” said Clark, who already owns a’97 Chevy Blazer. “I might take the money (instead of the truck), tradein my old Blazer and get a new one, a sick 2001 one.”
The men’s race wasn’t quite as suspenseful since Danny Kass (Hamburg,NJ) wrapped up the overall title by winning his third superpipe event ofthe season Saturday night. However, Anderson is always fun to watch andhe didn’t disappoint, picking up the win over teammate Mathieu Morencyand Jason Evans (Putney, VT).
A well-rounded rider, Anderson won the men’s title and truck last seasonat the final event of the year at Okemo ? also a snowboardcross. Hefinished this year with two wins, also topping the podium in a parallelgiant slalom at Breckenridge. However, his third best result was asecond, not good enough to match Kass’ three wins.
Primarily an alpine racer, Anderson competed Sunday in soft boots duethe many step-downs and airs on the Pat Malendoski-built course.
“The course was awesome,” said Clark. “They changed it a little sinceWednesday (when an ISF snowboardcross was run) and some of the thingswere better. The only thing I didn’t like on the course, they took outin practice, so it worked out good. It had a lot of berms and a lot ofrollers. It was a really long course, a leg-burner.”
Evans was named the U.S. snowboardcross champion since he was the topAmerican to finish the men’s race.
Action continues Monday on Sunday River’s Barker Mountain with men’s andwomen’s Continental Cup superpipe contests. Riders will have the chanceto pick up some valuable FIS points that will help towards gainingmaximum quota spots for their country at the ’02 Olympics.
X-NIX U.S. SNOWBOARD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sunday River, Maine
March 25, 2001
1. Jasey Jay Anderson, Canada
2. Mathieu Morency, Canada
3. Jason Evans, Putney, Vermont
4. Eric Warren, Bennington, Vermont
5. Zachary Kay, Mount Shasta, Calif.
6. Ryan Neptune, Boise, Idaho
7. Graham Watanabe, Sun Valley, Idaho
8. Nicola Fontaine, Canada
9. Colter Deupree, USA
10. Jonathan Laurence, Rockport, Maine
1. Kelly Clark, Mt. Snow, Vermont
2. Amy Johnson, Rochester, New York
3. Ivana Trudel, Canada
4. Tricia Byrnes, Stratton Mt., Vermont
5. Lynn Ott, Bend, Ore.
6. Rebecca Bassett, Quincy, Wash.
7. Karen Murray, Canada