NEWRY, Maine (March 22) à‚Ë† It was tough to see it happen, but JeffGreenwood (Hartford, CT) and Rosey Fletcher (Girdwood, AK) won U.S.slalom titles Thursday in blinding snow at the X-Nix U.S. SnowboardChampionships at Sunday River.
ESPN will broadcast coverage of the Championships April 12 at 2 p.m.EST.
The first event of the Championships got underway as scheduled despiteheavy snowfall that quickly blanketed the long course with slow whitestuff. A major Nor’easter moved into the area Wednesday night and dumpedsix to eight inches of fresh snow on the Sunday Punch course by the timethe final racer crossed the finish line in the early afternoon.On-course visibility for the racers was less than optimal as spectatorscould see no more than four or five gates from the finish area at times.
The X-Nix U.S. Snowboard Championships also double as the Chevy TruckU.S. Snowboard Grand Prix Finals, so not only are the U.S. titles on theline, but competitors can earn valuable Grand Prix points. The overallmen’s and women’s Grand Prix winners, to be named Sunday, will take homenew Chevy Trucks and several thousand in bonus monies.
Greenwood, a member of the U.S. Snowboard Team, laid down a two-runcombined time of 1:58.18. Canadian Jasey Jay Anderson, last season’soverall tour winner, took second in 1:59.85 and Canadian JeromeSylvestre was third in 2:00.97.
For the U.S. riders, Chris Klug (Aspen, CO) was fourth with a time of2:01.66 and Ryan McDonald (Entiat, WA) was eighth in 2:03.63. Klug waslast season’s overall Grand Prix alpine champion.
It was the third national slalom title for Greenwood as he won the crownin ’99 and ’97. He also won the giant slalom championship in ’97.Greenwood was on a good pace all day as he led after the opening runwith a time of 58.60.
Fletcher retained her title by smoking the field with a combined time of2:01.41. She beat second place finisher Stacia Hookom (Edwards, CO) byalmost nine and a half seconds as Hookom, a U.S. Team athlete, posted a2:10.88. Japanese rider Ran Iida was third in 2:11.99.
Completing the top-three U.S. finishers was Sondra Van Ert (Ketchum,ID), who finished fourth with a time of 2:12.40. Van Ert currently holdsthe overall alpine title from last season.
Like Greenwood, Fletcher also led after the first run with a 59.97. Shewas the lone women’s rider to record a sub-minute time all day. In fact,Fletcher’s times were so fast, she would have finished fourth in themen’s race. It was her fifth career U.S. title and fourth in slalom.
“I just tried to keep my focus and race my own race,” said Fletcher. “Itwas different. We never get to race two-run slaloms, so inspection wasreally important. The second course was set a little straighter and youcould let it run on the flats.”
Fletcher’s season has been super solid as she posted six podiumfinishes, including three wins, on the FIS World Cup circuit. The ’96U.S. Open slalom winner ended the year in third in the overall World Cupstandings.
“I love slalom and it turned out to be my event this season,” saidFletcher.
The course was one of the longest seen in snowboard slalom as the firstrun featured almost 60 gates. The new snow made the course run extremelyslow, so a few gates were removed and the course set straighter for thesecond run.
The X-Nix U.S. Snowboard Championships continue Friday with parallelgiant slalom, one of two disciplines to be run at the 2002 Olympics.Superpipe, the second Olympic event, will be contested Saturday and theevent concludes Sunday with snowboardcross.
X-NIX U.S. SNOWBOARD CHAMPIONSHIPS
Sunday River, Maine
March 22, 2001
1. Jeff Greenwood, Hartford, Conn., 1:58.18
2. Jasey Jay Anderson, Canada, 1:59.85
3. Jerome Sylvestre, Canada, 2:00.97
4. Chris Klug, Aspen, Colo., 2:01.66
5. Claude Boivin, Canada, 2:01.91
6. Mark Fawcett, Canada, 2:03.08
7. Stefan Boeck, Austria, 2:03.13
8. Ryan McDonald, Entiat, Wash., 2:03.63
9. Benjamin Fairrchild, Kirkland, Wash., 2:03.93
10. Graham Watanabe, Sun Valley, Idaho, 2:04.03
1. Rosey Fletcher, Girdwood, Alaska, 2:01.41
2. Stacia Hookom, Edwards, Colo., 2:10.88
3. Ran Iida, Japan, 2:11.99
4. Sondra Van Ert, Ketchum, Idaho, 2:12.40
5. Helene Cloutier, Canada, 2:12.44
6. Miho Hasegawa, Japan, 2:14.99
7. Claire Cetera, Sun Valley, Idaho, 2:18.05
8. Lynn Ott, Bend, Ore., 2:18.07
9. Alexa Loo, Canada, 2:19.19
10. Michelle Charles, Canada, 2:19.67