America Sends 24 To World Juniors in Czech

PARK CITY, Utah (Feb. 5) -- A solid crew of young halfpipe, snowboard cross and alpine riders gear up to represent U.S. Snowboarding at the Junior World Championships Feb. 11-14 in both Klinovec, Czech Republic and Oberwiesenthal, Germany.

Those named to the 2004 Junior World Team include: Halfpipe Men: Alex Diebold (17, Manchester Center, VT), Michael Goldschmidt (16, Bondville, VT), Stephen Meyers (19, Mammoth Lakes, CA), Kevin Pearce (16, Norwich, VT), Shayne Pospisil (18, Manasquan, NJ), Louie Vito (15, Bellefontaine, OH). Halfpipe Women: Clair Bidez (16, Minturn, CO), Kimberly Fasani (19, Mammoth Lakes, CA), Elena Hight (14, Zephyr Cove, NV), Victoria Koski (17, Steamboat Springs, CO), Mary Sallah (16, Toledo, OH). Snowboard Cross Men: Jayson Hale (18, Sierraville, CA), Lex Carrigan Koski (17, Steamboat Springs, CO), Jonathan Cheever (18, Saugus, MA). Snowboard Cross Women: Emma Rahme (15, Jackson, WY), Joanie Anderson (17, Lake Tahoe, CA), Parallel Giant Slalom Men: Steven MacCutcheon (16, Avon, CO), David Manthei (18, Steamboat Springs, CO), Walker Savidge (15, Fisco, CO), Sean Smarse, (18, Lincoln, NH), Vic Wild (17, White Salmon, WA). Parallel Giant Slalom Men: Abby Champagne (17, Chester, NH), Ashley Nice, (18, Great Mills, OH), Kaitlyn Smarse (17, Lincoln, NH), Andi Jo Stump (17, East Wenatchee, WA).

In the past two seasons, U.S. riders have won eight medals at the junior worlds, half of which were gold. Leading the 2004 squad are returning team members Vito, Hight, Manthei, Champagne, Nice and Kaitlyn Smarse. The juniors will also have the opportunity to work with U.S. coaches Bud Keene, Mike Jankowski and Nick Smith and Phil Fell.

“The World Juniors Championships are my favorite event each season, because the riders are so excited to be there, competing in Europe, meeting new friends and being at an event that is all about them,” said U.S. Snowboarding Program Manager Becky Woolley. “The athletes get to compete against the top juniors from all over the world allowing us to see what the future of international competition looks like and where the Americans stand. The majority of our team comes into the event starting in the top seed and finishing with excellent results which just reaffirms that U.S. Snowboarding is on track to being the Best in the World.”

Riders were selected from their performances at the Continental Cup in Copper Mountain, Colo., the Triple Crown at Breckenridge, Colo. and the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix at Park City, Utah and the Grand Prix held at Mammoth Mountain, Colo. All qualified riders were born between the years of 1984-1988 for parallel giant slalom and SBX events and 1984-1990 for halfpipe.

“We have had great success at the junior worlds in the past and we’re looking to continue that as these riders grow through U.S. Snowboarding,” said halfpipe coach Mike Jankowski. “There’s no doubt that this team can produce medals and all of these riders have the opportunity to be successful -- this is a primer for senior World Cup events and eventually the Olympics.”

Competition begins on Feb. 11 in the Czech Republic with PGS and halfpipe, while Germany will host Big Air and SBX. The PGS riders will then get some bonus European experience with two FIS races set for Gerlitzen, Austria on Feb. 14-15.