KREISCHBERG, Austria (Jan. 19) ? Veteran Seth Wescott (Kingfield, ME) plowed through an enormous field of 72 starters to take second in boardercross (SBX) at the final event of the FIS World Snowboard Championships Sunday.  The podium came just two days after cracking the top-10 in halfpipe and notched the second medal for the U.S. after Steven Fisher (St. Louis Park, MN) took third in halfpipe Friday.  Xavier Delerue, added to the French medal count with the win, while Drew Neilson, a good friend to Wescott gave Canada their first medal taking third.

Karine Ruby of France battled an equally big women?s field of 40 to defend her SBX championship.  The win was Ruby?s sixth world championship medal of her storied career that includes a PSL silver from earlier this week.  Austria?s Ursula Fingerlos, winner of the only SBX World Cup in Chile, was second with 20-year-old Victoria Wicky of France taking third.  No American women competed.

?It was a perfect day and a perfect final,? said Wescott. ?It was rad to be able to go 1-2-3 with Delarue and Neilson ? last year we were the top three in the SBX standings at the end of the World Cup season, so it was just like old times today.?

Firm icy snow and 14 degree temperatures made for a fast course throughout the afternoon as it remained in the shadows for the duration of the competition. However, due to poor weather conditions across Europe, the race was only the second SBX for many of the racers all season, including Wescott. 

?I decided that I was going to take it easy for the first half off the season instead of wearing myself down. My mother broke both of her arms falling off a ladder so I moved back home to help her get back on her feet and just took things mellow.  In years past, I?ve been frustrated being away from home for so long and it effected my riding.  But this year, I just stayed home and rode a lot of park to prepare and felt fresh after Christmas.?

A hairy second round nearly took him out after he jumped the gun while attempting to predict when the starter would drop the gate.  Then midway through the race, a rider crashed just in front of him, but Wescott was able to maneuver around him and regain his control to advance in second position.

?The second round was a big scary. I thought I had the starter figured out because I could see the foot that he was using to drop the gate, but I think he caught on after the first round and did a double pump in the second, sending me into the gate before it went down.  I was able to recover from that without too much consequence, but then somebody went down in front of me later on in the race for another close call,? said Wescott.

The other three rounds where smooth as he breezed through finals saying the key was knowing the course.  Next stop for Wescott is the ESPN Winter X Games and the ?Legendary Banked Slalom? at Mt. Baker, OR, while he awaits the International Olympic Committee?s decision on whether SBX will be included in the 2006 Olympic Winter Games in Torino, Italy.

The double SBX victory for France solidified their stronghold on the overall medal count raising their final tally to nine, while Switzerland closed in the No. 2 spot with five. Host country Austria scored three and a tie with Sweden for third.  The American contingent heads home from Kreischberg with two, matching Finland to share fourth. 

Kreischberg, AUT ? Jan. 19

Men?s SBX
1. Xavier Delerue, France
2. Seth Wescott, Kingfield, ME
3. Drew Neilson, Canada
4. Guillaume Nantermod, Switzerland
5. Manuel Uhlmann, Switzerland
6. Guillaume Sachot, France
7. Dieter Krassnig, Austria
8. Alexander Koller, Austria
9. Manuel Uhlmann, Switzerland
10. Guillaume Sachot, France
11. Dieter Krassnig, Austria
12. Alexander Koller, Austria

Women?s SBX
1. Karine Ruby, France
2. Ursula Fingerlos, Austria
3. Victoria Wicky, France
4. Manuela Rieegler, Austria
5. Tanja Frieden, Switzerland
6. Vroni Brandt, Germany
7. Jennifer Frino, Italy
8. Deborah Anthonioz, France

Final Medal Count
France ? 9
Switzerland ? 5
Austria ? 3
Sweden ? 3
USA ? 2
Finland ? 2
Canada ? 1
Germany ? 1
Slovenia ? 1