Local athletes excel at Collegiate Nationals
March 29, 2008
KEYSTONE – Young, local athletes dominated Saturday’s Collegiate Nationals slopestyle event hosted by Keystone with wins in both men’s and women’s skiing and snowboarding events. Three local athletes, who split time between Summit County and college, took first place in slopestyle, with a fourth winner hailing from Vail. Willis Brown, a Dillon resident and freshman at the University of Colorado, took first in men’s skiing slopestyle, followed by Alex Albers of Western State College, and Brian Bocke of CU.Brown, who’s winning routine included a cork nine, switch cork nine, a rodeo five and backside switch up, hails originally from Massachusetts and learned to ski at Sugarloaf in Maine.
“I’ve never skied this long of a day in my whole life,” said Brown, after learning of his win. “I’m exhausted.”Claudia Bouvier, who took first in women’s skiing slopestyle, returned to competition this year after breaking her neck last season. A Vail local and a fourth-year pre med student at CU, she won her event with a switch five, seven to a five. Kristi Johns from CU took second, followed by Kelsey Huelsman of Western State.Johns, who tore her ACL twice and had four knee surgeries over the last two years, called her second place finish a comeback. “It’s been a long haul and a lot of physical therapy,” she said, “but I love it and that’s why I’m back here. … With the injuries come a lot of head games. … You sit down or you stand up.”
Christian Martin, a Silverthorne transplant from Pennsylvania, who studies at both CU and Colorado Mountain College, won men’s snowboarding with a routine including a front five indy to a cab nine melon and hand plant on the quarter pipe.”I ride Keystone every day,” said Martin. “They have the best jumps. … It was awesome having (the competition) at my home mountain.”Chaz Chaffee of Minneapolis Community Technical College followed Martin in second and Chris Bosco of the University of Nevada, Reno, placed third.Heather Baroody, a CU Denver sophomore, won the women’s snowboarding comp with a back three, a couple straight air grabs, a backnose press and a hand plant. Collegiate Nationals was Baroody’s first major slopestyle competition. Kristen Hollum of Westminster placed second and Kaitlin McMurchie of Colorado State University took third.
“I get kind of scared at the top,” said Baroody, “but that’s what helps you push it.”According to Laura Harris, events coordinator at Keystone, Collegiate Nationals included more than 100 athletes, up from 60 competitors at last year’s event in Lake Tahoe, Calif. Colorado, which was one of 17 states represented at the competition, has a good base of collegiate athletes, Harris said.
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