Lago bumps Breck’s Black out of Oly spot |

Lago bumps Breck’s Black out of Oly spot

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Summit County, Colorado

With only two qualifying events left, Breckenridge rider Zack Black knew that his fourth-place position in the U.S. Olympic team standings wasn’t exactly safe.

And after Scotty Lago finished second in the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix finals at Park City, Utah, Friday night and Black failed to land a clean run, the Summit teenager was suddenly on the outside looking in.

Considered one of the best halfpipe riders in the world, Lago landed an impressive first run that left him with a score of 47.7. The points weren’t good enough to top Shaun White’s astonishing 49.0, but the second-place finish helped Lego vault to third in the team standings, forcing Black out of the final spot and into fifth.

Breck rider J.J. Thomas, who was third in the team standings heading into the night, wound up seventh in the event Friday. His two third-place finishes earlier in the year are still good enough for him to hold on to fourth.

With all the drama surrounding the second-to-last official qualifying event before Vancouver, it was White – the only male rider to have already clinched his Olympic spot – that wound up stealing the show. White landed a nearly perfect run and was scored accordingly, showing, once again, that he’s still the man to beat in Vancouver.

Gregory Bretz rounded out the podium at 46.7.

Black wound up 14th in the 16-rider field and will now have to hope for a top-two finish in tonight’s qualifying finale to earn a spot on the team.

Tonight’s halfpipe competition is the last of the five official qualifying events. Each rider takes his or her best two finishes from the series to count toward the team standings. So, a big night by a few riders could still shake things up quite a bit. The first runs are scheduled to start at 6:30 p.m.

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