South Lake Tahoe’s Tony Piccinonno picked up gold in boardercross during last week’s USASA Nationals in Copper Mountain, Colo.
The 12-year-old competes in the menehune division for 10 and 11 year-olds with a cut-off date of Jan. 1. Piccinonno qualified for Nationals by being ranked No. 1 in the region and was one of 60 athletes in the division. This was his sixth nationals, but his first gold.
Piccinonno said he felt “pretty relieved” after winning. Boardercross consists of four racers speeding down the coarse at the one time, and during the race, the leader fell causing a pile-up. Piccinonno stayed on his feet and cruised out in front for the win.
He also competed in slopestyle, halfpipe, slalom and giant slalom and came out of the week ranked seventh in the nation for his age group. By winning gold, Picconnono reserved himself a spot in next year’s Nationals boardercross event.
Piccinonno spent the season competing locally and won almost every event in the South Shore. He started traveling to the North Shore and, on occasion, to places like Utah.
With the recent Olympic games, many young athletes are realizing their dreams are not so far off.
“I want to get as far as I can get,” Piccinonno said when asked where he wants to take his snowboarding.
As a member of the Sierra-at-Tahoe team, Piccinonno trains with the coaches there and also goes to Woodward at Tahoe which is open to the public in the winter. He is a sponsored rider by the company’s Zeal Goggles, O’Neill, Mountain Menace, Shoreline of Tahoe and Port-of-Subs Tahoe.
Brother Vincent Piccinonno, 9, competed in all the events as well earning a 12th overall national ranking.