USASA South Tahoe Series cleans up at nationals; competitors collect 23 medals at Copper Mountain |

USASA South Tahoe Series cleans up at nationals; competitors collect 23 medals at Copper Mountain

Tribune staff report

COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo. — The USASA South Tahoe Series season culminated with 56 athletes qualifying to join over 1,900 competitors from 30 different series across the country at USASA Nationals competition. The South Lake Tahoe Series of the United States of America Snowboard and Freeski Association (USASA) had a stellar placing at the 26th annual USASA Nationals at Copper Mountain, held from March 29 to April 8.

The first week of competitions featured snowboarding — 31 freestyle snowboard competitors accepted invitations to compete in Colorado. South Shore athletes competed in slalom, giant slalom, rail jam, slopestyle, halfpipe, boarder cross and banked slalom events during the series.

Top-10 results for local snowboarders included Julianne O'Neill placing first in women's open class slopestyle along with Randy Hess, Dick Schulze and Ryan Hock each taking home multiple medals. Jeff Girard and Lauren McCauley each took the podium with a bronze in slalom.

Twelve additional boarders also delivered top-10 finishes in various disciplines. That group featured Cara Kellogg, Colton Bryan, Denver Orr, Megan King, Lillian McDaniel, Brian Cook, Desi McCully, Aspen Robinson, Emily Leach, Tony Piccinono, Makayla Kellogg and Veda Hallen.

Overall, nine snowboard competitors placed in the top five at nationals — the athletes placed based on their age group ranking and competing in each of the five disciplines. The top-five placements for snowboarding included Schulze (first), Hess (first), Girard (first), Hock (first), Megan King (second), Orr (third), Cara Kellogg (third), Piccinono (fourth) and Makayla Kellogg (fifth).

Twenty-five South Tahoe skiers were invited to compete in the second week of nationals and also performed well. Nationals for skiers included competition in skiercross, halfpipe, slopestyle and rail jam. Top-10 results were posted by Meggie Humphrey, Cole Lyon, Piper Arnold, Alec Bowman and Clayton Long. Six of the 25 placed in top-five overall: Lyon (first), Bowman (second), Will Mault (fifth), Arnold (first), Long (second) and Ethan Kulchin (fifth).

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Thanks to its supporters, the USASA South Tahoe Series hosted its regional qualifying events at several renowned venues. Local event sites included Sierra-at-Tahoe Resort, Heavenly Mountain Resort and Northstar California Resort.