Customary ‘Hight’ for Elena
SQUAW VALLEY – There must be something to the familiar Lake Tahoe terrain for Elena Hight.
The 18-year-old rider from South Lake Tahoe gave family and friends plenty to cheer about on Monday as she won the John Paul Mitchell Systems superpipe competition at 48Straight in Squaw Valley.
Hight’s last two significant victories have come at Lake Tahoe resorts, including the 2007 Vans Cup title at Northstar-at-Tahoe last year.
“I felt really good out there, and there is nothing that compares to competing at home in front of the local fans,” Hight said. “Everyone has been riding really well lately, and I’m just stoked with how it turned out.”
After qualifying second, Hight raised the bar in the finals by becoming the only female competitor to land a front-side 900. The trick helped her become the only rider to surpass the 90-point mark. Her winning score of 90.6 was more than three points ahead of runner-up Clair Bidez of Minturn, Colo. Ellery Hollingsworth of Darien, Conn., was third at 85.4.
Mammoth’s Molly Aguirre was fourth at 75.4 and Meg Pugh of Tahoe City came in sixth at 65.4. Erica Montgomery of Tahoe City finished ninth, Lindsey Sherman of Olympic Valley placed 10th and Truckee’s Allyson Carroll was 11th.
On the men’s side, Louie Vito of Sandy, Utah, secured his second win in three days with a series of 1080s during his final two runs. The 19-year-old Vito also won a U.S. Grand Prix event on Saturday in Tamarack, Idaho.
“It feels great to get the win here in Squaw, and everything really seems to be clicking for me right now,” Vito said. “There was a lot of pressure from the other great riders today, and I knew that I had to go big if I wanted to bring it home in the end.”
Vito barely held off Truckee’s Andy Finch, 96.6 to 95.4.
After qualifying in the middle of the pack, the veteran Finch, with numerous titles under his belt, used a flawless first run of the finals to sneak into third place. In the final run, Finch’s pair of 1080s and 720 were dynamic, but not enough to overcome Vito. He ended up second, with Luke Mitrani of Mammoth Lakes securing third after nailing a difficult switch backside 900 on the first hit of his final run.
“This was the most fun I’ve had in a contest this year,” Finch said. “In my hometown, with the warm air, soft pipe and a great group of riders, it felt great to come out and make it happen.”
South Lake Tahoe’s Elijah Teter placed fourth (90.8), Truckee’s Mike Goldschmidt was 12th, Incline Village’s Bryan Shuey came in 15th, Olympic Valley’s Dave Brumm finished 16th, Truckee’s Andre Lalumiere was 18th and Truckee’s James Brumfield’s finished 22nd.
Coverage of the past four days of competition at Squaw Valley will be televised on Feb. 23 and 24 on CBS.
The Jeep King of the Mountain and 48Straight winter season will conclude on March 14-16 at Sun Valley, Idaho.
FINAL RESULTS Ð MEN’S & WOMEN’S SNOWBOARD SUPERPIPE
Squaw Valley USA
Feb. 11, 2008
1. Louie Vito Ð Sandy, Utah
2. Andy Finch Ð Truckee
3. Luke Mitrani Ð Mammoth Lakes
4. Elijah Teter Ð South Lake Tahoe
5. Tommy Czeschin Ð Crowley Lake, Calif.
6. Matt Ladley Ð Steamboat Springs, Colo.
1. Elena Hight Ð South Lake Tahoe
2. Clair Bidez Ð Minturn, Colo.
3. Ellery Hollingsworth Ð Darien, Conn.
4. Molly Aguirre Ð Mammoth Lakes
5. Kelly Marren Ð Hillsborough, Calif.
6. Meg Pugh Ð Tahoe City
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