U.S. dominates Junior Worlds | TahoeDailyTribune.com

U.S. dominates Junior Worlds

The U.S. Junior Snowboarding Team compiled from U.S. Amateur Snowboard Association riders dominated the 13-nation Vodafone Snowboard Nations Junior World Championship in Wanaka, New Zealand, earlier this month, earning approximately half of the total medals.

In the four categories — junior men and women and youth men and women — the U.S. took home 17 of 36 total individual medals in the three-event competition.

The U.S. took home six of 12 total medals for combined and an impressive 10 gold medals out of 16 possible.

The combined medal count was a surprise to head coach John Siple, who understood the rules to say that each country could only nominate one rider as the combined competitor.

When six of the total 12 riders in the combined category took home medals for the U.S., he was “more than pleased” with the results, if not slightly chagrined to be such a dominating force.

The U.S. won gold for the combined title in three of the four categories, with the junior women sweeping the podium.

The U.S. was shut down in the junior men division where Germany, New Zealand and Australia earned the combined titles, respectively.

In the youth women’s division, Elena Hight earned the gold medal, followed by Joanie Anderson, both from South Lake Tahoe. Norway’s Engeli Hilde Katrine took third.

The U.S. won seven individual gold medals and three combined gold medals for 10 of the 16 possible. Next closest nation was Germany and Japan with two and Norway and New Zealand with one.

“Domination was very high on our team,” Siple said. “Everybody did well and we had some people that crashed.”

Not surprisingly, the U.S. was particularly strong in the halfpipe, which many feel is more popular in the U.S. than abroad.

Seven of eight final riders in the junior women’s halfpipe were from the U.S. They swept the podium in that event.

Five of the seven junior men finalists in the halfpipe were from the U.S., which took home gold and bronze.

In the youth women’s halfpipe, four of the top five riders were from the U.S., but Japan’s Mero Narita escaped with the gold despite a dislocated shoulder.

As for the South Shore riders, Siple said he is very pleased to invite them back to the Junior National Team next year.

“I was really concerned about taking Elena (13) because she is so young, but it wasn’t a problem. I was also concerned about Joanie and Stacie because they hadn’t been with the other kids, but they fit in with the kids just fine,” Siple said. “It was amazing to watch how much they improved.”

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