Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Last Two Days at Nationals 2009



The trip home was wearisome. Scott and I were searched more thoroughly than Ive been searched before at TSA. After ten to fifteen minutes that felt like thirty we were found not to be terrorists. I was beginning to wonder myself. Easter was a great day with Ariel, Willa, Addie and MaryBeth (Ariel's mother). The odd tragedy and the tragedy narrowly averted at Nationals- the father of Waterville Valley's Kai and Olivia Wiggins passed away on the chair weds.- Mount Snow Coach and Jams competitor Tyler Redes was found unconscious after slope practice weds. am- these things really made me want to get home. The Wiggins family stayed on and competed as that is what they felt their dad made the trip for. They were still suffering but not alone. Tyler awoke after a touch and go night of seizures to say "I missed my slope run..."and is reported healing, it was hard to watch our fellow northeast riders have to deal with that. As a team our sympathies are still with those touched most intimately.
Working from memory some points of the last two days are easy. For any I overlook I apologize. Please be proud of your part in the SMS love and shred machine. It takes everyone.
Thursday was one of the better days of BX racing I have enjoyed. Josh Cohen gets my vote for the Most Improved BX Racer in the country this year. The day began with Ross Powers guiding JC through the course, explaining lines for time trials versus lines for heats. Josh had some good speed training runs and then the time trial where he finished with the fifth fastest time. In each speed run and the time trial Josh and his coaches saw small but incidental room for improvement so we knew we had a contender. Josh ran his first heat in the lead from start to finish. His smoothest run yet. In his second heat he made a strong pass and then held off to assure moving on without risk. In six man heats the top three in each heat advance to the next round. Time trials dictate lane choice in each round so advancing is winning until finals where winning is winning. My best advice this week at the bx venue was that there is only one heat you want to risk anything to win. That's the finals. In the semi's Josh continued in his wise strategy and was cruising in second when the third place guy put on a not so clean pass, clipping his board and sending Josh into a skid. From one hundred feet back in fourth Josh put on a bx clinic making up all the distance running a tuck on a flat base through the final jumps and banks, reaching as far forward of his board as his hand would reach to lose a photo finish by an inch for third and get sent to consolation finals. Photo finish is not an expression. Mike Mallon is this years Westhaven Award winner, The highest award given to a FIS snowboard TD in our country and Mike said the photo was the sickest and clearest, and closest photo finish he has ever seen. One inch of the other kids' glove... Josh was unhappy. His coaches were proud. Josh recognized that every kid in the consolation round had just suffered a similar letdown and wanted to prove he belonged in that final. Josh made a diving pass beneath the first jump in consies and crushed the field to finish a proud seventh place in the breaker boys 2009 national BX championships.
A seriously well ridden day. Thanks Josh. You crushed.

Slope
I couldn't see him but next door over on the slope course, on the iciest day of the week, Eric Beauchemin took third in the men's open class slopestyle championship. I wish I could say more but this is the Marquis event of the Nationals in my opinion and as always EB showed he can ride with anyone in any conditions. RULER. Beauch-face-killah!

Friday/ Half Pipe
In the morning heat of the halfpipe Lena Kuchera (Junior Women) ran her runs in the double-up format along with Phoebe Novello (Youth Women). Lena finished up her run with a three, three, air, back three combo that put her in the top fifteen in the nation for her agegroup. Really one of the better runs Lena has put down in a contest and a strong sign of continued improvement for Lena. Phoebe was hoping for just a lil' more out of herself- like a second run of banger straight air's capped with a front five but had to settle with her first run score for articulate and amped straight airs capped with a three three combo. Phoebe was disappointed partly because everyone all year has told her how great she is doing. Not every year of strong skill building is translated to success with the judges but believe me when I say this girl is a strong athlete who will ride with ANYONE when her time comes around. I was glad to see her spirits lift when she was suprised at the evening awards with second place in the overall category. Nice job kid. Your work is paying back more than you know-other than the obvious fact that you love it everyday of the week. Check the style on that method. I once new a skinny lil girl who did methods like that. She did alright.
Heat two saw the re-attack of the Tierney family. Makayla (Breaker girls) took her third silver in three consecutive events! That may read funny but you got it right- three disciplines- three silver medals. Three days competing, three days on the podium. No-one at SMS has put themselves in the spotlight more often in the later part of the season and noone has had as much fun trying. Maybe that's the secret. Or maybe Mak T is just keeping stride with the rest of her family. Chris had a great week in slope and pipe but on this day her younger sister Meghan (Menhune) also took second in her age class with (dare I start this battle?) the biggest airs of the day. If Meghan can hold on to that amplitude when she is grabbing and spinning Mak will have her hands full but is still the shred queen of the clan.
Over on the BX course Alex and Jacqueline put up strong timetrials In the Open Class with the pros but neither went as far as they expected in the heats. Thats' why we line up every weekend of the season and thats why we begin dryland next monday. Thanks for reading. Thanks for riding.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

BX ACTION


WE ARE DEVO


Day 3. Podium, Podium, Podium





Kevin Mattice took 2nd place in the men's Jam's Halfpipe yesterday. Frontside three-sixty to cab(switch front) seven to start, front three to cab five to finish and Podium. Meanwhile over at the BX course again Brendan Conroy and Mike Perle advanced through round after round of six man heats to the final for the third year in a row. My view from the top only ranged far enough to see the first table, roller, roller, bank and jump but those at the bottom could see the finish line quite clearly. Everyone there said that if the long and heavily featured course were twenty feet longer Brendan would have taken the Gold this year. Nice bid young man. Brendan, who time trialed into fifth for the seeded of the bracket only had his lane choice once on his way to the right side of the podium. Congratulations.
Mike Perle was part of the final heat hole-shot pile up but jumped up fast and made his way back to finish third behind Brendan and take his place on the other side of the podium.
Ross Powers was on the left side of the podium for halfpipe in the Nagano Olympics. He was also on the top of the podium for halfpipe at the Salt Lake Olympics. Curiously enough he is the co-owner of a Snowboard and Skateboard shop in downtown Manch. Vt which is named Podium. Well known for the halfpipe run that showed the world what freestyle snowboarding is all about Ross is currently a leading American BX Racer. One of about 12 American males who are actually still eligible for next years Olympic BX podium. Ross had this to say about Perle last night. "Based on the second place in time trials, the dominance of blowing out some heats, double passing in another and his smooth flexing style at speed in each heat: Mike was the best rider out there." Ross' view was much better than mine but I have been agreeing with that account for three years. The best rider doesn't always win in BX but the best continue to have a chance year after year. That's the kind of snowboarder that makes an SMS Coach the most proud. That kind of snowboarding is where we focus and the contest results appear in the wake of that apprach, but I just have to say the word one more time. Because I've never seen a team take so many and I'm kind of in awe. Podium.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Monday, April 6, 2009

2009 USASA Nationals Update/ The Fire is Spreading.


After two days of competitions on good cool snow and under sunny skies SMS Snowboarding has already put up a strong campaign for the week. It will be tough to say enough about everyone's riding but the outstanding results deserve announcement. The Pipe is perfect if a little smaller than some of the major halfpipes we have competed in this year. The slope course features a thirty seven, forty five, and fifty five foot three jump line followed by three options of three rail/jib features. Good wax helps the first jump and speed management is required for the next two jumps. The slalom and gs courses are holding up great each day and the Boardercross has more features than most major courses we will ever see. More features in a BX course favor the most skilled riders and that for me is the way they should all be designed. Thanks to Copper for excellent venues. Thanks to the snow gods for some super fun back bowl riding to get the kids loose and acclimated on our extra and early training days. I personally enjoyed some the best runs I've had in ten years. Finally and as always thanks to the kids for working hard all year, stepping up in the end of the year contests against the nations best and thanks to the Parents and other coaches who make this program work. It seems to be continuing to work well.
Yesterdays first results of the National Championships came in from the Slalom venue and there was Bondville Vt and SMS' own Josh Cohen on the top of the podium. Congratulations! An individual national title is something to be proud of for the rest of your life. Enjoy it Josh. We are very proud. Meanwhile the Halfpipe saw our teams biggest group and the Pipe says we look good. The slopestyle course hosted what is maybe our toughest crew and that is most of our girls. These are marquis events and here is how it shook out. Lena Kuchera had a challenging day and landed in 28th in the nation in the junior women division.
India Stephenson landed a forty five foot backside three sixty in between two Straight airs and above an aggro jib line to take home the silver medal for second in that same division. That wrapped an awfully succesful first year at SMS for India. In the Junior girls division Phoebe Novello had the third best jump line of the day but had a tougher time with rails and took seventh. Lena said Phoebe did the biggest method air she's ever seen. In the Breaker Girls division Makayla Tierney continued her incredible run through the late season and took The silver for second. Man I wish I got second in the nation in slope yesterday. Those girls are fun to hear from any distance (often you may hear them from any distance!) and great to ride with and watch ride.
I spent most of my day at the Halfpipe and had the satisfaction of seeing some of my favorite snowboarders stand up Beautiful, technical lines. The youth mens div. is arguably the most competitive division in USASA. These are also some of the guys I have spent the most time with at SMS and so I'm particularly proud. Mike Perle had what he considers a bad day. He missed a couple grabs but still put down an air, five, five, seven, switch crippler run that gave him 15th place. His second run ended with an abrupt slam to the shoulder, some pain and disappointment. Many young snowboarders would give anything for a top fifteen finish. Brendan Conroy edged mike out for fourteenth place with styled straight airs, a front five and front seven run straight off the Lacrosse field. Eleven pipe runs in the past month and he beats forty plus regional champs. Austin Schweyher did the best looking back five of the day, put up two tech runs and finished the second run with a back side 900 to take 8th. Chris Tierney Jr had the days smoothest run. He went frontside seven, haakon flip (switch frontside seven), frontfive, back five and nice big frontside slob grab. Chris missed the top three by point three and left with fourth place in the nation. I couldn't be any more proud of his riding, whatever his results. He is standing up runs in the clutch and beginning to get the credit for the rider we know he is. We believe in great riding and results come second. Our crew is riding proud.
For more of an example we move on to the junior mens division. Thomas Tikos-Kadji (TTK) linked one of his strongest trick lines with style for 8th. Randall Stacy did the biggest air to fakie for the second year in a row, followed by four switch tricks to take home fourth place and Joseph Mensch powered out a heavy cab sev, front nine, bs five, fs five to huge method on the last hit- where other riders are calling it a run, playing it safe or barely reaching the lip: To take home the junior men's national championship title in half pipe for 2009.
We are going long here. Thanks for bearing with me. Today we were all over the hill again and Josh Cohen was again early to get after it. Josh fell, in first run, had to hike to stay legal on the turn and then came back to win the second run of Breaker boys GS. He finished around twenty but again his coaches are proud of his effort. In the open class slalom against former and present US team riders Jacqueline Hernandez, Alexander Hernandez and Indrik Trahan all advanced to finals. Ripping fast and strong, I wasn't there but heard rumor that Indrik was passing former US team racers like they were sideslipping but couldn't slow down and stand up to finish it. He finished fourth and spreading fear among "faster" finishers. Sick.
Still Here? Good. It has been said that Makayla Tierney is on fire. The truth is that she has learned more about snowboarding from her older brother and his inimitable style than anyone. Where it started nobody knows but the FIRE is Spreading. Her riding crew was at the BX today. Scotties angels. Lena was more fired up for BX than any other discipline and advanced through two heats to consolation finals and eleventh place. Wicked. Phoebe Novello won her time trial and advanced through one heat but was run down by another rider and a little disappointed. Phoebe has had a great season and has to be proud. Her riding partner also scorched the time trials and no wonder: Makayla Tierney is on Fire. Mak T won heats all day in to the finals. She was aggressive fast and smoothe. She held herself small over fast jumps and kept the pedal down riding over her front legthroug rollers and banks. She looks like a BX racer is supposed to. Makayla took the lead and held it through three quarters of the course to get passed underneath in a late bank. Temporary disapointment for Makayla but she learned more in getting dogged than she would have winning easy style. Two silver medals in two days at National Championships. Anybody else out there having this kind of week. I don't think so.
So on with the fire, The Tierney family snowboarding bonfire jumps across the trail to slopestyle, where, in the Men's Junior division, TTK put down a styling front one indie, cab five, back seven to major jib line (I couldn't see)... Fifth Place, Congrat's Tom. Thomas was followed by Joe Mensch in twelfth- big niner! Tough Jibs. And Randall Stacy took two unfortunate falls followed by sick jib lines to take thirty eighth. Good boys.
Brendan Conroy spun front and back threes for the first time ever on these jumps and finished a very respectable lacrosse season sabbatical slopestyle in 18th. Chris Tierney Jr. continues to blaze his 2009 Nationals appearance with a smoother than all y'alls cab five front seven back five, deep deep deep to half cab on 360 off jib opener.... to second place in the Youth men's slope. I want to come back as a Tierney Kid when I die. Good livin folks. Obviously I could go on all night but my connection time is up. Photos are not loading. Check em out tomorrow. You are the world.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Colorado



Banger of a photo huh? Guess I should address that first. Chris Waker, blasting the biggest air I have seen all year in Copper's back bowls. Dave Redden and I had the pleasure of riding with Chris after training yesterday and this is what we were treated to. He grabbed and stomped, but way out of the frame of this photo. As a long-time Waker fan, my stoke was barely controllable.
Flash back a day or two. We all arrived safe in Colorado and were pleased to see winter conditions. Low temps and snow, snow, snow. While this made for tough pipe and park training (no speed), the slope and pipe are the same as when we were here in Dec-Jan so our kids are already familiar with them. We made the most of our days by hitting what we could in the park and ripping powder turns all around the mountain.
On a quite unfortunate note, Hunter Wood injured his leg (separated growth plate by his ankle) on our first day and will not be able to compete. This was crushing to all who know him. Hunter has been on a tear, and he is tough as nails. To see him taken out on a miniscule jump was cruel. He is showing his character by taking it in stride and hanging out to cheer on the team. He will be back in no time. I am counting on James and Hunter to make comebacks on the skate team this spring.
Registration was today, practice tomorrow. Conditions are perfect and the crew will be in top form come Sunday. Wish us luck and stay tuned.
Ian