Review – USASA Nationals 2014
Twenty five years ago Chuck Allen decided there needed to be a Snowboard National Championship, and so was born the USASA National Championships. Since then this event has crisscrossed the country with locations including Telluride CO, Sunday River ME, Angel Fire NM, Waterville NH, North Star at Tahoe CA, Mammoth CA and finally landing in Copper CO where it has set up residence.
This year GACP sent seventeen riders, six from the full-time team and eleven from the weekend development program. Also four coaches, Chris Davies and Eric Breton from the Gould staff and Dustin Holzweiss and Whitney Poulin from the Dev Team.
USASA Nationals is the biggest snowboard event in the world, with more than 1500 competitors. Broken up into different age brackets (under 7, 8-9 yrs, 10-11 yrs, 12-13 yrs, 14-15yrs, 16-17yrs, 18-22yrs and Open class) these brackets are then combined into five Groups, then each day, each group goes to a different event. Halfpipe, Slopestyle, Boardercross, Slalom and GS. The age brackets field-size varies from 30 (younger and female groups) right up to Youth and Junior mens groups with fields of 60/70.
After practice day the Groups got right into it, riding hard and competing for the title of USASA National Champion, below are the highlights of the week, listing the medalists (7) and top ten finishers (23)
With the little guys over at GS, the Hamel brothers Tyler and Mason started the week off well each with a first place , earning them the nickname “The Haminals”. The older boys were at the BX track where Wards Saunders ’16 raced 64 other riders to earn an 8th place. A great result for Ward. Also at BX Ian Matthews claimed 6th in the 18-22 age group. His sister Rachel was over at the HP where she rode into a 10th spot.
The older girls took over the BX course on day two. And it was Emma Scheidegger ’16 who had the stellar day racing a stacked field to 5th place, in the same age group Kelly Morrison finished in 10th. At her first Nationals Milly Detels raced well and landed in 8th, and Cat Wolf finished 8th in the 16-18 yrs group. Also at BX, Alex Diebold Bronze medalist in BX at the Sochi games took some time to chat with the girls. Mason Hamel made it two for two and collected his second medal a silver at Slopestyle.
With both the Hamel boys collecting 5th in their respective age groups at the BX track this halted Mason’s medal rampage. The girls headed over to the Slalom hill where the Youth and Junior groups were battling to get to the eight rider shootout. Cat Wolf and Shannon Maguire ’16 both raced hard in the shootout, with Shannon charging to a fantastic 2nd and Cat gaining 6th. Milly Detels raced to an 8th. Over at the slope style course Cooper Whittier spun his way to 8th in a very competitive age category and Ian rode his way to 6th in the halfpipe.
With changeable weather, race overlays was a challenge for the coaches on day 4. The girls moved over to GS where Shannon and Cat both made shootouts, this time Cat claimed 1st and Shannon 4th. Ian Matthews headed to Slopestyle where he rode to a solid 6th and Mason landed back on the podium in 3rd place at the slalom.
Last day of competitions and Ian Matthews grasps his first ever Nationals podium with a 3rd in Slalom, and Mason Hamel finishes his week with a 5th in Halfpipe. With this 5th in HP Mason clinches the Overall title for the under 7 Division.
It was a great week with GACP veterans of USASA helping the newcomers, with triumph and tragedy everyday, and the phenomenal GACP and Maine snowboard community doing what it does best. Competing with dignity, and being contenders against to best young riders in the country.
I’d also like to give a shout out to the other GACP riders who competed well, but just didn’t quite make to the top ten. (Name, Discipline-place)
Mitch Romanowski ’16 BX – 19th,
Matt Wolf ’16 BX – 16th, SL – 15th
Liam Maguire ’18 SS – 21st, BX – 15th
Aidan Mahoney SL – 21st, HP – 18th, SS – 34th, BX – 17th, GS -15th
Hakan Chartier BX – 53rd, GS – 24th, SL 26th
Oscar DeRoche SS – 36th
Schuyler Parkinson BX – 36th, GS – 31st, SL 34th
Justin Matthews BX – 41st, GS – 38th