Local boarders place top four
Steamboat Springs — Local riders Michelle Gorgone, Rebecca Bassett and Justin Goto each made the top four at the Western Regional Snowboard parallel giant slalom finals in Steamboat Springs Thursday.
“It’s nice to show people what I’ve got,” said Goto, third-place winner in the men’s division. Goto said the Howelsen Hill slalom course was a little rough. He was surprised to do well after starting the morning not feeling well enough to compete.
“It wasn’t as pretty as I like, but I got it done,” he said. Goto, who fell in the first round, kept a tight course and rode with an aggressive, almost out of control style to keep his place through each of the remaining qualifying rounds.
The winner of the men’s competition was Tyler Jewell, followed by Ben Fairchild III in second.
Gorgone took third in the women’s division edging fellow teammate Bassett into fourth place during their last round.
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“I don’t like to beat or get beaten by someone I’m friends with. It makes it harder,” Gorgone said.
She said she felt good through the semifinals but had some trouble after, falling a few times through the course.
Stacia Hookom won the women’s division and Sarah Hamor took second.
The giant slalom provided a challenge for many riders.
Anton Pogue of Oregon said the course was a little steeper than he would have liked. He made it to the quarterfinals and was beat out by Goto who went on to the semifinals. He said the course wasn’t suiting to his style but predicted his travel companion, Ben Fairchild, had the stuff to win. Fairchild came close to that win, finishing second.
Pogue, like other competitors, had returned from the Olympic qualifiers. He qualified as the fourth member of the American team but didn’t get to compete in the Olympics since only the top three went. Mark Fawcett of Team Canada, a winner of 14 gold cups, decided after the Olympic qualifiers that he didn’t want to take a break from the sport. He came to Steamboat to continue boarding on the snowboard tour. He made it to the quarterfinals in the competition, losing to Fairchild.
“It’s a fun, great time,” Fawcett said. “Most people are taking a break, but I’m here doing it.”
Fawcett said the close distance between the slalom gates made the race quite a challenge.
He will also compete in the Western Regional Snowboard slalom competition at 6 p.m. Saturday. Most snowboarders, like Fawcett, will be competing in other events at the Western Regional Snowboard Championships as well as the American Snowboard Tour, which run through Sunday.
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