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Nicoll, Glazier named to national team

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Women’s snowboard team high in Whistler content

The contracts are still in the mail, but the Canadian Snowboard Federation has confirmed that Whistler’s Lori Glazier, Mercedes Nicoll and Dominique Vallee have been invited to compete on the women’s national freestyle snowboard team next season. Maelle Ricker and Natasza Zurek, who divide their time between North Vancouver and Whistler are also sure bets when the team is officially announced in the coming weeks.

Glazier, 28, is a veteran with the team and wrapped up the 2001-2002 season in 16 th place overall on the World Cup halfpipe circuit. She was third at the national championships this year, and pulled down some solid top 10 results in World Cup, including a fourth in the season opener in Chile.

Mercedes Nicoll, 18, was on the national development team last season and made a strong World Cup debut. In Whistler last December she was 10 th in one contest, and she was top 30 in three other events. She was also second at the national championships last season.

"I was really hoping to make the national team this year," said Nicoll. "I did really well in the nationals, but you don’t know for sure if you have it until you get the call."

Making the national team wasn’t the goal, she said, but part of a natural progression that began a long time ago when she first started competing in halfpipe. She grew up riding with some of the top boarders in town, and pushed herself to get better and better until she was good enough to take on the world. She has competed at the Junior World’s for the past three years.

Growing up in Whistler didn’t hurt her chances, either:

"It’s so good living here. There’s a perfect hill and a perfect pipe. You just get spoiled."

This year she plans to compete in as many World Cup competitions as she can and finish the season in the top 30.

This summer she will do some coaching in Whistler with the Camp of Champions, and head to Mount Hood to help coach for the High Cascades camp. She also plans on practising some new tricks for next season, and working on her McTwists.

Dominique Vallee finished 18 th overall on the World Cup circuit last year, including a third place finish at the Whistler World Cup.

Natasza Zurek, 24, finished the season in 21 st overall even though she only entered four competitions. She was second and 13 th in Whistler, and cracked the top 30 in two European halfpipe contests.

Maelle Ricker, 23, was fifth overall on the World Cup tour, with a silver, a fourth, two fifths and a sixth place. She was also first in the nationals.

Three of the four team coaches have also been confirmed by the CSF.

For the Alpine racing team, Whistler’s Christian Hrab will coach the World Cup team, while Greg Salmon, also of Whistler, will work with the development team.

Tom Hutchinson of Val-David, Quebec, will coach the freestyle team. A coach has not been named for the development team, but is expected to be announced within the week.

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