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Whistler women rule snowboard nationals


The top snowboarders in Canada faced off at Calgary Olympic Park last week in the Honda Element Canadian Snowboard Championships. If the results are any indication, the national team is going to look much the same next year, but with a few new faces.

In the halfpipe event, Vancouver’s Maelle Ricker completed her comeback from knee injuries by blowing away the rest of the competition. Her score of 43.5 was more than 10 points ahead of Natasza Zurek’s 33.2. Whistler’s Mercedes Nicoll won the bronze medal with a 32.7.

Also from Whistler, Sarah Kopinya, in her first year with the national team, finished fifth. Still, the 17-year-old will be coming home with gold, after easily winning the junior national halfpipe championship earlier in the week.

Brett Carpentier of St-Jerome, Quebec, easily won the men’s event with a final score of 44.4. Guillaume Morriset of Stoneham, Quebec, took the silver medal with a 43.0, and Brad Martin of Ancaster, Ontario was third with 41.5.

From Whistler, Crispin Lipscomb – the top Canadian on the World Cup circuit this season – finished in fourth place. Justin Lamoureux, Ben Wainwright, Dan Raymond, and Ryan Rausch were ninth, 11 th , 12 th , and 19 th respectively.

In the women’s snowboardcross, Dominique Maltais of Charlevoix, Quebec, won the seventh and last heat of the day to win the national title. The 22-year-old was trailed by Alison Clark and Cori Olafson, both 29 and both from Whistler. Fourth went to Lilian Halme of Repentigny, Quebec.

Whistler’s Candice Drouin qualified for the small final, but did not finish the race to finish eighth. Also from Whistler, Dominique Vallee finished 12 th .

The men’s snowboardcross went to Carl Cowtan of Cow Town (Calgary), edging out Kevin Allen of Toronto. Lipscomb finished with the bronze this time, and Tom Velisek of Vernon was fourth.

Of the Whistler athletes, Ben Wainwright was ninth.

Participating in just one of the events, three-time world champion Jasey-Jay Anderson of Mont Tremblant defended his title against 60 other challengers in the parallel giant slalom.

"This was such a great event and a fun way to cap off the season," said Anderson, 27. "I always make a point of competing here to check out the young riders coming up, and I’m very impressed with Canada’s future snowboard athletes. They are a talented group and that makes it feel good to be able to defend my title."

Jerome Sylvestre of Bromont, Quebec, hit a gate near the top in the final race, which put Anderson well in the lead until the finish. Justin Goto of the U.S. won the small final to finish third ahead of Justin-Claude Dumont of Pitendre, Quebec.

In the women’s race, Calgary’s Aimee Newton successfully defended her title against Lynn Ott of the U.S. and almost 40 other racers. Alexa Loo of Whistler and Richmond finished third, edging out Desiree Labrecque of Kelowna.

In the parallel slalom, Anderson’s decision not to participate left the competition wide open. Sylvestre looked ready to win gold, but his hopes were dashed in the final by Zac Kay from the U.S.

Mike Kwiatkowski of Vancouver won the bronze medal over Junior Lacerte of Quebec.