U.S. Snowboarders Seth Wescott and Graham Watanabe Take Second and Third at First World Cup of Season

Posted By: The Ski Channel on September 12, 2009 7:48 pm

U.S. Snowboarding superstar and 2006 Olympic gold medalist Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME) and X Games silver medalist Graham Watanabe (Sun Valley, ID) rocked the first snowboardcross World Cup of the season taking second and third respectively in Chapelco, Argentina. The race was also the first of five Olympic qualifiers, so the two are in good stead to make the 2010 Games in Vancouver.

Wescott has been thinking about the next Winter Olympics ever since he won his sport’s first-ever gold medal, and seems to be on track for another spot atop the Olympic podium. Wescott was only a few feet from Frenchman Pierre Vaultier who took the win, and U.S. Snowboarding Head Coach Peter Foley felt Wescott’s performance was right on track. “I’m really happy about the speed we’re going this time of year and I feel good,” Foley said.

In spite of taking the silver medal, Wescott was slightly disappointed. “I kind of blew it today. I committed the cardinal sin of breaking at the waist on a toe side turn and that cost me the win,” Wescott said. “I feel like I’m riding as good as I ever have and I should have won today.”

Watanabe, a serial jokester on the circuit is all business when it comes to his snowboarding and is hungry for an Olympic berth. “I’m by no means backing off. It’s certainly a good start, but having as strong a team as we have, there is no room for stretching out,” Watanabe said. “I am going to be pumping it just as hard at every race and will try to keep knocking down podiums to solidify that spot.”

On the women’s side, a first-round crash put Lindsey Jacobellis, one of the winningest snowboarders in history in ninth place. “She pulled hard out of the start, got a bit off balance and the roller section was so steep and quick so she went down right out of the start,” Foley said. “She’s not happy but with qualifying first and seeing her ride, I am really happy with how she is riding. Stuff happens, you know.”

Canadian Maelle Ricker took the win, followed by Bulgaria’s Alexandra Jekova in second and Canadian Dominique Maltais in third.


Chapelco, Argentina Sept. 12, 2010


Men (32 made finals)

1. Pierre Vaultier, France

2. Seth Wescott, Sugarloaf, ME

3. Graham Watanabe, Sun Valley, ID

4. Markus Schairer, Austria

5. Alex Pullin, Austria

11. Nick Baumgartner, Iron River, MI

15. Pat Holland, Squaw Valley, CA

17. Shaun Palmer, South Lake Tahoe, CA

19. Nate Holland, Squaw Valley, CA

25. Jonathan Cheever, Saugus, MA

28. Jason Smith, Basalt, CO

31. Ross Powers, Londonderry, VT

Women (16 made finals)

1. Maelle Ricker, Canada

2. Alexandra Jekova, Bulgaria

3. Dominique Maltais, Canada

4. Tanja Frieden, Switzerland

5. Yuka Fujimori, Japan

9. Lindsey Jacobellis, Stratton Mountain, VT


photo: USSA