Author of Story: Elizabeth Karam/USSA.ORG
AROSA, Switzerland – Two-time Olympic champion Seth Wescott (Sugarloaf, ME) landed the top spot in the second to last snowboardcross World Cup of the season Thursday in Arosa. Callan Chythlook-Sifsof (Girdwood, AK) earned a career best finish placing second. Jonathan Cheever (Saugus, MA) finished 13th dropping out of the SBX World Cup lead.
With the sun shining brightly on the SBX course making for perfect spring riding conditions in Arosa, the USA fielded a strong team with all riders advancing to Thursday’s finals. The men’s nine person squad was led by Wescott who claimed the top spot.
“Qualifying went well I was third, but I was kind of wuss in turn two. I never committed to it,” explained Wescott. “This morning I came out and knew I needed to nail that turn in training, and I did.”
Wescott, who qualified third for the Thursday’s finals, took full advantage of the training runs before the race. Knowing where he lost speed in the qualifiers, Wescott committed through turn two to nail it once in training, giving him all the confidence he needed to rally through the heats for the win.
“I wanted to take a bunch of break time this year, but I’m psyched. I have four races now and I don’t have a finish worst than fourth,” said Wescott of his 2011 winter season. That’s the mission to keep coming out and getting solid results and giving myself some mental time. Tomorrow there’s another race and hopefully I’ll be back on the podium. “
Wescott charged out of the start in the quarterfinal round taking the hole shot in every heat from that point on. Known for his tactical racing skills, Wescott drafted off France’s Pierre Vaultier, the current SBX World Cup leader, in the finals before running a pass and clinching the win.
Vaultier came into Thursday’s race sitting in second in the World Cup standings behind the U.S. SBX champion Cheever advanced to the quarterfinals, but finished fourth in his heat ending the day in 13th and relinquishing the SBX World Cup lead to Vaultier. Cheever now sits 200 points behind Vaultier with one race remaining and the title still up for grabs.
In the women’s race, Chythlook-Sifsof posted a career best in second, finishing just behind Bulgaria’s Alexandra Jekova. In the quarterfinals and semifinals, Chythlook-Sifsof found her groove finishing first and second advancing her to the finals.
“First heat was pretty easy. I got out front, held it and just let it run,” explained Chythlook-Sifsof. “Second heat, I was second out of the gate and just kept second place for that heat.”
With a favorable lane assignment, Chythlook-Sifsof grabbed the hole shot in the finals heading into the first turn going head-to-head with the eventual winner. Jekova made her move through the pump section to take the lead, holding it through the rest of the course.
“I was a little bit passive on the course to preserve my second place today,” said Chythlook-Sifsof. “So tomorrow I’m excited just to give it my all and kick it into gear. It’s the last race of the season.”
The 2011 SBX World Cup season ends Friday with the final men’s and women’s race.
1. Seth Wescott, Sugarloaf, ME
2. Pierre Vaultier, France
3. Paul-Henri De le Rue, France
8. Alex Tuttle, Stratton, ME
10. Robert Minghini, South Lake Tahoe, CA
13. Jonathan Cheever, Saugus, MA
16. Jayson Hale, Sierraville, CA
30. Jarod Minghini, South Lake Tahoe, CA
33. Nate Holland, Squaw Valley, CA
41. Nick Baumgartner, Iron River, MI
44. Alex Deibold, Manchester Center, VT
1. Alexandra Jekova, Bulgaria
2. Callan Chytlook-Sifsof, Girdwood, AK
3. Zoe Gillings, Great Britain
7. Lindsey Jacobellis, Stratton, VT
13. Chloe Banning, Steamboat Springs, CO
16. Jenna Feldman, Linwood, NJ
24. Carrie Uren, Randle, WA
For complete results: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/604/1228.html?cal_suchsector=SB&event_id=28260
SBX World Cup Standings
1. Pierre Vaultier, France, 2,890
2. Jonathan Cheever, Saugus, MA, 2,690
3. Alex Pullin, Australia, 2,287
1. Dominique Maltais, Canada, 4,800
2. Alexandra Jekova, Bulgaria, 3,200
3. Lindsey Jacobellis, Stratton, VT, 2,810
For complete standings: http://www.fis-ski.com/uk/disciplines/snowboard/cupstandings.html