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Summit Snowboarding dominates the pipe

By ADAM LAPIERRE

News staff writer

February 1, 2006

A foot of fresh powder is rarely a cause for disappointment from local snowboarders. Since, however, half pipe was the event of the weekend for Hood River’s Summit Snowboard Team, the load of snow Mt. Hood Meadows received Friday night and Saturday morning was a major damper on the Gorge League competition. Rather than taking to the steeps, cliffs and trees and gorging themselves in the fluffy-white, riders from Summit, Barlow, Sandy and Centennial had to slide the walls of the super-pipe clean and pack down the powder in the middle. Despite their efforts, the pipe was in poor riding condition, visibility was terrible and snow continued to dump throughout competition.

But the show went on, and Summit’s riders swept the field for first place finishes in both the boys’ and girls’ fields, and a first place team finish for the boys.

“The team did really well considering the conditions,” girls’ coach Holly Lowe said. “Everyone had good attitudes, even though they didn’t really want to be out there.”

The girls’ field consisted of only five riders, which is why no girls’ team placings were awarded. Individually, however, Summit’s Kelsey Griffith took first by a landslide. Tory Ratcliff placed fourth for Summit, slipping by fifth place finisher from Sandy by a single point between her two runs.

“Kelsey is a solid rider at any competition,” said Lowe. “Tory is stepping it up too. She’s new to the sport but she has guts, she’s not afraid to push it and she has definitely improved from the beginning of the season.”

The boys’ team dominated the pipe, finishing one, two, three individually and first as a team by a margin of 79 points over second place Barlow. Leading the way was David Rovianek, who edged teammates Chris Barber and Dana Keleher for top honors. The battle for second place was close. Keleher’s first run scored 122 points, while Barber’s only scored 117. On the second run, however, Barber’s score was 129 and Keleher’s was 117, meaning Barber had the highest single run and the highest combined score.

“The conditions were really bad,” Rovianek said. “It was hard to get any speed and the visibility was so bad, one rider had to redo his run because the judges couldn’t see him going down the pipe.”

Rovianek’s winning run was very basic, consisting of straight airs, some grabs and 360 at the bottom of the pipe.

“Landing something small is better to the judges than going big and crashing,” Rovianek said.

Rounding out the top ten boys’ finishers were Ian Daly and Colby Richards, at 8th and 9th respectively.

“We’re really coming together as a team and I really enjoy coaching them.” said Lowe, who is a former team member and Hood River Valley High School graduate. “We’ve definitely been blessed with a lot of snow this year and the kids are stoked to ride. We have a lot of fun and as a team we have bonded and we are strong. And that is what carries a team.”

The team will hope for better weather this weekend, as they take to Mt. Hood Meadows for their second of two slopestyle competitions this season. On March 3-4, Summit will compete at the Oregon Interscholastic Snowboard Association State Championships at Meadows, where they will attempt to reclaim the boys’ and girls’ titles after losing them last season due to not having a team.

Half-pipe highlights:

Boys — first as a team

David Rovianek 1st

Chris Barber 2nd

Dana Keleher 3rd

Will Gleasman 5th

Girls — no team placings

Kelsey Griffith 1st

Tory Ratcliff 4th

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