Tomato tops Grand Prix qualifying
BRECKENRIDGE, Colorado ” Shaun White wasn’t even going to compete in the Breckenridge Snowboarding Grand Prix as of Thursday evening.
But the Flying Tomato changed his mind at the last minute, then posted the top score (47.9) in Friday’s qualifying round.
“This morning I figured I would do it,” White said after his two runs in the second heat. “I didn’t think I needed to do anything, so I was just going to train and wait for a different contest, but a lot of my friends are here, so I just went for it. It was kind of last minute ” the guys were cool enough to put me on the start list.”
White, who’s been practicing in Breck for the last couple of days, said his pro skateboarding season went long and he hasn’t gotten much snowboarding time as a result.
Breck local and defending X Games halfpipe champion Steve Fisher earned the second-highest qualifying score (47.7) ” just a hair behind the 2006 Olympic gold medalist.
“Who cares?” Fisher said when asked if White’s presence in the field came as a surprise. “He’ll probably win, but whatever, we’re all having a good time.”
Crispin Lipscomb (best score of 46.2) and Breck’s J.J. Thomas (44.7) were the third and fourth qualifiers, respectively. Elijah Teter was fifth with 44.4 points.
In all, 16 out of 104 competitors advanced to today’s finals.
Some big names were left on the outside looking in, starting with defending series champion Tommy “The Machine” Czeschin, who rides for the U.S. snowboarding team.
The 27-year-old said he doesn’t recall ever failing to qualify for the finals at a Grand Prix event.
“I felt like (my second) run was pretty good,” said a seemingly shocked Czeschin. “But for some reason the judges didn’t like it. … I’ll watch it on video later.”
Danny Davis, a 19-year-old who won the Breck Grand Prix last year, finished in 18th place, followed by Louie Vito in 19th and local rider Chad Otterstrom in 22nd.
Six nations ” the U.S., Canada, Norway, Japan, France and the Netherlands, will be represented in today’s finals, which begin at noon.
Gary Zebrowski, the top French rider, was the 11th qualifier with a score of 43.40.
As a member of the strong second heat (there were three in all), he was one of the riders who bumped Czeschin.
“Today was my best run ever,” said Zebrowski, who crashed on both of his qualifying runs last year in Breck. “My mom came (to spectate) from Tahiti to Breckenridge, so for me, it’s perfect.”
Adam Boffey can be contacted at (970) 668-4634, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Breck Grand Prix Qualifiers
1. Shaun White ” 47.9
2. Steve Fisher ” 47.7
3. Crispin Lipscomb ” 46.2
4. J.J. Thomas ” 44.7
5. Elijah Teter ” 44.4
6. Tore Holvik ” 44.1
7. Justin Lamoureux ” 44.0
8. Ryoh Aono ” 44.0
9. Kohdai Watanabe ” 43.7
10. Luke Mitrani ” 46.3
11. Gary Zebrowski ” 43.4
12. Kevin Pearce ” 42.2
13. Dolf Wal Van Der ” 41.9
14. Keir Dillon ” 41.5
15. Jack Mitrani ” 41.5
16. Brad Martin ” 40.9