Bleiler airs into second at U.S. Grand Prix
December 23, 2002
Keir Dillon of East Stroudsburg, Penn., and 15-year-old Hannah Teter of Belmont, Vt., bumped Olympic medalists from the limelight in Park City by winning the U.S. Snowboard Grand Prix superpipe contest Friday.
Snowmass Village’s Gretchen Bleiler was second in the women’s event. Teter, meanwhile, carried the highest qualifying score all the way to the top of the podium for her first senior win since winning the Junior World Championships earlier this year.
Olympic gold medalists Kelly Clark of Mt. Snow, Vt., and Ross Powers of South Londonderry, Vt., stood just off the podium in fourth and sixth respectively, while ?02 silver medalist Danny Kass of Hamburg, N.J., and bronze medalist J.J. Thomas were fourth and fifth.
The event was one of the biggest in the history of the sport, kicking off with the Red Hot Chili Peppers playing to a sellout crowd. The 8,000-plus then migrated up the hill to jam at the halfpipe for the two-hour finals.
Rob Kingwill of Jackson Hole moved up one notch from his third-place finish one week ago to finish second for the men, while high school sophomore Patrick Moore of Waterville Valley, N.H., shocked everyone nabbing third with some of the biggest airs of the day. Olympic veteran Tricia Byrnes of Greenwich, Conn., rounded out the women’s podium.
For 15-year-old Teter, the win solidified the trend of youthful halfpipe domination in the women’s ranks as she shared a hug with Clark, 19, in the finish area after her huge second run.
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Good friends Bleiler and Byrnes showed why they are the vets on the U.S. team with consistent runs to get into the finals before stepping it up, throwing big straight airs combined with a mix of tricks including an inverted rodeo by Bleiler and a pair of sevens by Byrnes.
“I didn’t get it all together in practice,” said Bleiler, “but I was so excited to get it dialed in during my second run. All the girls out here are riding so well, especially all the young ones, so it is a big deal to podium.”
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