White tops in slopestyle prelims | AspenTimes.com

White tops in slopestyle prelims

Nate Peterson/CMNM
Aspen Times photo/Mark FoxShaun White soars off a kicker Friday during the men's snowboard slopestyle prelims at Winter X Games Nine in Aspen. White took first place and will compete in the final today.

Shaun White started Friday’s slopestyle preliminary runs at X Games Nine right where he left off a year ago. The 2004 gold medal winner put together two trademark smooth runs, the best of which launched him into first place – three points higher than second-place finishers Bjorn Leines and Jussi Oksanen.The top 10 riders out of the field of 20 in Friday’s prelims advanced to today’s slopestyle final at 1 p.m.

The surprise of the day was a fourth-place finish from Breckenridge’s Todd Richards whose best run earned him 85 points.”That’s the first time I landed my first run in like six years,” Richards told an ESPN reporter. Richards, a pioneer in the sport of snowboarding, poked fun at his age and played video games between runs in the competitors tent.

Travis Rice (84.33), Denver’s Mark Frank Montoya (82), Danny Kass (82), Jake Blauvelt (81.66), Ryan Paris (80.66) and Tuomo Ojala (80.33) rounded out the final field.Competitors will be seeded in reverse start order today for the final based on their prelim scores.With his top score, White will have the advantage of going last in both runs – just as he did Friday.

Japan’s Amaike top femaleJapan’s Izumi Amaike had the high score in the preliminary round of women’s slopestyle Friday with a score of 82.66.The top three riders in the field represented a mix of international talent with Australia’s Torah Bright (78.33) finishing second and Germany’s Silvia Mittermueller (77) in third.

Fourth-place finisher Erin Comstock of Salt Lake City, Utah, was the lone American to finish in the top five. Oregon’s Janna Meyen (70), New Hampshire’s Jamie MacLeod (69.66) and Ohio’s Mary Sallah (67) rounded out the field of 10 competitors who will compete in today’s slopestyle final at 11:30 a.m.EXPN.com contributed to this report

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