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Huckaby, Gabel on the Podium in Big White

By Ryan Odeja
March, 23 2024
Keith Gabel on the podium in Big White
Keith Gabel smiles on the podium in Big White, Canada. (Andrew Jay).

Brenna Huckaby and Keith Gabel landed back on the podium in the first of two snowboard cross events at the snowboard cross World Cup Finals in Big White, British Columbia, Canada. 

It was a cloudy, cool day with temperatures hovering just below freezing in Big White. This created perfect compact snow conditions for a snowboard cross event. Snow started to fall halfway through the day, covering the icy racing surface with a layer of powder, complicating things for racers. 

The team had a strong showing in the qualification round, sending 10 athletes to the finals. Brenna Huckaby led the women in the semi finals, winning her heat to advance to the big final. Dennae Russell and Courtney Godfrey of Team Utah advanced to the women’s small final.

Ultimately, the women’s LL-1/LL-2 big final was a battle, with Huckaby finishing second overall. This is Huckaby’s fifth podium of the season. Russell finished fifth, followed by Godfrey in seventh. Godfrey is returning from a gnarly fall in Pyhä in February, which forced her to withdraw from the races due to concussion protocol. 

In the stacked men’s LL-2 event, Zach Miller, Keith Gabel, Evan Strong and Joe Pleban advanced to the finals for the United States. Gabel put on a solid performance to make his way onto the podium for the fourth time this season, finishing third overall. Just off the podium was Miller in fourth, Strong in sixth and Pleban in eighth. 

Noah Elliott, the current World Cup overall Crystal Globe leader, was leading in the men’s LL-1 big final until an unfortunate fall took him out of podium contention. He finished fourth on the day. 

In the final event of the day, Mike Minor continued his successful season, finishing fifth in the men’s UL classification. Colby Fields of Adaptive Action Sports took 10th.

Tomorrow, the team is back in action in Big White for the final snowboard cross event of the season, where the snowboard cross Crystal Globes will be awarded. Brenna Huckaby currently leads the women’s LL-2 snowboard cross standings, with 130 points separating her and Romy Tschopp of Switzerland. Noah Elliott is sitting in second place, with the opportunity to take over the standings tomorrow. Qualifications are slated for 2:00 pm ET, with finals at 3:30 pm ET.