Wolle, Maud Wow Crowds To Claim USASA Nationals Halfpipe TItles
Any fan of outstanding snowboarding was in for a treat at the 2019 USASA National Championships at Copper Mountain Resort in Colorado on Wednesday afternoon, as a perfectly-cut halfpipe, ideal weather conditions, and an exceptional field of riders from around the country all combined to produce an excellent Open class halfpipe competition.
Every rider on hand stomped at least one of their two finals runs, and with every one of those stomped runs offering multiple brow raising moments, the judges had their work cut out for them on Wednesday. However, two riders in particular separated themselves from the pack, and at the end of the day it would be two U.S. Snowboard Rookie Team members Tessa Maud (Carlsbad, Calif.) and Jason Wolle (Winter Park, Colo.) leading the way from qualifiers through to final runs and taking the 2019 Nationals titles.
Already on her way to becoming a World Cup regular at just 15-years-old, Unbound Series representative Maud impressed from the outset, with big, smooth airs and long-held grabs throughout her spins and straight airs, dropping a first run that included a first-hit frontside 720, cab 720, tuck-knee, backside 540, and a big stalefish to finish things off.
“It was super fun out there today, and all the girls killed it,” said Maud following the awards ceremony, “I rode the Rev Tour and the World Cup this year, but USASA has a huge place in my heart because I’ve been doing it for eight years. I love it and it’s good to be back here with all my old friends and around the groms and everyone. It’s super fun.”
Second place and the silver medal for the ladies went to 14-year-old Alexandria Simsovits (Calabasas, Calif.), also of the Unbound Series, while Japan’s Ayako Kamata would earn bronze.
In the men’s contest, Wolle let it be known early that he wasn’t going to be easily stopped, dropping a massive double Michalchuk with his first hit of his first finals run that was the inarguable trick of the day, before going on to stomp a frontside 900, backside 540, frontside 720, and cab 720 to take a clear victory.
“Today was awesome,” the Rocky Mountain Series rider smiled with his gold medal in hand, “I podiumed last year - I got third place - but I really wanted to step it up this year and put down a really good run and today it all came together. I actually dislocated my elbow three weeks ago, so I’ve only had two days on snow since then, and to come back and put down probably one of my best runs of the season and walk away with the win is really something special. I’m super happy with it.”
Knowing he had the win in the bag before dropping in on his final run, Wolle took a moment to stop on the deck at the top of the pipe and wave to the crowd, before dropping in on a lofty straight-air victory lap that was as pretty to watch as anything seen in the pipe all day.
“My victory lap…I don’t want to sound to cocky, but I was really happy with my first run, so when the last score came in I knew I could do (the victory lap) and I kind of had to. My coaches and my friends and my family were all here, so I had to show off a little bit. Nationals is always such a good vibe, so it’s fun to show off a bit for the crowd.”
“Thirty years of Nationals is pretty impressive, and to have it here at my new home - I’m living in Frisco now and I’m training at Copper all the time - so it’s pretty cool. I’ve been coming to Nationals for five years now and to win at the 30th anniversary is pretty special.”
Behind Wolle in second place was Fynn Bullock-Womble (Mebane, N.C.), as the 14-year-old Rocky Mountain Series product continued a hugely impressive showing at the 2019 Nationals that saw him finish fourth in the Open class rail jam on Tuesday night. Third place and the bronze medal, meanwhile, went to 25-year-old Shane Serrano (Bridgewater, N.J.) of the Aspen Snowmass Series.
U.S. Snowboard Rookie Team athletes like Wolle and Maud started competing at USASA grassroots events and are great examples of the progression possible working within the USASA and U.S. Ski & Snowboard athlete development pipeline. To this point, snowboarding in the U.S. has found great success. As an illustration, the U.S. Snowboard Team has amassed 31 Olympic medals dating back to the 1998 Olympics. It is easy to see why in 2012 Bill Marolt awarded the USASA the Russell Wilder Award stating, "without USASA, the U.S would not be able to dominate in the sport of snowboarding as we do today".
Men's snowboard halfpipe open class
Women's snowboard halfpipe open class