SNU performs strong in stunted USCSA competition


SNU’s Nikkie Starick sliding a box at the 2020 USCSA National Championships. Photo courtesy of USCSA

Kayla Heidenreich, Editor

Ski and snowboard athletes from Sierra Nevada University were halfway through a week of competition at the United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboard Association National Championships in New York in March, when they had to abandon competition because of cancellations related to the national coronavirus scare.

This year SNU students who qualified for nationals traveled to Lake Placid, New York, to ride at Whiteface Mountain and explore Lake Placid for the USCSA National Championships. When the competition was cut short, SNU was left scrambling to get back to Incline Village.

“This year the national championships were put on hold due to concerns surrounding COVID-19 and the recent outbreaks throughout the country,” SNU snowboard coach Ty Casey said. “Evening awards, the final banquet ceremony, and the last day of competition in giant slalom were all canceled due to health and wellness safety measures.”

SNU is a part of USCSA in the Northern California Conference. With 11 different conferences all across the country and multiple schools from each conference traveling to attend the championship, the possibility of exposure to the virus was deemed high.

“Although it was unfortunate our athletes were unable to complete the competition this year, it was still a very successful event and a great learning opportunity for our team to prepare for next year’s National Championships,” Casey said.

The opening ceremony and first two award ceremonies were held before USCSA shut down all further gatherings. The SNU women’s snowboard team placed third in rail jam and second in slopestyle. The men’s snowboard team placed second in rail jam, with Alex Schoff placing first overall, and third place in both boardercross and slopestyle. The men’s freeski team placed first in rail jam with Cole Lyon placing overall first. The women’s alpine skiers placed first in giant slalom and second in slalom with Sixtine Piccard placing first overall in both. The men placed second in giant slalom and third in slalom.

“COVID-19 primarily affected nationals for me personally by canceling my primary event, the giant slalom,” snowboard racer Marc Speake said. “Between that and the weather conditions, the snowboard racing events were greatly diminished this season.”

While the competition did not go as initially planned, all of the colleges and USCSA got on the same page with coaches meetings every night to figure out the safest option for everyone involved.

“Despite bad weather conditions and the threat of the virus looming, we still managed to have a great time and made some memories that will last forever,” freshman snowboarder Dave Nunes said. “It was super lit.”

SNU students who traveled to New York are being called on to remain quarantined for 2 weeks as New York is a hot spot for the virus. People who have recently traveled through the area are at high risk for exposure.