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Clark, Gold shine in halfpipe qualifying at Burton US Open snowboarding championships

March 7, 2014, 11:00 am
Taylor Gold

Taylor Gold soars above Vail’s 22-foot superpipe en route to a second-place qualifying run Thursday (Jeff Patterson photo).

Three-time Olympic medalist Kelly Clark, of Dover, Vt., topped the women’s halfpipe field Thursday in the stellar second day of the 32nd annual Burton US Open Snowboarding Championships presented by MINI at Vail Mountain, and China’s Yiwei Zhang turned in the top men’s score in qualifying for Saturday’s finals.

Six out of 16 women moved on to the finals and 10 of 31 men qualified in the two-run format on Vail’s 22-foot superpipe at Golden Peak. All events are free and open to the public, including today’s slopestyle finals.

Clark, a 2014 Olympic bronze medalist in Sochi and 2002 gold medalist, upped her first run score of an 82.20 with an 87.53 on her second run.

Clark’s run was complete with a huge frontside 1080, Cab 720, frontside air, backside 540 double tail grab, frontside 540 indy, and a method air. She advanced to the finals in a bid for an unprecedented seventh US Open halfpipe title on Saturday.
“Last year this pipe was the best pipe we rode all year and I didn’t know if that was just a one time thing,” Clark said. “After riding now, it wasn’t just a one time thing. It’s perfect.”
Right behind Clark was Spain’s Queralt Castellet (ESP) in second and California teen sensation Chloe Kim in third. Tune into the women’s halfpipe finals live from Vail on Saturday at 11:30 a.m. MST to see if Kim — second to Clark at this year’s X Games in Aspen but too young for the Olympics — can take down the veteran rider.
After the women’s semi-finals, 31 men showcased their abilities in the halfpipe, with Zhang soaring his way into first position. Zhang’s furious second run included a method air, frontside double 1080, Cab double cork 1080 indy to mute grab, frontside double 1260, double barrel roll, and a frontside 1080 tailgrab, scoring an 93.00.
Steamboat’s Taylor Gold (USA) came in second and Ben Ferguson (USA) took third.

“It’s such a relief,” said Gold. “I didn’t really know if it was going to happen coming in because I’ve had some trouble in the last few contests, so I was happy to get in with my first run score.”

Gold ran out of room in his last qualifying run at the Olympics and missed the finals.

Watch the top 10 men from semi-finals battle it out for the 2014 Burton US Open halfpipe title and the $45,000 first place cash purse, on Saturday beginning at 2pm MST on FOX Sports 2 and Burton.com/USO.

Women’s Halfpipe Semi-Final Results:

1. Kelly Clark (USA), BURTON, 87.53

2. Queralt Castellet (ESP), YONEX, 85.40

3. Chloe Kim (USA), BURTON, 78.83

4. Hannah Teter (USA), BURTON, 74.08

5. Sophie Rodriguez (FRA), OAKLEY, 72.90

6. Rana Okada (JPN), BURTON, 72.78

Men’s Halfpipe Semi-Final Results:

1. Yiwei Zhang (CHN), MINI, 93.00

2. Taylor Gold (USA), BURTON, 84.38

3. Ben Ferguson (USA), BURTON, 81.85

4. Gabe Ferguson (USA), BURTON, 80.50

5. Jake Pates (USA), BURTON, 79.63

6. David Habluetzel (SUI), BURTON, 78.80

7. Louie Vito (USA), VIVE, 78.65

8. Taku Hiraoka (JPN), BURTON, 77.35

9. Kent Callister (AUS), LIB TECH, 76.28

10. Christian Haller (SUI), BURTON, 75.28

Tomorrow, don’t miss day three of the Burton US Open with slopestyle finals beginning at 11:30am MST, with live coverage on FOX Sports 2 andBurton.com/USO.

For anyone who missed the live webcast, highlights of winning runs, full webcast replays, contest recaps and more are here. Also check your local listings to watch US Open re-airs, the US Open Lifestyle show, and men’s and women’s slopestyle and halfpipe highlight shows on FOX Sports 2.

For more information on the 2014 Burton US Open and a full list of invited competitors, follow facebook.com/burtonsnowboards, @burtonsnowboard onTwitter and Instagram, the hashtag #BurtonUSOpen and head to www.Burton.com/USO.

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