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It’s winter, the snow is falling and that means one thing: Nope, not the 2022 Olympics. It’s snowboarding season for the Canby snowboarding team, and the Cougars are off to a great start, capturing six medals in four competitions so far.
Canby competed in banked slalom and boardercross, a downhill racing event, the last two Saturdays in January at the Mt. Hood Meadows ski resort, where the Cougs also practice during the season.
Canby competes in a modified league consisting of Oregon City, West Linn, Lake Oswego, Lakeridge and Wilsonville, with about 80 to 90 riders in total.
“In competition, Canby has represented very well, garnering six medals and great team points with a good grouping of placements in our races,” head coach Alexander Kerkour explained.
Team points are important because they count toward alternate roster allotments for the state competitions in March — for which two Cougar boarders have already qualified.
Snowboarding is one of the most uniquely coed sports in high school athletics, with Canby’s squad actually boasting more girls than boys this year.
Top performers have been Fiona Shadrin, who has finished second and fourth in boardercross events so far this year, and fourth and fifth in banked slalom. Elizabeth Shadrin captured third in the most recent boardcross race on January 29, and finished eight in banked slalom that day.
Megan Vanvalkenburg has placed 15th and 17th in girls banked slalom this year, Josie McCord has 16th and 18th-place finishes and Kaylee Daugherty came in 16th in the event during the first day of competition, January 22.
For the boys, Koby Kessler impressed on January 29, finished third overall in boardercross and 15th in banked slalom. He also finished 24th in the field of 43 in banked slalom January 22.
His coach was particularly proud of the way he fought hard against the stiff competition last Saturday, battling through the quarterfinals, semis and finally, the last heat of the day.
“Everyone brought the fire, tension was high,” Kerkour said. “Koby applied what we practiced to the best of his ability, had no wrecks on the day and finished on the podium with a bronze.”
Despite his success on the slopes, Kessler is expected to be unable to participate in state competitions, because he previously qualified for nationals in the decathlon in March.
“I wasn’t too upset with that,” Kerkour admitted.
In other boys’ results, Peyton Walker has a 26th-place finish in banked slalom, Titus Baurer has come in 36th and 38th and Grady Morgan has placed 38th and 39th in the two weeks of competition.
“This year has been challenging regarding the transportation shortages for all of CHS athletics, but the determination and diligence of our team have allowed us to persevere with great success!” Kerkour said.
Up next will be two slopestyle competitions — on Saturday, February 5th, and Friday, February 18 — followed by two days of halfpipe contests on February 21 and 25, with the Cougars hoping to snag more berths for states.
Mt. Hood Meadows’ slopestyle (jumps and rails) competition is at a portion of the park known as Fireweed, Kerkour said, and the halfpipe is a superpipe about the length of a football field, with walls 18 to 20 feet high.
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