Pitman golden at junior nationals snowboard-cross

A local boarder had an incredible week at Big White, where the Sport Chek Canadian Snowboardcross championships took place.

A local boarder had an incredible week at Big White, where the Sport Chek Canadian Snowboardcross championships took to the slopes Friday and Saturday.

Warfield’s Tom Pitman three-peated as Canadian junior men’s champion, capturing his third and final national junior title, while Kelowna native Tess Crithlow won the junior girl’s championship.

Pitman finished his junior-age eligibility with another win, although having to rely on Chris Robanske’s board because he had broken his own earlier in the month.

The 19-year-old Kootenay Boarder showed that his technique was more important than the equipment and climbed to the top of his third consecutive junior podium.

“That feels good,” Pitman told a Canada Snowboard reporter. “This is the third year in a row that I’ve won it. This is my last year [as a junior] so it’s good to win. Top 10 tomorrow [Saturday] would be nice. I was in Switzerland for a bit and I broke my board. I’m riding Chris Robanske’s board right now so thanks to Chris for his board.”

Joining him on the podium was the American Joshua Cohen followed by local rider Clinton Pederson from Kelowna winning the bronze medal.

Tom’s brother Mitch Pitman meanwhile had just come off a strong fourth-place finish at the Mount Hood Nor Am competition the week before, but the weekend’s success was hard earned with Mitch recovering from a sprained ankle.

He still managed a very good fifth-place showing in the junior nationals, and was the third fastest Canadian behind Tom and Pederson.

The line up also included many veteran athletes including Olympians Maelle Ricker, and Robert Fagan as well as Robanske, a gold medal winner from the World Cup held in Blue Mountain.

Ricker from Squamish was the favourite coming into Saturday’s senior open competition and didn’t disappoint. Riding with a comfortable lead all day, the current world and Olympic champion found her way to first place without any problem.

Critchlow, the newly crowned Canadian junior Champion, showed she could race among the seniors winning the silver medal during the competition.

“The best parts of the nationals this past week was watching the para World Cups and seeing the juniors battle it out on Friday,” said Ricker.

“I was so impressed by the level of the younger riders and the knowledge they have already in making quick decisions in race situations. I’m really looking forward to next year. Thanks for the great event.”

On the men’s front, the Americans swept the podium with Robert Minghini in first place and Chris Mahaney and Mike Dierdorff in second and third respectively. Robanske from North Vanvouver was the best Canadian finishing in fourth place.

The Pitmans’ also competed in the senior men’s race, but fought warm and slushy conditions all day, with Tom finishing in 14th and Mitch losing his edge after leading his race and placing 25th.

The twins had both recently returned from Europe where they attended the Junior Worlds in Erzurum, Turkey with Mitch placing 21st and Tommy 26th.

Tommy then stayed on to attend World Cups in Switzerland at Arosa placing 45th and Veysonnaz where he came 32nd.