Vernon sophomores shine at Chevrolet Grand Prix

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:56

    VERNON-A pair of local teens defended their home turf last weekend, as Nick Larson and Elise Fogowski, both sophomores at Vernon Township High School, had impressive showings at the Chevrolet U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mountain Creek. Larson, 15, had his best overall outing in the grand prix series' final stop, placing eleventh in heat one. He failed to quality for Saturday's 7 p.m. final but was happy nonetheless. "I think I did pretty good," said Larson. "I'm just stoked to be here. This was my first ever grand prix, and it was super fun." The Mountain Creek event is part of a three-stage tour that brings the top riders from all over the world to Vernon to fight for $10,000 in cash and a new Chevy truck. Last year, Hannah Teeter and Andy Finch seized the prizes in the resort's inaugural year hosting the event. In the first two stops this year, Larson says he didn't do his best and was glad he had his best showing in his backyard. I'm proud of my buddy even though he didn't qualify for the finals," said 15-year-old Anthony Franiossi of Andover. "Nick is so talented." Next year, Larson gets another chance at the grand prix series. But there will be a little more than a truck and cash involved. Once again, Mountain Creek will be the final leg in the series, but next year's Olympic Snowboarding team will come from a point system based on the grand prix. "That would be great super fun to qualify for the Olympics here," said Larson. "I have a year to work on a few things and get better. But I'm so stoked about today." Although he wasn't one of the 16 men to qualify for the finals under the lights, he took full advantage of the allotted practice time for riders busting some crippler 720s, backside 9s and cab 5s in the pipe before the finals began at 7 p.m. Taking home the loot and the new ride for the men was Elijah Teter, who overtook Michael Goldschmidt, the leader after round one. Lindsey Jacobellis conquered the pipe and won the women's purse. Fugowski finished third in the Paul Mitchell Progression Session, an afternoon freestyle event on Saturday. Last year, the 15-year-old placed second in the same event and qualified for a cash prize. But she had to give it back because accepting any money would have damaged her amateur status, making her ineligible for any interscholastic sports. The Highland Lakes native plays soccer and track for the Vikings. Jamie Macleod and Mary Sallah edged Fugowski in the progression session, where riders grinded on old and new rails in the Sugar Jib Park.