Shea, Schultz win inaugural snowboard banked slalom world cup titles

By Katie Branham | Nov. 20, 2014, 3:01 p.m. (ET)
 Mike Shea
 Mike Shea, pictured at the 2014 Sochi Parlaympic Winter Games, won the men's LL2 banked slalom race at the first world cup stop of the season.

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – Mike Shea (Castaic, California) and Mike Schultz (St. Cloud, Minnesota) added their names to the history books as they won the first-ever banked slalom world cup titles at the first stop of the International Paralympic Committee Para-Snowboard World Cup circuit on Thursday in Landgraff, Netherlands.

Sochi 2014 Paralympic silver medalist Shea won gold in the men’s LL2 classification, while snowboarding newcomer Schultz won gold in the men’s LL1 classification in his international debut with Team USA.

Shea was dominant in the men’s LL2 race as he distanced himself from runner-up Carl Murphy of New Zealand by nearly four and a half seconds. Fellow U.S. teammate and Paralympic gold-medalist Evan Strong (Maui, Hawaii) rounded out the podium in third, while Paralympic bronze medalist Keith Gable (Ogden, Utah) took fifth.

“The first-ever IPC  banked slalom event was a success in my eyes,” Shea said. “Not only does it provide riders with an option to race in multiple disciplines, it's also brings our sport back to its roots. What snowboarder doesn't like making tight turns down a course with big berms.”

Schultz had a narrow lead of four-tenths of a second over Chris Vos of the Netherlands after the second run; however, Schultz turned in the fastest time of the day on the third run to take the win with more than a second to spare.

In the women’s LL1 race, 18-year-old Brenna Huckaby (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) finished second behind Paralympic silver-medalist Cecile Hernandez-Cervellon of France. Huckaby was joined on the podium by Nicole Roundy (Bountiful, Utah) who took bronze.

Other notable finishers included Heidi Jo Duce (Ouray, Colorado) who took fourth in the women’s LL2 race and Fatu Matagi who finished seventh in the men’s upper limb impairment class.

Team USA also won six medals in yesterday’s Europa Cup competition held at the same venue. Shea and Strong went 1-2 in the men’s LL2 class, while Schultz finished second in the men’s LL1 race. Huckaby and Roundy finished second and third, respectively, in the women’s LL1 race, while Duce finished second in the LL2 class.

After the successful debut of para-snowboarding at the 2014 Sochi Paralympic Winter Games, the sport has grown to include banked slalom as well as head-to-head boardercross competitions. The IPC Alpine Skiing, the international governing body of para-snowboard, also recently split the lower-limb impairment class into LL1 and LL2 to differentiate between athletes with different degrees of impairment.

The U.S. snowboarders will compete at home as the next world cup event is in Aspen, Colorado, Jan. 11-13. The 2014-15 season culminates at the IPC Para-Snowboard World Championships in La Molina, Spain in late February.

More information and full results of the IPC Para-Snowboarding World Cup are available at Paralympic.org.