Mike Schultz competes in the men's team snowboardcross competition in Lillehammer (Photo: Alex Livesey/Getty Images)
LILLEHAMMER, NORWAY – Paralympic medalists Mike Schultz (St. Cloud, Minnesota) and Evan Strong (Haiku, Hawaii) finished the Lillehammer 2021 Para Snow Sports World Championships with a seventh-place finish in the team snowboardcross competition on Saturday. Keith Gabel (Ogden, Utah) and Tyler Burdick (Salt Lake City, Utah) took 11th.
Both already medalists in the individual snowboardcross competition in Lillehammer, Schultz and Strong teamed up to advance through the quarterfinals, but crashes took them out of the running in both the semifinals and small final. Schultz and Strong both had stellar days yesterday, taking silver and bronze in the men’s SB-LL1 and SB-LL2 competitions, respectively.
Team USA had a strong showing in Lillehammer, earning eight Para snowboard medals overall. The team will compete in at least one more world cup competition before the Paralympic team is named on Feb. 16.
“This is the first big event that these guys are stepping up to in preparation for Beijing,” Jessica Smith, associate director of U.S. Paralympics Snowboarding, said. “ it was an amazing performance for the team, but also there was just great camaraderie among the team in general. I think everyone came together and capitalized on the hill when they could. It’s only going to get better as we get closer to Beijing.”
Schultz and Brenna Huckaby (Baton Rouge, Louisiana) led the Team USA medal haul with two apiece. Huckaby took gold in dual banked slalom and silver in yesterday’s snowboardcross, while Schultz earned silver in each event. Zach Miller (Denver Colorado) and Noah Elliott (St. Charles, Missouri) were also crowned world champions in the men’s dual banked slalom SB-LL2 and SB-LL1, respectively. Burdick and Strong each took bronze in the individual snowboardcross yesterday.
With Para snowboard competition concluded in Lillehammer, U.S. Paralympics Snowboard heads to , Sweden next for the final European world cup stop of the season. Select team members will also compete in the world cup in Big White, Canada, from Feb. 8-12. The Paralympic Games kick off March 4.
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