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O'Dine 19th in World Cup snowboard cross qualifying

P.G. athletes Graham, Bichon miss the cut; Gairns, Rowell tackle World Cup ski cross course in Innchen, Italy
World Cup snowboard cross Cervinia, Italy Dec. 17 2022
Kevin Hill of Vernon, far right, fights for a position during his World Cup snowboard cross run Friday on the slopes of Cevinia, Italy

After finishing fourth last week in Montafon, Austria, Meryeta O’Dine had high hopes she would find a similar fast track on the World Cup snowboard cross course in Cervinia, Italy to keep her medal quest intact.

But there was no such luck for the 24-year-old from Prince George.

O’Dine finished 19th in her qualifying run Friday, and only the top-16 advance to Saturday’s competition.

Her national teammate Tess Critchlow did make the grade, finishing seventh out of 40 competitors. Critchlow, of Kelowna, finished the course in 43:30, one minute 24 seconds behind pace-setter Charlotte Bankes of Great Britain, who clocked 42:06. Lindsey Jacobellis of the United States and Michela Moioli of Italy each ended up 35-100th of a second behind Bankes.

Audrey McManiman of St. Ambrose de Kildare, Que., finished 15th and qualified. Zoe Bergermann of Erin, Ont., was 31st.

In men’s qualifying, Eliot Grondin of St. Marie, Que., was second-fastest in Cervinia. He crossed the line 16-100th of a second behind Lucas Equibar of Spain, who completed the course in 39:02.. Jakob Dudek of Austria was third, 0.32 off the pace.

Kevin Hill of Vernon (+.67) was ninth and Liam Moffatt of Truro, N.S., was 29th (+1.00). Grondin, Hill and Moffatt all will move on to Saturday’s race. The top-32 men qualify.

Prince George racers Evan Bichon was 47th (+1.81) and Colby Graham placed 54th (+2.24).

Meanwhile, at the World Cup ski cross event in Innichen, Italy, Gavin Rowell of Prince George will be the 46th starter in a field of 65 racers for Saturday’s qualifying round. The 19-year-old placed 46th last week in qualifying in Val Thorens, France.

Tiana Gairns of Prince George came close to the medal podium in both her races last weekend in France and will look to improve on her sixth-place finishes last Saturday and Sunday. She will start third in a field of 30 women entered in qualifying.