Luke Smart knew lining up at home in Whistler was a good omen.
Heading into the Canadian Junior National Freestyle Championships this past weekend, the BC Team member looked to land national supremacy in his first year in the U18 category.
He did just that, winning the competition with an unparalleled score of 90.6 in slopestyle to win that event, while also earning second in big air and fourth in halfpipe, en route to locking down the national boys' title.
"It's at home, so I was pretty used to the course," he said. "I was just hyped to be able to put down some runs here in Whistler at the last comp of the season.
"I was pretty happy and excited that it all came together... It was nice to end the season on a good note."
Smart said he put together a plan for his run and though there were a few challenges with the conditions, didn't have to make any adjustments on the way down.
"What I did was exactly what I envisioned," he said. "It was a little bit tough. The rails were a little bit sticky.
"The light was a little bit foggy. That kind of came in during the first and second runs, but it was clear enough to make it down."
Smart took a load of confidence from his first-ever NorAm podium at Mount St. Louis Moonstone earlier this season, and he plans to train over the summer to take the next step forward in 2017-18.
"(My goals are) to do the same competitions and hopefully, come up with some more podiums," he said.
Alberta's Elena Ann Paskevich took the girls' title while Whistler Blackcomb Freestyle Ski Club's (WBFSC) Skye Clarke was third overall and first among U16s.
Competing in U16, Clarke topped her division in slopestyle, took second in big air and won the halfpipe. Her teammate, Josephine Howell, won the big air event while finishing fourth in the halfpipe and second in slopestyle.
In the U14 division, Chase Capicik was the top local, taking third in slopestyle, sixth in big air and first in the halfpipe while Cassidy Butterworth earned second in big air while taking fifth in the slopestyle. Lynnette Conn, meanwhile, also snagged a second in the halfpipe. Malica Malherbe took third in the big air while earning fourth in slopestyle and fifth in halfpipe.
As for the boys, U18 competitor Chase Ujejski was third in both slopestyle and big air, while brother Anders was just off the slopestyle podium in fourth. In U14 action, Kai Martin earned a second-place showing in big air and was fourth in slopestyle and halfpipe. As for the U16 big air, Julien Chartrand took fourth and Kai Smart was fifth. Fellow U16 Ben Lynch ended up fifth in slopestyle.
Finishers in the top 10, meanwhile, included Stephen Lindsay-Ross (seventh in U14 big air) and Steven Kahnert (eighth in U14 slopestyle and ninth in big air) for the boys while Emilia Oziewicz (eighth in U14 slopestyle and big air) and Maddelyn Low (ninth in U14 slopestyle and big air) starred for the girls.
Full results are online at www.freestylebc.ski.
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