Gretchen Bleiler takes 2nd place U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain |

Gretchen Bleiler takes 2nd place U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain

Kelly Clark was back at it again Saturday as she, joined by first-time Grand Prix winner Matt Ladley, took to the top of the halfpipe podium at the U.S. Snowboarding Grand Prix at Mammoth Mountain.

The win cemented Clark’s Grand Prix overall title, along with fellow champion Louie Vito who was third for the day.

“It’s great to come out and get another win here. More than the placing, I’m happy with my riding. That’s the most important thing for me and the good placing follows that,” Clark said.

Clark was followed in second by Gretchen Bleiler and Sarah Conrad of Canada was third.

In favor of securing an early lead, Clark put together a run she knew she had on lock with a front 9, back 5, front 7, cab 7 and stalefish.

“It’s great to come out and land your first run in finals. I’ve been working on increasing my standard for what that is, and that’s my stock final,” Clark said.

The event marked the seventh win in a row for Clark, who moves onto the U.S. Open this week and hopes to add more wins and titles to her arsenal.

“This is definitely a big win for me. I came away with the Dew Tour title and the Grand Prix title now. I’m looking forward to next week and seeing if I can’t step it up in the TTR and the Global Open series,” Clark said.

Bleiler was all smiles with her second-place finish, considering she had fun and was also able to land her back 9, a trick she has been in the process of perfecting.

“I had a really tough day yesterday, so I decided to take a little pressure off myself. I feel like sometimes I put too much on and I hit a wall. So I decided to let it go today,” Bleiler said. “Instead of doing front 9, back 9, I decided to work on my crippler, which is a strength of mine. Then I got my back 9 on my second run and I am so happy with that.”

Ladley, on the other hand, had no expectations for the day, and couldn’t believe he was standing at the top of the pipe before his second run with the win already secured.

“I feel great. It’s hard to explain. It’s surreal. I got a victory lap up there and I was thinking, ‘I already won, this is crazy,'” said the U.S. Snowboarding rookie. “I knew I put down a solid first run but I saw a lot of those guys landing their doubles, but it turns out it held up pretty well.”

Ladley took the victory with a back 5, front 9, back 9, front 10, cab 10.

“This is my first time winning a Grand Prix, and my first time really winning a major event. So it feels good. I’ve been on the podium a couple of times, but I’ve been hoping for this one for a while,” Ladley said.

Following behind Ladley were hometown favorite Greg Bretz for second and Vito with the third.

“It’s really good that I was able to come home and perform well. It’s kind of bragging rights that I can put it down at home,” Bretz said.

And while it wasn’t the exact result he was looking for, Vito was still pleased to come away with his second series title of the season.

“It is what it is. I wish I were a little higher, obviously. You always want to do better and better. I stayed on my feet after a weird first run. I took home the overall, which is good, so I am happy about that, too,” Vito said.

The event marked the final tour stop of the Grand Prix series for the 2011 season.

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Posted on: March 6, 2011