Defending Champs Huckaby, Schultz Lead Nine Americans In Reaching Snowboardcross Finals

by Bob Reinert

Brenna Huckaby competes during the women's snowboardcross SB-LL2 qualification during the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 6, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China. 


Ask most athletes about their goals for the Paralympic Winter Games in Beijing, and they might mention medals and podium appearances. Despite her success, Para snowboarder Brenna Huckaby is setting her personal goals for the Games in a different way. 

After placing second in the qualification runs for women’s snowboard cross SB-LL2 Sunday at Genting Snow Park in Zhangjiakou, China, Huckaby offered an interesting perspective.
“My goals here are to stay present and be in the moment,” Huckaby said. “The future will take care of itself.
“I’m going to show up, give it my all, give it my best, and wherever I end is where I end.”
Huckaby, the defending gold medalist in snowboardcross and banked slalom, ended up among the top 16 headed into Monday’s quarterfinals. She was one of nine American athletes across four classifications to qualify for the finals. The U.S. has dominated snowboarding since it was introduced to the Games in 2014.
In snowboardcross, riders open with a time trial round before facing off in head-to-head heats.
Disqualified in the first round, Huckaby gathered herself and turned in a time of 1 minute, 11.13 seconds in the second and final round on the course, which has 28 features — jumps, banked turns and drops — over 1,130 meters with a vertical drop of 139 meters.
“My first run, I gave it 100 percent,” said Huckaby, originally from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, “and I had a lot more speed than I thought I was going to, and I didn’t make the moves to handle it.
“It’s just feedback. Today’s not winning a medal, just figuring out what could happen tomorrow.”

Mike Schultz competes during the men's snowboardcross SB-LL1 qualification during the Paralympic Winter Games Beijing 2022 on March 6, 2022 in Zhangjiakou, China.


Defending gold medalist Mike Schultz, who also won a silver medal in banked slalom in 2018, received some positive feedback of his own in qualifying third in the men’s SB-LL1 classification with a time of 1:05.73.
“Our class has deep talent in it, and it’s going to be tight for sure,” Schultz said. “Time trials is one thing, but once we get elbow to elbow, there’s a lot of variables there."
“The medal is the goal — the golden one — but I know if I put down my best run that I’m capable of, it can be the fastest.”
Mike Minor of Team USA qualified eighth in the men’s SB-UL. Nicknamed the “squirrel,” Minor was a bronze medalist in the event at PyeongChang in 2018, where he also won a gold medal in banked slalom.
“That’s from one of my old coaches, Pat Holland,” Minor said of the nickname. “It’s obviously for my attitude — I’m just all over the place. I just like to keep it fresh and always be nutty.”
Minor laid down an opening round time of 1:03.96 to qualify.
“I’m really happy to just be here again,” Minor said. “It’s really easy to get a lot of pressure put on you when you’re a medalist."
“To just be able to come back and be here again and be present is amazing. So, win or lose this week, I’m just happy to be here and putting out for adaptive snowboarding.”
American Garrett Geros, making his Paralympic debut, placed second in men’s SB-LL2 qualifying in 1:02.46, followed by teammates Keith Gabel, a two-time Paralympic medalist in the event, and Zach Miller in fifth and 15th, respectively. 
Noah Elliott, who won a bronze medal in snowboardcross and a gold medal in banked slalom four years ago, qualified in fifth place in men’s SB-LL1 with a time of 1:07.32.
Brittani Coury and Katlyn Maddry joined Huckaby in qualifying in the women’s SB-LL2 classification, finishing fifth and 13th, respectively. Coury won a silver medal in banked slalom in 2018, while Maddry is appearing in her first Games.


Want to follow Team USA athletes during the Paralympic Games Beijing 2022? Visit to view the competition schedule, medal table and results.

Bob Reinert spent 17 years writing sports for The Boston Globe. He also served as a sports information director at Saint Anselm College and Phillips Exeter Academy. He is a contributor to on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc