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Monday, August 27, 2012
Rampage in the Rockies

By Colin Bane
ESPN.com

Bryce Stark floats a high method in the thin air of the Rockies.

Fifteen year-old skater Jono Schwan is having a big year: after coming up through the vert amateurs contest over the last few, few years Schwan made his pro X Games debut in Los Angeles in July, competing in both Vert and Big Air. He's made even bigger strides back home in Colorado Springs, Colo., where Sk8-Strong -- the non-profit he founded -- recently got a new vert ramp built at the city's Memorial Skatepark, and he was instrumental in bringing World Cup Skateboarding competition to the ramp just one month after it's grand opening. On Saturday Schwan put the cherry on top, beating out Zachary Rose and Marcelo Bastos to win the WCS Rocky Mountain Rampage vert finals.

"Just to have something like this ramp I'm standing on right now here in Colorado is just incredible, and it's the result of two years of fundraising and hard work from a whole lot of people," Schwan told ESPN.com after the competition. "To be able to host a World Cup Skateboarding event like this, and then to come out and win it... it's humbling. I haven't even processed it yet. More than anything I'm just super excited to have so many people out here enjoying this ramp and this event I've been working so hard on."

Women's Vert

Nineteen year-old skateboarder Lizzie Armanto beat out three-time X Games gold medalist Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana and Allysha Bergado (also an X Games veteran) on Saturday on the vert ramp at World Cup Skateboarding's Rocky Mountain Rampage event in Colorado Springs, Colo.

"I'm super, super stoked and I can't explain how amazing it feels," Armanto told ESPN.com after the competition. "This is actually my first vert competition because there's literally never been another one since I've been competing, so I've been more focused on bowl contests. Hopefully there's going to be more women's vert events to come, because there are a lot of little girls coming up and I'd love to see them come shred and kill it and bring women's vert back."

Pastrana said the event, in addition to being the only women's vert contest on the World Cup circuit this year, was the first pro women's vert contest held since X Games dropped the discipline in 2010.

Lizzie Armanto 5-0 grinds to win the women's vert and bowl.

"It's a bummer and there's not as many girls starting out now because they don't see that it exists," Pastrana told ESPN.com. "When I was coming up X Games was what you'd strive for. It's great to see World Cup Skateboarding bringing it back now."

Bowl Contest

Josh Rodriguez of Banning, Calif. won the men's pro bowl final on Sunday at the Rocky Mountain Rampage.

"It was hard at first getting used to the altitude, but as I kept skating it started to feel better," Rodriguez told ESPN.com after the competition. That elevation has made Colorado Springs -- home of the U.S. Olympic Committee and the U.S. Olympic Training Center -- a destination for athletes of every stripe, but it's the 40,000 foot skatepark designed and built by Team Pain in 2008 that interested Rodriguez,. "I love this skatepark and I love this bowl, so I wanted to do good, stay on, and give everybody a good show. This is my fourth year competing in World Cup events and I have to say this event has been the most fun and has the most local rippers. I mean, look at their training ground!"

Colorado Springs local Tony Marle took second, and Michael Brooklyn, from Montclair, Calif., took third. Derek Scott, from Salida, Colo., and Bryce Stark, another Colorado Springs local, rounded out the five-man finals.

In the women's bowl division Lizzie Armanto was back on top on Sunday, beating out Allysha Bergado and Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana after also winning the Women's Vert division on Saturday. Armanto was ripping long smith grinds through the park's large round bowl section, and feeble grinds to fakie in the tighter square bowl pocket, skating like she owned the place with stretched out frontside inverts and huge Indy airs despite spending much of her warm-up time this weekend on the vert ramp.

"I really like bowl skating -- it's kind of my thing -- but I almost never get to skate on a good vert ramp, so I was over there trying to learn some new airs to bring over to the bowl competition," Armanto told ESPN.com.

Bones Brigade legend Mike McGill won the master's division after flying in from a screening of Stacy Peralta's new documentary "Bones Brigade: An Autobiography" in Montreal, Canada the day before the contest. He ended up beating out Curt Baker -- one of the Team Pain crew members who helped build Memorial Skatepark -- and Colorado Springs local Rob Ehlers to top the podium.

"If it wasn't for a young skater named Jono I wouldn't be here," McGill said, after the competition. Jono Schwan, 15, is the founder of Sk8-Strong, the Colorado Springs non-profit that helped get the vert ramp open at Memorial Skatepark open last month and helped bring the World Cup Skateboarding crew to Colorado. Scwhan also won the men's pro vert finals on Saturday. "Jono found me on Facebook and said, 'Mike I think you should come to our event,' and he was so earnest and reminded me so much of myself at that age that I said, 'alright, I'm coming.' I had a lot of fun: this is a great bowl, a great skatepark, and a great skateboarding community they have here in Colorado Springs. It's really inspiring to see it."

Results:

Men's Vert Final
1. Jono Schwan
2. Zachary Rose
3. Marcelo Bastos
4. Joshua Rodriguez
5. Michael Brookman
6. Mike Owen
7. Sky Siljeg
8. Rad Pinckard
9. Jordan Richter
10. Chris Patton

Women's Vert Final:
1. Lizzie Armanto
2. Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana
3. Allysha Bergado
4. Amelia Brodka
5. Nicole Noller
6. Franziska Stolz
7.. Spencer Breaux

Men's Pro Bowl Final
1. Joshua Rodriguez
2. Tony Marle
3. Michael Brookman
4. Derek Scott
5. Bryce Stark
6. Mike Owen
7. Sky Silject
8. Jono Schwan
9. Zachary Rose
10. Vincent Matheron

Women's Bowl Final
1. Lizzie Armanto
2. Allysha Bergado
3. Lyn-Z Adams Hawkins Pastrana
4. Justyce Tabor
5. Amelia Brodka
6. Abby Zsarnay
7. Amee Jay Papelera
8. Nicole Noller
9. Spencer Breaux
10. Halle Gonzales

Master's Bowl Final
1. Mike McGill
2. Curt Baker
3. Robert Ehlers
4. Rob Miller
5. Tom Kilroy
6. Chris Rapp
7. Dave Duncan