Another snowboarder makes Olympic team as qualifying winds down

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Faye Gulini is going to her third Olympics on the U.S. snowboard cross team, but will Olympic medalists Seth Wescott and Alex Deibold join her?

Gulini, 25, clinched her PyeongChang spot Friday after the fourth of five selection events this season.

Her runner-up finish at the third event last Saturday proved enough for her to automatically join 2006 Olympic silver medalist Lindsey Jacobellis as the first two snowboard cross racers to make the team.

Up to two more women could be added to the team next month.

Gulini goes into PyeongChang with arguably her best chance yet to win a medal. She was 12th in Vancouver as a high school senior and fourth in Sochi.

She made her first top-level senior international podium last Saturday and ranks fifth in the world. Gulini became the first U.S. woman other than Jacobellis to stand on a World Cup podium since March 2012.

The Salt Lake City native served as an extra at the 2002 Olympic Opening Ceremony as a “Child of Light,” wearing a big, furry jacket and carrying a little lantern.

The U.S. men’s snowboard cross qualifying picture is less sorted.

One man — part-time plumber Jonathan Cheever, going for his first Olympics at age 32, — has the minimum automatic qualifying criteria of one podium finish through four of the five qualifiers.

Cheever is now guaranteed to make the Olympic team unless three other U.S. men sweep the podium at the last qualifier in Turkey on Jan. 20.

The men chasing a podium Jan. 20 include some of the most accomplishment riders in U.S. history.

Seth Wescott, who won the first two Olympic men’s snowboard cross titles in 2006 and 2010 and just missed the 2014 Olympics, has a best finish of 37th in three World Cups this season. The 41-year-old looks like a long shot.

Alex Deibold, the Sochi Olympic bronze medalist, just missed the podium on Friday, finishing last of four riders in the final in Italy.

Nate Holland, a three-time Olympian and seven-time X Games champ, has a best finish this season of 10th.

Two-time Olympian Nick BaumgartnerHagen KearneyMick Dierdorff and Deibold all have better results than Holland this season, putting pressure on the veteran to deliver Jan. 20.

Once the qualifying events are over, a committee will round out the Olympic roster of up to four men.

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