On the first day of the USA Snowboard Association national championships, Jake Warn broke his wrist during a practice run. Jake, 11, a fifth grader at Winslow Elementary School, was afraid his first trip to nationals was over before it really began.

“I was worried at the clinic,” Jake said. “When the doctor told me I could still compete, that was pretty exciting.”

The broken wrist did keep Jake out of the boardercross, his favorite event, but he still managed to compete in the slalom, giant slalom and slopestyle, earning a top 10 finish in the slalom at the championships, held earlier this month at Copper Mountain, Colorado.

“I was worried about his disappointment if he couldn’t do anything (in his cast),” Jake’s mother, Mary Lou Warn, said. “We just told him ‘Go out and do what you love to do.'”

Jake broke his wrist riding over a table top jump during practice. He caught the tail of his board on the jump and fell forward. Doctors told Jake and his family, that even in the cast, he could compete in every event except the boardercross, because of the contact that comes with the event. In the boardercross, multiple riders race down the course alongside each other.

Jake took 10th place in the slalom. In the giant slalom, he fell on his first run, but his second run produced the eighth fastest time in his age group. Jake fell on both runs in the slopestyle, an event in which competitors are judged on the difficulty of their tricks over obstacles such as jumps or rails.

“But I still had fun,” Jake said.

Mary Lou said the Warns are a skiing family, but when Jake was 7, he decided he wanted to try snowboarding. His mother relented after he picked up a board at a used equipment sale at Sugarloaf.

“I just carried that one snowboard around for two hours,” Jake said.

Added Mary Lou Warn: “He was 7 and he was sure that’s what he wanted to do. It’s fun to watch him, and he does make it look easy.”

Jake, who takes part in Carrabassett Valley Academy’s weekend program, was a fast learner.

“My second year, I really got into it,” Jake said.

Jake qualified for nationals by earning enough points in the Maine Mountain Series.

Competing against his friends is what makes the boardercross Jake’s favorite event.

“You get nervous right at the gate, but it’s a fun course,” he said.

Seth Wescott, the two-time Olympic gold medalist who calls Carrabassett Valley home, is a big influence on Jake, who hopes to follow Wescott into professional riding.

“I would definitely like to do an X Games or something. That would be a really cool experience,” Jake said.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

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