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Area BMXer comes up short in defending title at X Games

Brandon Loupos competes in the BMX Dirt Final on Saturday, July 21, at the X Games at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Jake Pfeifer / Forum News Service1 / 6
Alex Sorgente skates to a first-run score of 89.00 in the Men's Skateboard Park Final on Saturday, July 21, at US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. Jake Pfeifer / Forum News Service2 / 6
Mitchie Brusco competing in The Real Cost Skateboard Big Air on Saturday, July 21 during X Games Minneapolis 2018. Phil Ellsworth / ESPN Images3 / 6
Mariah Duran competing in SoFi Women's Skateboard Street on Saturday, July 20 during X Games Minneapolis. Eric Lars Bakke / ESPN Images4 / 6
Jackson Strong competing in Monster Energy Moto X Best Trick during X Games Minneapolis 2018. Kyle Lieberman / ESPN Images5 / 6
Jarryd McNeil competing in LifeProof Moto X Step Up during X Games Minneapolis 2018. Matt Morning / ESPN Images6 / 6

MINNEAPOLIS — With all of the qualifying events in the books, the X Games at US Bank Stadium were all about handing out medals on Saturday.

New Richmond, Wis., native and defending gold medalist in BMX Dirt, Colton Walker, faced one of the stiffest fields in any competition in the 2018 X Games. He hoped on using his "home field advantage" to his benefit.

"The past three days I've been practicing and I've just been driving here so it's just like I'm having a normal session with all my friends," Walker said. "It's pretty cool; to have it here is sick."

Travel advantages aside, Walker was unable to defend his title as five of the 10 riders topped the 90-point plateau with Brandon Loupos winning with a 95.00. Logan Martin notched his second-consecutive silver medal with a 94.00 and Brian Fox took bronze with 92.33.

Although Walker didn't make the podium, he did take fourth place with a 91.66. Last year, that score would have earned him a silver medal.

"I've had my run planned since my first day of practice," Walker said. "It was just slowly practicing each jump to make sure it was possible."

Sorgente repeats, Duran wins for first time

Alex Sorgente won gold in Men's Skateboard Park for the second consecutive year after putting together a strong first-run score of 89.00. Sorgente's lead was never in doubt as he held onto it from the conclusion of all skater's first runs until the third and final round.

Tristan Rennie earned his first-ever medal with a second-place score of 87.66, while Tom Schaar took bronze with a 85.33. Pedro Barros, returning to skateboard park after missing last year, took fourth place. Barros hadn't finished worse than second since 2010.

At the Women's Skateboard Street Final, Mariah Duran won her first-ever gold medal and only the second of her career with a score of 87.66. She edged out last year's gold medalist Aori Nishimura's second-place score of 86.00 and three-time gold medalist, Alexis Sablone, who took third with an 84.00.

Concluding the night's action was Skateboard Big Air, where Mitchie Brusco came away with gold after landing a 1080. The gold medal was Brusco's first, with this year marking his eighth.

Rounding out the podium were Clay Kreiner scoring 91.00 with an alley-oop body varial 540 to take silver and Trey Wood claimed bronze with a 90.00. Wood did a varial 540.

Strong wins Moto X Best Trick for fourth time

The premier Moto X event of the night — Moto X Best Trick — was won for the fourth time by Jackson Strong. It was the first time he won the event since 2016. Strong landed a no-handed front flip to score 93.00. Tom Pages scored 91.66 with a no-handed double backflip to claim second and Rob Adelberg placed third with 91.00, when landing a one-handed front flip.

Earlier in the day, with the bar set at a starting point of 30 feet, all five Moto X Step Up Final contestants cleared the height easily. The bar was raised 4 feet and once again all riders cleared, but the riders began to get eliminated from there.

Bryce Hudson, last year's silver medalist, was the first rider eliminated after he was unable to clear 38 feet, while seven-time event champion, Ronnie Renner, failed to surpass 41 feet.

With the bar moved to 43 feet, two-time Step Up champion Libor Podmol clipped the bar in both attempts, as did Colby Raha. Meanwhile, Jarryd McNeil cleared the bar in his first attempt to win his third-straight gold medal in the event.

Jake Pfeifer

Jake Pfeifer is a sports reporter and outdoors editor for RiverTown Multimedia. Previously, he worked at Detroit Lakes Newspapers.

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