Yesterday is a day that Mathieu Therres will not soon forget.
The Dundalk native had barely advanced to last night's AST Dew Tour Panasonic Open skateboard park final , finishing last among 12 qualifiers Thursday night.
To say he stepped up his game in the finals would be an understatement.
Therres, 21, finished fifth after an impressive performance in front of a rowdy crowd at the Camden Yards sports complex. Therres, who goes by the nickname "Gumbie," was as surprised as anyone that he did so well.
"I didn't imagine getting near as far as I did," he said. "Once I got here, I realized that they were all just skateboarders and could have a bad day, too. Just go out and have fun. That's what matters at the end of the day."
Therres had two strong opening runs and was in sixth place heading into the jam session, an event where the top six skateboarders skate at the same time in two five-minute runs. Therres' final score of 77.67 earned him $4,500.
Ryan Sheckler, the overall Dew Cup champion the past two years, won the skateboard park event with a score of 90.25.
It was standing room only at the skate park, and the crowd was loud from the onset. Therres said he fed off the crowd's energy.
"It was definitely a high," he said. "The kids got loud when I went because a lot of them know me from the Baltimore scene already. The crowd definitely helped out."
Therres ended his day by signing autographs. He said he will next compete in Cleveland at the Right Guard Open in July and that he is looking forward to the challenge.
"The first [competition] I feel will be the hardest," he said after the race. "I think after this, it should get easier."
Local competitors Rodney Jones and Gary Smith failed Thursday to qualify for the skateboard park finals.
Jones overcame a first-run score of 46.50 to earn a second-run 75.75. That score placed him 18th, leaving the Dundalk native out of the finals.
Smith also did not compete last night. A resident of Baltimore, his score of 55.75 placed him last among 30 competitors in Thursday's preliminaries.
Sheckler is only 17 but has a resume any skateboarder would envy.
The teenager has won the Dew Cup in the skateboard park event for each of the past two years, and is making his case for a third with last night's victory. He also finished second at last year's X Games in the same event.
"It was hot, but it was a lot of fun," he said. "I love Baltimore and I was fortunate enough to come out on top. The fans were great. I can't wait to come back."
Hayslip misses cut
Baltimore's Daniel Hayslip failed to qualify for today's bicycle motocross park preliminary qualifier.
Hayslip, 21, had runs of 62.33 and 63.33 to finished 46th out of 47 competitors in the open qualifier.
Craig Mast of Warren, Ohio, had the best score, earning an 88.00. The preliminaries begin today at 1 p.m.