Lady Flames' skiers reach nationals podium in Rail Jam
March 13, 2019 | Jackson Hole, Wyo.
Liberty University's women's ski team landed on the podium for the first time in program history with a third-place showing in Tuesday's Rail Jam at the United States Collegiate Ski & Snowboard Association (USCSA) National Championships at Snow King Mountain in Jackson Hole, Wyo.
The Lady Flames were led by senior Kylie Kehrman, who placed ninth individually out of 23 contestants with a score of 8.0. She was followed closely by freshmen teammates Hannah Loftus (11th with 7.0) and Taylor Keeran (15th with 5.25). Liberty totaled 35 points to finish third behind Colorado Boulder (34) and Sierra Nevada (10), the team champion in the 10-school competition.
The Flames' men's skiers finished fourth out of 13 teams in the Rail Jam with its top four skiers — sophomore Cole Loomis (sixth, 38.5), senior Isaac Shepard (12th, 26.5), junior Jeffrey Loftus (18th, 27.0 in qualifying run), and Chris Yablonski (20th, 23.75 in qualifying run) landing in the top 20 out of 36 contestants.
|Sophomore Cole Loomis prepares for a men's skiing Rail Jam run.|
"I was really proud of Cole and Isaac being able to make it into the finals," Liberty Head Coach Isaac Gibson said. A meniscus injury prevented Loomis from competing in the freestyle events at last year's nationals.
With 36 points, the Flames finished behind team champion Vermont (10), Sierra Nevada (15), and Colorado Boulder (24).
On a slalom course that featured banked turns and a few jumps, Liberty's men's snowboarders finished fourth out of 18 schools in Tuesday's Boardercross racing events with 59 points, just one point behind third-place Virginia (58). Westminster (7) was the team champion by a landslide over runner-up JMU (51).
Four out of the Flames' five snowboarders advanced out of the qualifying time trials into the first heats, where all four finished third out of four contestants to miss advancing to the next round by one place.
Junior Milo Rice came back to beat the rider who took him out of his first heat race and placed a team-best 18th based on his qualifying time of 50.7 seconds. He was followed closely by teammates Owen Hewitt (20th in 51.45), Garrett Long (21st in 51.51), and Tanner Hoffarth (23rd in 52.13) out of 51 total contestants.
Liberty's women placed 17th as a team and its men finished 18th in the Skiercross events.
Complete results are available online.
On Thursday, the Flames' and Lady Flames' ski teams are competing in men's and women's Slopestyle. The men's snowboarding Slopestyle event will take place on Friday.