Flames fired up for Friday's Mid-Atlantic Regionals in W.Va.
February 19, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Qualifying for the March 5-9 United States Collegiate Ski and Snowboarding Association national championships shouldn't be a problem for the six snowboarders and one skier Liberty University is sending to Timberline Resort in Canaan Valley, W.Va., for Friday morning's USCSA Mid-Atlantic Regional competition.
As members of the Southeast Conference, which includes schools from Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Florida, all the Flames must do is finish their runs to be eligible to advance to nationals, to be held at Sun Valley Resort in Idaho.
But, Liberty head coach Will Scheren has higher aspirations for the five men's snowboarders — Kevin Hoff, Dave Promnitz, Jesse Spadino, Brendan Sullivan, and Stephen Dankert — as well as women's snowboarder Eden Jones and men's skier Tim Steltzer, who will be competing Friday, starting at 8 a.m.
"We still want to go out and win as a team and place people really high in the top 10," said Scheren, who took Jonathan Steltzer and four men's snowboarders to last year's national event in Maine. "This past weekend, we practiced out at Wintergreen and the guys were landing their tricks. I'm feeling really good about regionals and nationals this year."
Other Southeast Conference schools that could be represented at regionals include Appalachian State, Duke, East Carolina, Florida, George Mason, James Madison, North Carolina, N.C. State, UNC Charlotte, Radford, Tennessee, Virginia, Virginia Tech, and Mary Washington.
The Flames last competed at a USCSA slopestyle event hosted by Snowshoe, W.Va., on Feb. 9 and 10. Liberty had seven of the top 10 finishers in the men's snowboard division to win the overall competition while Jones was the top performer in the women's snowboard events.
Hoff won the first slopestyle competition on Feb. 9 with consecutive runs of 135, separating himself from Spadino (120) and Appalachian State's Drew Cook (105). Promnitz placed fourth with 102 points followed Sullivan (sixth, 80), Jacob Larrimore (eighth, 58), Dankert (55), and Brennan Bilek (52).
The next day, with a different scoring system in effect, Hoff took second with his high score of 32.5, two points behind Cook and one in front of Promnitz. Bilek (26.5), Dankert (25.5), Sullivan (25), Larrimore (22.5), and Austin Herro (22) placed sixth through 10th, respectively, for the Flames.
Jones won the Feb. 9 women's competition with scores of 60 and 58, nearly doubling those of runner-up Shannon Hildebrandt (33 and 25) of ASU. She then recorded runs of 23.5 and 22.5 to come away a winner in the Feb. 10 event, leading the Lady Flames to a second-place team showing, behind only Virginia.
"We got a lot of practice on big jumps on the first day, which kind of got us prepped for nationals," Scheren said.
Tim Steltzer, who has already qualified to go to Sun Valley, didn't travel with the team to Snowshoe.
"We sent him to Seven Springs (Pa.) to work on the halfpipe there," Scheren said. "We thought it would benefit him more than Snowshoe. They just finished U.S. Open qualifications there, so they had 70 and 80-foot kickers lined up."
Scheren watched videos of Steltzer throwing switch-cork 900-degree rotations off those big jumps — that is, coming in backward off the ramp, executing two and a half twists and dipping his head below his knees once before landing forward.
That was all he needed to see to know Steltzer's in good shape for the upcoming regional and national competitions.
On Saturday at Liberty, a few team members will participate in a rail jam on the hill leading to the parking lot behind the LaHaye Ice Center. That event, held in conjunction with College For A Weekend, will take place on actual snow made in the ice rink. It will be run by Snowflex and is open to anyone, not only competitors from the club team.