CFA Big Air event a smash hit for Liberty at Snowflex
April 6, 2013 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University junior Tim Steltzer won the Big Air competition at last month's USCSA National Championships at Sun Valley, Idaho, but he had to rally from behind on his second jump to overcome Dominik Schwarz from Virginia Tech in the skiing division of Saturday's Collegiate Freestyle Association Big Air event at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre.
"They had a really heated battle for the championship," Flames head coach Will Scheren said. "It was super close. Schwarz had him beat until his final run when Steltzer had to pull out a double rodeo to beat him."
In the final, Schwarz scored a 24 on his first jump, two points better than Steltzer, who earned a score of 26 on his second and final jump to win by two points.
For the men's snowboarding division, Liberty's Kevin Hoff had an even closer competition with Flames teammate Brendan Sullivan in the final, winning by just one point, followed by the third-place performance of Liberty's Zach Bukolt and fourth-place finish of Virginia Tech's Zach Tozier.
"My best trick was a back 720 with a little bit of quirk, a little bit off-axis," said Hoff, who also won last Saturday's CFA Series-opening Rail Jam. "I consider this a little more exciting because I just learned back seven, not yesterday, but I just started throwing them yesterday and I was sticking them pretty good. Except I woke up this morning super tired and I was like, ‘No way,' but everybody just got me pumped up, the adrenaline was running."
He fell on his first jump in the finals against Sullivan, but made the most of his last chance by grabbing plenty of air time and killing his landing.
"That was like my strategy," Hoff said. "I can't really throw that hard, so I just like send it big and hope for the best."
Sullivan, a senior celebrating his birthday, advanced past teammate Bukolt in a previous round when Bukolt executed a double back flip but didn't quite land it cleanly.
"I did a backside 540 with a stale fish grab," Sullivan said. "That was my best trick and I did it pretty big, probably like 60 feet."
He was thrilled to be in the first final of his brief competitive career, and to face off against Hoff.
"It was super tight," Sullivan said. "Kevin is so good and I knew he was going to be good. I was happy just to be there. I've never made it to finals before so I was just psyched to be there and I knew I had to go big. When he fell on his first jump and I landed mine, I was like, ‘I've got a shot,' and then he stomped it on the second one, nailed it, and so I knew he won."
In the girls snowboarding event, Liberty's Brandy Fronte, who won last Saturday's Rail Jam, placed second behind Virginia Tech's Kaitlyn Falk.
Overall, it was a successful day of competition at Snowflex, with Liberty maintaining its team lead in the men's snowboarding standings after the second of four CFA events leading up to next Saturday's Slopestyle. The series concludes with a combination Big Air/Slopestyle comp on April 20 before Liberty hosts its fourth Dew Games on April 27.
"It was definitely so much fun," Hoff said. "VT showed up with a bunch of people and North Carolina, so it was definitely a fun competition overall, a beautiful day."
"It was Big Air format with a lot of great hits, a lot of clean landed runs," Scheren added. "Everybody can check out what went down on CollegiateFreestyleAssociation.com."