Skiers, snowboarders sweep top finishes at Beech Mountain
January 21, 2018 | Beech Mountain, N.C.
Paced by first-place individual performances by junior skier Jonathan Wong and junior snowboarder Garrett Long, Liberty University's men's ski & snowboard team swept the team titles at Sunday's season-opening USCSA Southeast Conference Slopestyle competition at Beech Mountain (N.C.) Resort.
"For a lot of the guys, it was their first time competing in USCSA and I wasn't really sure how they would perform," Flames first-year Head Coach Isaac Gibson said. "All of our riders landed at least one run, and most of them landed their first run which allowed them to go all out on their second run because they had their first run as a back-up."
Wong finished first out of 24 men's skiers with a best run of 7.36 on a 0-10 scale, followed closely by sophomore Jeffery Loftus (second, 6.23), sophomore John Hunt (fourth, 5.16), freshman Cole Loomis (sixth, 4.96), and sophomore Chris Yablonski (seventh, 4.73), to round out the Flames' top five.
Liberty scored seven team points to place well ahead of North Carolina (16), North Carolina State (36), Duke (47), East Carolina (69), and James Madison (70) in the final team standings.
Long won the 54-man snowboard competition with a score of 7.0, followed by JMU's Kyle Miller (6.83), with Liberty's next three finishers freshmen — Owen Hewitt (sixth, 6.0), Trent Laubach (ninth, 5.43), and Payton Fedako (10th, 5.16). Sophomores Tyler Wilson (11th, 4.83) and Lee Patton (12th, 4.73) also fared well for the Flames.
In the 10-team competition, the Flames totaled 16 points to edge the Wolfpack (17), Appalachian State (50), Virginia (53), and UNC (64), which rounded out the top five.
Complete results are available online.
The Flames will travel to Massanutten Resort near Harrisonburg, Va., on Friday night for a second USCSA Southeast Conference Slopestyle competition Saturday at 9 a.m., before closing out their regular season with Southeast Conference Slopestyle and Big Air events on Feb. 17 and 18, respectively, at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre.
Before then, Gibson is hoping to take his travel team to Loon Mountain (N.H.), which has received significantly more snowfall than any resort in Virginia or North Carolina.
"We should be able to get on some pretty big jumps that will prepare us for (the Feb. 25 Mid-Atlantic) Regional (at Wintergreen Resort) and (March 4-10 USCSA) National competitions (at Lake Placid, N.Y.)," Gibson said.