Shepard and Wong place first and third at LaHaye Rail Jam
February 13, 2016 | Lynchburg, Va.
Liberty University's Isaac Shepard finished first and fellow freshman Jonathan Wong placed third in Saturday afternoon's men's skiing competition at the LaHaye Rail Jam, held in conjunction with College For A Weekend (CFAW) behind the LaHaye Ice Center. Meanwhile, former Flames skier Jon Steltzer took second in that category and Assistant Coach Isaac Gibson, another Liberty competitor who graduated last year, placed second in the men's snowboarding event, behind only Bryan Ducharme, who competed for the Flames as a freshman last season.
Lady Flames senior Brandy Fronte won the women's snowboarding Rail Jam followed by Liberty Christian Academy's Bethany Waller and the University of Virginia's Elizabeth Smith.
The top three place-winners in the men's snowboard, women's snowboard, and men's ski finals earned cash prizes in a competition witnessed by dozens of prospective students.
"It was a different type of setup, with different features that haven't been used before (at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre," Liberty Head Coach Ryan Leeds said. "That made it an equal playing field for everyone, and a unique and a really fun event to watch."
In the true Rail Jam format, each competitor could take as many runs as they could in a span of 25 minutes and were judged on their best overall performance. Leeds judged the competition along with former Flames competitor Kevin Hoff and Casey Reed.
Near-freezing temperatures created some tricky conditions on the makeshift terrain park.
"It was a fun-looking setup, but there were some pretty icy landings and the competitors had to battle through some pretty crazy falls in order to keep competing through the rest of the event," Leeds said.
Besides several members of Liberty's Ski & Snowboard team, the competition attracted a few competitors from the community and a couple more who train at Wintergreen Mountain Resort, where the Flames and Lady Flames have season passes for practice purposes.
"It was nice to see some new people come out to participate in a new event with our facility," Leeds said.