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    February 8, 2022 Basye, Va. RSS |

    Head Coach Isaac Gibson and members of Liberty University’s ski & snowboard team helped to groom and set up the Terrain Park at Bryce Resort in Basye, Va., before competing in the USCSA Rail Jam on Saturday afternoon, sweeping first place in the men’s and women’s ski and snowboard events.

    “Bryce is more of a race mountain, and it doesn’t have too many terrain park features,” Gibson said. “There were no park crew available to set them up well, so myself and the athletes worked on it for 30-45 minutes before anybody warmed up.”

    The Rail Jam incorporated a total of four features, with participants choosing to tackle two in a row, either a rainbow rail and a tube or a less difficult pole and flat box.

    “The left-side run was more of the technically advanced run, with the right-side run a little easier with features that wouldn’t score quite as high,” Gibson said. “All the athletes were competing on the same course, the same playing field, (but) with the state of the course, I told the team just to make sure they did tricks they were confident they’d be able to land.”

    Participants had 25 minutes to take as many runs as they could under the watch of judges, with their best runs counting as their final score.

    “Everyone performed really well, and the kids still had fun,” Gibson said. “I was very pleased with the whole team. Even athletes who are first-year did really well and were able to put together some really consistent runs. We took first place in every division and 1-2-3 in both female ski and snowboard.”

    Senior Tyler Sherbine won the men’s snowboard competition with a best run of 45.0, followed closely by junior teammate Jesse Mast (43.67), who returned from an injury that kept him out of the season-opening Slopestyle event at Beech Mountain, N.C.

    “He came back strong, without too much error, and was very pleased to land in the second-place position right behind (Sherbine),” Gibson said.

    They were followed by senior Ian Rosario who placed ninth with a run of 27.67 to help account for the Flames’ first-place team score of 13 points, edging second-place Appalachian State (17) and Lees-McRae (N.C., 18).

    The Lady Flames’ snowboarders, paced by senior, two-time USCSA national champion Coleen Leja’s best run of 46.67, and fellow seniors Sam Pesile (37) and Emory Orlando (35.33) totaling 6 team points to distance themselves from Appalachian State (27) and Lees-McRae (32).

    In men’s skiing, the division Liberty fared the poorest in terms of individual placings, Gibson thought the Flames turned in some of the team’s best performances and thought they should have claimed the top four spots. They all landed in the top 10, led by sophomore Coby Liebelt’s first-place and Rail Jam-high score of 52.33, and still won the team competition in a landslide with 9 points, followed by Virginia (22) and Western Carolina (35). Junior Luke Linker settled for a third-place tie with UVA’s Andre Jacobs at 37.33, and freshman Charlie Barkow finished fifth with his 35.33 run while graduate Elijah Haita slid to ninth with his 29.33 score.

    Senior Meghan Weigner topped the podium in the women’s ski comp with her best run of 32.67, followed by teammates Josephine Rich (28), a sophomore, and freshman Isabella Tinney (21.67). The Lady Flames (6) left skiers from both UNC Chapel Hill (22) and UVA (24) in their snow dust.

    Most of the Flames and Lady Flames returned for Sunday’s Boardercross and Skiercross events, but with limited experience, did not fare as well as they had in the Rail Jam.

    “It is not very common for mountains around here to have a boardercross course set up, and quite a few of our athletes had never raced one before,” Gibson said.

    Rosario and sophomore Andrew Smith finished seventh and eighth, respectively, in the men’s snowboard event, helping the Flames (27) place second behind Lees-McRae (8) and ahead of UVA (31).

    “Tyler Sherbine did really well in his first race, and would have won by quite a ways, but he didn’t know the course well enough and missed a gate and got disqualified,” Gibson said.

    The Flames and Lady Flames, who are traveling to Seven Springs (Pa.) for a practice weekend, will have a home slope advantage for their final USCSA Southeast competition, a Big Air event on Feb. 19 at 5 p.m. and Rail Jam on Feb. 20 at 10 a.m. at the Liberty Mountain Snowflex Centre over College For A Weekend (CFAW).

    “We get to practice here throughout the entire fall, and when winter rolls around we focus our attention on the snow, but next week will have a few practices to get a feel for Snowflex again,” Gibson said. “We expect to do really well and hopefully put on a really good show for all of the CFAW students.”

    By Ted Allen/Staff Writer

    Lady Flames snowboarders (from left) Sam Pesile, Emory Orlando, and Maggie Murris line up in the start gate for Sunday’s Boardercross race.