Women’s skiers earn team gold medal in Slopestyle; men’s snowboarders take silver, skiers fourth in Rail Jam
On Day 2 of the USCSA National Championships on Whiteface Mountain in Lake Placid, N.Y., Liberty University’s men’s snowboarders and skiers finished second and fourth in Wednesday’s respective Rail Jams at Base of Bear with its top three individual snowboarders narrowly missing medals.
Also, the Lady Flames’ snowboarders finished third for the first time in Wednesday’s Boarder Cross on Wolf Run, as the men’s snowboarders had on Tuesday, before Liberty’s women’s skiers claimed their second team title in three days in Thursday’s Slopestyle competition at Brookside, paced by sophomore Josie Rich’s third-place individual finish.
All five of the Flames’ snowboarders advanced to Wednesday’s 30-contestant Rail Jam finals. Senior Tyler Sherbine, freshman Jayden Horrocks, and senior Ian Rosario placed fourth, fifth, and sixth, respectively, behind the gold, silver, and bronze medal-winners from team champion Sierra Nevada University. Junior Jesse Mast followed in eighth place and sophomore Andrew Smith rounded out the top 10 with all five landing on the 10-man podium.
“Tyler Sherbine did better in his qualifying, as far as executing his tricks,” Liberty Head Coach Isaac Gibson said. “He came out in the finals and fell twice on his first run, but was still excited to take fourth. I was definitely surprised by Jayden Horrocks, who is in his first year on the team and in his first year doing freestyle snowboarding, in the contest, he went all out and was rewarded for it, though he tried some tricks had never tried before and took some pretty heavy falls.”
Likewise, Rosario introduced some new maneuvers, including landing the contest’s only one-footed trick, strapping in only his front foot as he rode over the rails.
“Ian was really conservative (in qualifying) before he came out and put down a ton of tricks in the finals,” Gibson said. “A one-footed trick is very difficult. No one else even attempted any as it doubles the difficulty of any trick you do.”
Team-wise, Liberty totaled 15 points to finish behind only Sierra Nevada (11) and well in front of Lees-McRae (N.C.) College (37), San Diego State University (58), the University of Virginia (59), Michigan Technological University (MTU, 79), the University of Minnesota Duluth (84), James Madison University (84), Rutgers University (85), Dartmouth College (88), and the University of California San Diego (89).
“Our athletes did well, and competed to the best of their abilities,” Gibson said. “Sierra Nevada always comes in with a very talented group of athletes and they all competed very well.”
Liberty’s five men’s skiers finished between 11th and 17th individually, led by graduates Elijah Haita (11th) and Robert Bynum (12th), the only two to advance to the finals. Junior Luke Linker, sophomore Coby Liebelt, and freshman Charlie Barkow came in 14th, 15th, and 17th, respectively, narrowly missing the cut.
As a team, the Flames totaled 37 points to place behind only Sierra Nevada (6), which swept the top three spots on the podium, the University of Maine at Farmington (20), and the University of Colorado Boulder (24). Liberty finished well ahead of Penn State University (60), Lafayette College (63), the United States Military Academy (Army, 68), Rocky Mountain College (73), Virginia (84), JMU (84), and San Diego State (89).
“For both the ski and snowboard divisions of the Rail Jam, the men’s competition was definitely stacked,” Gibson said. “I am proud that the men’s skiers were able to make it into finals and they skied really well, but field was just very competitive. We did our best.”
Then, in Thursday’s men’s skiing Slopestyle competition, the Flames landed in third place as a team with 36 points, behind only Colorado Boulder (7) and Sierra Nevada (14) and ahead of Maine at Farmington (44), Lafayette (49), Penn State (59), Rocky Mount College (80), Army (81), College of Idaho (82), JMU (87), UVA (89), and San Diego State (93).
Individually, four of Liberty’s five contestants advanced to the 15-man finals out of 30 that competed in qualifying runs. Liebelt and Barkow placed 11th and 12th, respectively with final high scores of 68.33, followed by Linker (13th, 67) and Haita (15th, 56).
In Wednesday’s women’s Boarder Cross, the Lady Flames scored 43 points to trail only Sierra Nevada (10) and Lees-McRae (32) and edge JMU (45), UVA (51), and the University of Southern California (64), among others.
Individually, junior Emmaus Rich finished fifth with her 50.27-second time trial and a first-place finish in her 15th heat race. Senior Regan Robinson, who posted a 53.19 time trial time, finished 18th after winning her third heat. Senior Samantha Pesile, who had a qualifying time of 54.23 and placed 21st, and freshman Anna Meyer (22nd, 54.42), completed the team’s scoring.
Then, in Thursday’s women’s ski Slopestyle competition, Rich came in third place with her best run of 83 points and freshman Lauren Harder (81), Tuesday’s Rail Jam gold medalist, senior Meghan Weigner (73.67), and freshman Bella Tinney (72.67), followed in fifth, sixth, and seventh, respectively.
The Lady Flames totaled 14 team points to leave Rocky Mountain College (27), UVA (29), Colorado Boulder (38), Lafayette (40), UC San Diego (45), Rutgers (47), and San Diego State (51) in their tracks.
Complete results are available online. USCSA National Championship action concludes on Friday with the men’s and women’s snowboard Slopestyle events before Saturday’s final awards presentations.
By Ted Allen/Staff Writer