Ski jumping: Flying Eagles
enjoy banner season
By Ron Buckli Leader-Telegram staff
The Flying Eagles gained national attention in the
1930s by dominating throughout the Midwest.
But the city's junior ski jumping club took its
show overseas to a new level during the past season
— one of the most exciting and fruitful in the club's
The results out of Europe would show, as an example,
"Nick Mattoon, USA" and underneath would
list "Flying Eagles Ski Club."
Carrying the local colors on the world map were
Emilee Anderson, Nick Mattoon and alumnus Adam Loomis.
And young Ben Loomis is waiting in the wings.
Mattoon burst onto the scene like a bombshell. He
took part in the Junior World championships in Liberec,
Czech Republic; stepped on the podium in an international
FIS Cup event and went on to score points at Obertsdorf,
Germany; took J1 class at Silver Mine Hill and won
the National J1 Class championship at Minneapolis,
Those are just starters. The 17-year-old Memorial
High School senior placed high in virtually every
tournament he entered and capped his season by placing
fourth — as the second U.S. entry in the Canadian
National championships last weekend.
"My coaches (Scott Smith and Casey Colby) did
an amazing job with me," Mattoon said. "I
think in my last two meets (Germany and Canada),
I was really starting to show progress."
At the Vancouver Olympic hill, he produced his PR
jump of 137 meters or 449 feet.
"It was awesome," he said. "I actually
felt like I was flying."
Mattoon has moved up well into the top 10 of U.S.
ski jumping ranks and should be a contender for
the Olympic team that will ski at Sochi, Russia,
"That will be tough but it's certainly possible
that I can do it," he said. "I'll be working
hard training this summer (Park City or overseas)."
Anderson followed up on last year's ninth-place
finish in the first World Junior Olympic Games in
Austria by returning to Europe to ski in the World
Junior championships, making the cut with a 29th-place
finish and drawing praise from her coach for ranking
as the second American.
Later, she returned to Germany to place 19th in
a Women's Continental Cup event. That happened after
another season of high finishes that included at
least seven firsts.
"It was a fun year," the 17-year-old Memorial
junior said. "I'm excited about how far I've
come with my jumping."
Included was a PR jump of 102 meters or 335 feet
in winning on the large hill at Westby.
As a member of the Women's U.S. Visa Development
team, she is hoping to advance but missed a chance
to step up to the "C" Team when a competition
in Europe that would have allowed her to qualify
"I'm going to work my butt off this summer
on plastic (to try to advance)," she said.
Ben Loomis had another big year, collecting as many
as six firsts and placing in the top three in Class
J1 and J2 in every meet he took part in.
"It was a very satisfying year," said
the 14-year-old Delong eighth-grader who won J2
National championships in 2010 and 2011. "The
competition has been tougher the last couple years."
That's because in most cases he's skiing against
older boys. But often, that made no difference.
He placed third in the J2 Nationals and took second
in Nordic Combined at Minneapolis and continued
his pattern of powerful long standing event jumps
— headed by a flight of 129 meters or 423 feet to
win honors at Westby.
"That was a lot of fun but one of the most
scariest jumps because I was so high on that one,"
he said. "I managed to grab my knees (upon
landing) and hold on."
He is ticketed for a shot at the U.S. Ski Team in
jumping and/or Nordic Combined in the future.
"That's not in the picture for next year,"
Loomis said. "My goal is to win the Junior
Nationals in jumping and combined and keep training."
Adam Loomis, 2008 Junior jumping champion, broke
into the World Cup scene briefly as a member of
the U.S. Nordic Combined B team but did not enjoy
the overall success of that of a year ago when he
scored 193 points in seven races and finished 21st
out of 107 scorers during the 2012 season.
"I wasn't pleased but I'm not going to let
that get me down," the 20-year-old Memorial
graduate said. "Definitely my jumping needs
to improve and I will work on that this summer.
I think I might have been a little bit over-trained
in my racing."
Loomis scored in six Continental Cup races with
a high of 19th place and totaled 25 points for the
season. He said he can't imagine any of the team
members retiring during an Olympic year but has
"Skiing in the World Cup was cool," he
said. "I feel it's definitely possible to make
the Olympic Team."
Nate Mattoon and Adam Hamler were other club members
to ski well while the top juniors waiting for their
chance are Ben Dowling, Fred Running and Andrew
April 3, 2013