Ski Jumping Nordic Combined in Russia. Sports Club "Flying Skier" - Perm. Ski Jumping Nordic Combined in Russia. Sports Club "Flying Skier" - Perm. Ski Jumping Nordic Combined in Russia. Sports Club "Flying Skier" - Perm.


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 history.

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, next February.

"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 was canceled.

"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 personal hopes.

"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 Urlaub.

Leadertelegram.com, April 3, 2013

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