With no pun intended, twins Christian and Ethan Coherd have experienced as many downs as they have ups as snowboarding competitors.
For instance, although Ethan won four slalom races over two days at Ski Roundtop in Lewisberry, Pa., both boys have broken their wrists this season.
No wonder that worried their mother.
"I really looked at them and said, 'Is this a sport to continue (playing)?' " Krystal Lucado recalled.
The answer from the Gilman sixth-graders was essentially, "Come on, Mom."
Thus the Monkton residents remain passionate competitors who have competed in the U.S.A. Snowboarding Association National Championships at Colorado's Copper Mountain Resort.
On his own, Christian raced in the Giant Slalom and Slalom and Ethan participated in the Slalom. Neither did exceptionally well, but the experience has whetted their appetites for more.
The 12-year-olds compete as members of the 19-person Pennsylvania-based Ski Roundtop Racing Club.
The brothers said they weren't intimidated by 10,000-foot Colorado, having previously skied in the state more than a dozen times on family trips.
"I didn't think I was going to place in anything," said Ethan, who broke his wrist after his nationals race in the Slalom. "I just wanted to have a good experience and see what it was like. Now, I want to go every year."
Ethan's board was split in two by a fellow competitor who veered out his lane and into Ethan's path.
"I had to get his board (glued) back together," Lucado said. "Ethan had never had that happen before."
The veteran of the tandem, Ethan has been snowboarding for six years. Christian is relatively new to the sport, picking it up only this winter.
Both qualified for nationals after standout performances in races at Roundtop in January and Bryce Resort in Virginia in early March in the 12-13 division.
Ethan finished first in both the Grand Slalom and Slalom in two USASA regional events at Roundtop while Christian placed second in the Slalom. At Bryce, Christian was 10th three times and Ethan took fifth, sixth twice and eighth.
"We never expect our first-year competitors to go to the national championships," Ski Roundtop Racing Club head coach Neil Sunday said. "I expect kids have to be with me or two or three years before they go to the nationals.
"For them to qualify for nationals after one year is a great accomplishment," he added. "If they stay with it, by the time they are 16 or 17, they could be top-five riders in the United States at the amateur level."Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun