Newcastle University Snow Sports club’s online group chat has been going off.
And little wonder why, with a Winter Olympic silver medallist now among their alumni.
Twenty-three-year-old student Matt Graham, undergoing a double degree in civil engineering and business, conquered the PyeongChang moguls course in the early hours of Tuesday morning (ADST) to claim Australia’s first podium finish at the 2018 Games.
A two-time member of the NUSS team at the Australian University Games, including 2014 when awarded the University of Newcastle sportsperson of the year, Graham had plenty of support from the Callaghan club during the decider in South Korea.
“It was a pretty intense final and our group chat was just going off,” current NUSS member and former vice-president Rohan Clarke said.
“Every time someone fell over everyone was like yes. All that Matt has to do here is get down and he absolutely smashed it.”
On his last run Graham produced a score of 82.57 to put him in first place with three others left to complete the course.
Only Canadian Mikael Kingsbury, himself a silver medalist in Sochi four years ago and described to Clarke by Graham as the “Michael Jordan of moguls”, could better that with a “near-flawless” total of 86.63.
Despite being beaten, Clarke said “you could tell at the medal ceremony how stoked Matt was.”
“He’s worked super hard for this and is just a really nice guy. He’s got every reason to be pretty arrogant and full of himself, but he isn’t.
“He’s smart, handsome and obviously a world class athlete but just really down to earth. He always makes you feel welcome and always has a big smile on his face.
“I couldn’t think of anyone who deserves a silver medal more.”
In 2014 Graham was defeated by his older brother David to the moguls title at the Australian University Games in Mount Buller.
Graham was born on the Central Coast and lives there when not based in the US for training or overseas for competition.
NUSS club’s other high-profile member is Kotara 26-year-old snowboarder Michaela Davis-Meehan, who contested four World Freeride Tour qualifiers last year and features on a recent Iran-based documentary called Persian Powder.
Elsewhere for Hunter athletes at the Winter Olympics and qualifications start Thursday for Eleebana 28-year-old aerial skiier Samantha Wells while Waratah 19-year-old figure skater Kailani Craine makes her Olympic debut Wednesday week.