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Taylor Fletcher Captures First National Title at SoHo: ‘I’m just ecstatic’

Monday, August 1st, 2016
The leaders are shoulder to shoulder heading into the final lap at the L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championships. (USSA-Tom Kelly)

Bryan Fletcher (c) leads Taylor Fletcher (l) and Ben Berend heading into the final lap of the L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championship on Saturday at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. (Photo: USSA/Tom Kelly)

(Press release)

MIDWAY, Utah (July 30, 2016) – Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) broke away from the pack with a kilometer remaining to take his first national title at the L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championship at Soldier Hollow. Brother Bryan Fletcher took silver with Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs, CO) earning bronze after leading the jump.

In the morning HS134 meter jump at the Utah Olympic Park, Berend threw down the gauntlet with a towering 125.0 meter jump to take a 17 second lead over Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) of the Flying Eagles Ski Club who went 122.5 meters. Bryan Fletcher found himself 26 seconds back, with Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) 52 seconds out, two seconds ahead of Taylor Fletcher.

“This is, by far, some of the best jumping we’ve had as a team,” Taylor said. “I had a rough trial and was able to get that away. [Jumping Coach] Nick [Huber] told me to just go for it and be aggressive. I was extremely happy to put together a good jump for the competition round. That makes my job easier on the cross country course.”

Head Coach Dave Jarrett echoed the team strength on the jumps. “It was good to see everyone jumping pretty well. For us to be relatively close to the special jumpers is a good sign for July.”

Young Stephen Schumann (Park City, UT) was a strong sixth. Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, CO) had trouble with his jump and stood seventh, a minute, 49 seconds behind Berend.

Heading into the evening 10k cross country leg at Soldier Hollow, Taylor knew he had to act quickly to get ahead of Adam Loomis. The four-lap course featured the longer laps first and last, with shorter legs in the middle. Temperatures moderated a bit, but it was still a hot and steamy Utah evening on the grueling Olympic course.

“I’ve been skiing really strong all summer,” Taylor said. “I knew if I was fresher than the other guys I could put some time on the field on Hermod’s. I paid the price a little bit early on. When I caught Bryan and Ben I sat in a little bit — I hate to do that, but that’s how you win races.”

Taylor went to work on Adam Loomis on lap one, putting in a gap and working his way up to Bryan still 25 seconds ahead. Berend, meanwhile, set a strong pace but knew the Fletchers were coming. By mid race, the threesome had packed up and were screaming around the corners and staying evening on the uphills. Eventually, they all knew that the legendary Hermod’s would make it or break it.

On the final lap, the Fletcher brothers broke away from Berend. Now it was just the two of them. On the final climb of Hermod’s, Taylor put on the gas and gapped his older brother. Coming into the finish, he jubilantly threw up his hands in victory – earning a first-ever national title.

“It’s nice to have that title finally,” he said. “The last few years I’ve been second or third, it’s a lot nicer to be on the top. I’m just ecstatic to say I’m national champion for the first time.”

Ben Berend paved the way, leading in the morning jump. (USSA-Tom Kelly)

Ben Berend paved the way, leading the morning jump at the 2016 U.S. Nordic Combined Championship at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. (Photo: USSA/Tom Kelly)

The event was a milestone, too, for Berend. “It was truly an incredible day,” he said. “I was really confident going into the jumping competition as that has always been my strength. So when I won the jumping, that’s when the nerves really set in.”

An established jumper, cross-country has been a big training focus for the Steamboat Springs native. “Ben had a great race,” Jarrett said. “He managed the cross-country race well. He’s been working hard and deserves a good performance.”

“This spring I sat down with many of my leaders such as Dave Jarrett, Jon Schafer [High Performance Director] and Dave Cieslowski [Physical Therapist]. Between all these amazing people I got enough info to really formulate a plan to improve. It seemed like in the race, everything I’ve been working on just came together.”

Berend went out hard, turning a strong first lap time. He held his own through the midway point before he heard the Fletchers coming on hard.

“Going into the last hill I was still right with them,” Berend said. “For a slight moment a thought crossed into my mind, ‘I’m going to try and beat these guys.’ Pretty much at that second, the Bryan and Taylor absolutely took off and left me limping along in their dust. I feel like that result was a major barrier that I needed to break down. It was truly a dream come true to stand on that podium with my mentors and best friends.”

The L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championships was the kickoff to what will be a busy August for the team. USA Nordic Sport is sending the entire team to Europe for training and Grand Prix competition. It’s a vital step in an important World Championship season.

RESULTS
L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championship
Utah Olympic Park – Soldier Hollow

Jumping Results

Official Final Results

World Cup Racing Resumes; Fletchers with Fastest Course Times in Chaux-Neuve

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Well-rested from a month off of competition, nordic-combined athletes returned to the World Cup race scene this past weekend in Chaux-Neuve, France.

Saturday saw Germany’s Eric Frenzel take the overall individual hill/10-kilometer race win in a time of 21:26.0. Austrian skier Bernhard Gruber finished in second, (+4.7) and Japan’s Akito Watabe placed third (+6.5).

“It was a very hard race,” said Frenzel in an interview with German broadcaster ARD, “I had to attack early, I guess that wore out my opponents.”

Americans Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher finished the first day of racing in 19th and 20th, respectively, though Taylor posted the fastest time for the 10-kilometer cross country event, while Bryan’s time was third fastest.

The two U.S. Ski Team members started the cross-country race within 12 seconds of each other. Bryan Fletcher, who jumped to 29th in the morning, cruised out of the 10 k start gate 1:46 after the jump leader Watabe. About a quarter of a minute later, Taylor Fletcher, who jumped to 30th earlier that morning, got on course 1:58 after Watabe. 

Halfway through the five-lap 2 k loop, Taylor caught up to his American teammate and the two raced together to the finish, with Bryan leading most of the way.

“I felt strong and skied a smart race especially considering I was in the front quite a lot during the race pulling a strong group,” said Bryan Fletcher in a USSA press release.

Day 2 of racing on Sunday brought another German to the top of the podium. This time, however, it was Fabian Rießle for the overall win by 2.3 seconds, clocking in at 21:20.5 ahead of teammate Frenzel.

“Before the race I thought about what I would do if the situation arrived [to be in a lead group],” said Rießle in an interview with ARD, “I planned for two different variants. Because I felt very good at the end, I decided on trying a long [escape], because I did not want to get into a finish sprint. Nice that it worked out,” he added.

Frenzel finished Sunday in second overall, while Watabe placed third, 4.1 seconds behind Rießle’s winning mark.

For the Americans, Taylor raced to 21st overall on Sunday, 1:12.2 seconds behind Rießle, while teammate Bryan finished the day in 25th (+1:29.6).

Sunday morning, Taylor jumped to 32nd, putting him on course 1:54 seconds after the jump leader, Magnus Jari-Riiber of Norway. The time deficit didn’t slow the 23-year-old down and once again Taylor proved he was one of the speediest skiers on course, recording the second-fastest time of the day.

Starting just six seconds behind Taylor in the 10 k event was Bryan, who jumped to 38th in the morning, which put him on course 2:01 seconds after Jari-Riiber. Bryan also managed to make up time in the cross-country race, recording the fourth-fastest 10 k time of the day.

Results: Day 1 | Day 2

— Gabby Naranja / Harald Zimmer contributed

Taylor Fletcher Races Up from 42nd to 13th in Lillehammer

Monday, December 7th, 2015

Even with the unsettled winds in Lillehammer, Norway, on Sunday, the Nordic Combined World Cup sent skiers off the normal hill for its second event of the season.

Norway’s Magnus Krog won the individual normal-hill/10 k competition in 25:51.8. Krog jumped to 15th and skied the sixth-fastest time of the day for his second career World Cup win. Saturday’s winner, Austrian Fabian Rießle, took second (+1.0), while Austrian Lukas Klapfer placed third (+ 1.9) .

For the U.S. Nordic Combined Team, there were some high and low points. All four U.S. athletes struggled on the jumping hill. Taylor Fletcher posted a team best 42nd and ended up 13th, Bryan Fletcher jumped to 45th and placed 30th, Adam Loomis jumped to 55th and finished 43rd, Jasper Good jumped to 48th and placed 49th.

“It was tricky jumping this morning for sure,” U.S. head coach Dave Jarrett said in a USSA press release. “Bryan was unlucky as the conditions when he was set to go were too good and they took him off the bar twice. When he finally got the green the conditions were significantly worse. He had a pretty good jump nonetheless, but the speed was set for headwind … Taylor on the other hand, should have done more with his jump. He had a great race though and was close to the front but ran out of real estate.”

Yet, the team leaves Lillehammer with a bit of skiing confidence. Although Taylor Fletcher didn’t maximize his jumping opportunity, he skied the fastest 10 k and placed 13th overall.

“I was a lot closer timewise to the front compared to [Saturday], but also I skied a much more paced race!” Fletcher said in the press release. “I was really happy to have the fastest time by a fair amount but I am hungry for way more! I know my good jumps are good enough to put me in the fight for the win!”

Brian Fletcher also skied a top fifteen time, setting the 13th fastest ski time on the day, 33 seconds behind Krog.

Behind Fletcher (+33.0), Bryan finished 1:38.5 back in 30th, Loomis was 3:04.4 off the pace, followed Good (+3:43.8).

The Nordic Combined World Cup tour now takes a two week break with the next competition beginning Dec. 19th, in Ramsau, Austria.

Results

No NoCo in Ruka: Wind Cancels World Cup Opener (with Video)

Monday, November 30th, 2015

For the first time in the history of the Nordic Combined World Cup in Kuusamo, Finland, the season-opening competitions had to be canceled because of wind both Saturday and Sunday.

“The wind conditions this weekend have been too strong and in the line of safety for our athletes, we have had no chance to complete any jumps since Friday,” FIS race director Lasse Ottesen said in a press release. “So the World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway, next weekend will be our opening event of the winter 2015/16 and we are very much looking forward to finally get underway.”

What did coaches and athletes do with all that downtime? FIS compiled an assortment of social-media posts.

On Sunday, several Americans, Norwegians, Slovenians and Swiss nordic-combined skiers held a friendly race on the Ruka track. Norway’s Mikko Kokslien “won”, Magnus Krog of Norway was second and American Bryan Fletcher third.

To see the video, click here.

France Wins World Champs Team Sprint, Lamy Chappuis to Retire; Fletchers 10th for U.S.

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

FALUN, Sweden — Francois Braud and Jason Lamy Chappuis of France catapulted themselves to gold in the 2 x 7.5-kilometer team sprint on Saturday, the last day of nordic combined at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

With that, the 28-year-old Jason Lamy Chappuis, who defended his team sprint title from 2013 World Championships and won his first gold of these worlds, announced this would be his last season.

“Finishing here in Falun with a world championship title, I think is the best way to finish a career,” he told the Associated Press. “I want these memories like today to be forever in my head.”

Lamy Chappuis added that he plans to finish out the World Cup season in March.

First in the jump, Braud and Lamy Chappuis started the two-man sprint 11 seconds ahead of Japan’s Yoshito Watabe and Akito Watabe in second. Germany’s Eric Frenzel and Johannes Rydzek headed out third, 21 seconds out of first, and Norway’s Magnus Moan and Håvard Klemetsen started with a 44-second deficit in fourth.

The U.S., with Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher, jumped to 10th of 12 teams and started 2:04 back.

“Not sure how you get minus wind points and a green light in a headwind comp?” U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett tweeted after the jumping portion.

Amid the softest, slowest conditions of the two-week championships (the course had been re-groomed after the women’s 30 k classic, but didn’t firm up in the warm temperatures), the Fletchers improved to ninth, 1:59.9 behind France with the fifth-fastest team time in the cross-country race.

“Today was racing for pride,” Bryan said in a USSA press release. “I was unlucky on the jump and needed a near perfect jump to have a chance in those conditions. Unfortunately I didn’t have that jump which took Tay and I out of the competition.”
“Taylor and I went out in the race to enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere in the last competition of worlds,” he added. “Falun did a great job hosting the championships and I enjoyed them throughly. I am walking away with a personal best finish and some motivation going into the rest of the season.”

France edged out Germany by 2.7 seconds and Norway took bronze, 19.4 seconds out of first.

Finland’s Ilkka Herola and Jim Haertull finished fourth (+1:04.2), Italy was fifth (+1:18.7) with Samuel Costa and Alessandro Pittin, the Watabe brothers placed sixth (+1:25.7), Austria’s Sepp Schneider and Bernhard Gruber were seventh (+1:40.9), and the Czech Republic was eighth (+1:50.4).

After the U.S., Slovenia placed 10th and Estonia was 11th.

Results

U.S. Nordic Combined Seventh in World Champs 4 x 5 k Team Event

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015
Taylor Fletcher en route to the fastest tim of the second leg of the team gundersen 4 x 5 k at the 2015 FIS  Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. (photo: flying pointroad)

Taylor Fletcher (8) en route to the fastest time of the second leg of the team Gundersen 4 x 5 k at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad.com)

FALUN, Sweden — The U.S. Nordic Combined squad jumped to eighth and skied to seventh overall in Sunday’s 4 x 5-kilometer team event at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

Going into the cross-country portion ranked eighth after the 100-meter jump hill, the four-man U.S. team, consisting of Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Adam Loomis, and Billy Demong attempted to make up time on the German leaders who started 1:39 ahead of them.  The American squad was unable to make up ground on the leaders, but moved up to seventh place over the course of the relay.

Bryan Fletcher notched the second-fastest time in the relay’s first leg, while his brother Taylor clocked the fastest time of the second leg. The U.S. stuck with Italy for much of the race, and was advancing on the rest of the competition until Italy charged ahead in the final 5 k.

Germany convincingly won the race with a time of 44:20.7 and was followed by Norway (+23.1) and France (+39.6). Third in the team event at 2013 World Championships, the U.S. finished 2:37.8 back from the winners on Sunday.

Results

Five Named to Nordic Combined World Champs Team

Friday, February 6th, 2015

(USSA press release)

PARK CITY, UT (Feb. 5, 2015) – Steamboat Springs skiers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher headline a team of five nordic combined athletes named to compete in the Feb. 18-March 1 FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in Falun, Sweden. Olympic champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) was named to his seventh World Championship Team.

The Taylor brothers have emerged as the Team’s strongest athletes. “Both Bryan and Taylor have shown that with a good jump they are among the fastest guys in nordic combined and can compete for the podium,” said Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett.

In addition to the veterans, the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association (USSA) named two first-time team members, Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, WI).

The Championships open in Falun Feb. 18. The entire Championships schedule will be streamed live by the USSA at www.usskiteam.com and will be available on the Live Arena Falun2015 mobile app in America.

 

HIGHLIGHTS

Five athletes were named by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to compete in the FIS Nordic Ski World Championships Feb. 18-Mar. 1 in Falun, Sweden.
Taylor Fletcher was on the World Cup podium last month, finishing third in Sapporo, Japan.
Brother Bryan Fletcher has had a strong and consistent season with six top-10 results.
Billy Demong, who made history with his 2010 Olympic gold, was named to his seventh World Championship Team.
Adam Loomis was named to his first Championship Team based on scoring his first World Cup points in January.
Ben Berend will make his debut, being selected based on strong Continental Cup results.
Each of the four nordic combined events will be streamed live on usskiteam.com.

2015 U.S. World Championship Nordic Combined Team

(Name, hometown, birthdate, USSA club, past World Champs)

  • Ben Berend, Steamboat Springs, CO, 6/29/95, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
  • Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY, 3/29/80, Lake Placid Ski Club (1999, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2013)
  • Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, 6/27/86, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (2007, 2009, 2011, 2013)
  • Taylor Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, 5/11/90, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club (2011, 2013)
  • Adam Loomis, Eau Claire, WI, 3/19/92, Eau Claire Flying Eagles Ski Club

SCHEDULE

FIS Nordic Ski World Championships
Falun, Sweden

Feb. 18 – Opening Ceremony
Feb. 20 – Individual Gundersen start (HS100 meter jump/10k XC)
Feb. 24 – Team Event (HS100 meter jump/4x5k XC)
Feb. 26 – Individual Gundersen start (HS134 meter jump/10k XC)
Feb. 28 – Team Sprint (HS134 meter jump/2×7.5k XC)

Bryan Fletcher 21st for Top American Result in Val di Fiemme Weekend

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

The end of January welcomed three days of racing in Val di Fiemme, Italy for the nordic combined World Cup. The first day of racing marked the individual Gundersen 10 k, where Bernhard Gruber of of Austria won with a time of 29:13.9. He was followed by Norwegians Jan Schmid (+7.8) and Jørgen Graaback (+10.2) in second and third. Bryan Fletcher led the Americans in 25th place, 1:44.5 behind. He was followed by Adam Loomis and Micheal Ward in 28th and 41st.

Saturday’s team sprint went to Johannes Wasel, Tobias Simon and David Welde of team Germany. They were followed by Japan and Russia in second and third.

Sunday’s 10 k Gundersen went to Jørgen Graaback of Norway, who won his first World Cup in 25.28.7. Rounding out the podium were Gruber (+3.8) and Fabian Rießle of Germany (+4.1), respectively.

Fletcher led the American men in the Val di Fiemme in 21st (+1:03.5). In what a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association press release called an “illness-plagued weekend,” the American team was unable to match its most recent World Cup performance in Sapporo, Japan, where brother Taylor Fletcher notched third and Bryan placed eighth. Taylor finished 35th in Sunday’s race, while teammates Loomis and Colin Delaney finished 36th and 45th.

Friday’s 10 k Gundersen Results

Saturday’s Team Sprint

Sunday’s 10 k Gundersen Results

Fletcher Earns First National Title in Placid; Hendrickson & Fairall Victorious

Monday, October 13th, 2014
Bryan Fletcher earned his first U.S. national title Sunday at the 2015 U.S. Ski jumping and Nordic Combined Nationals in Lake Placid, N.Y. The 28-year-old was able to hold off his younger brother, Taylor Fletcher, after having a strong jump that gave him a 1:36 advantage. Taylor, who earned the fastest rollerski time on the day finished second overall. Adam Loomis placed third.
“This is awesome! I’ve been chasing the national title for a while. I think that I’ve been third like four or five times. Every time, including last year, I was really disappointed with my jumping. I would have an amazing (roller ski) race, but still wind up in third place because I was quite a bit back,” Fletcher told USSA.
“I could feel him [Taylor] and I could see him on a couple of sections. There were a few places where we would pass each other going opposite directions, and every time he was inching a little bit closer, so that was a little bit nerve-racking. But in the end, even with him chipping away hard, I was getting more excited reaching the finish line and I came in hot,” he said.
There were two athletes in the women’s competition: Tara Geraghty-Moats, of Women’s Ski Jumping USA, who won and also placed third in the U.S. Ski Jumping Championships, and runner-up Gabby Armstrong.
The K95 U.S. Ski Jumping Championships also took place at Lake Placid’s Olympic Jumping Complex on Sunday, with Sarah Hendrickson winning her third national title and Nick Fairall winning the men’s competition for his second national title.
Hendrickson edged teammate Jessica Jerome with a second jump of 97.5 meters, according to a USSA press release. Fairall, who won the 2014 Olympic Trials last season, was tied with Anders Johnson through the first round, then leapt 100.5 meters on his second jump. The two competitions for first were the closest in recent nationals history. Will Rhoads placed third in the men’s comp.

U.S. Nordic Combined Olympic Trials on Saturday

Friday, December 27th, 2013
Snow is set on the 2.5k cross country track while the jumps stand ready in the background for this weekend's Olympic Trials for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined at the Utah Olympic Park. (U.S. Ski Team - Tom Kelly)

Snow is set on the 2.5k cross country track while the jumps stand ready in the background for this weekend’s Olympic Trials for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined at the Utah Olympic Park. (Photo: US Ski Team/Tom Kelly)

Several Americans will be contending for a guaranteed Olympic spot on Saturday at the U.S. Nordic Combined Olympic trials in Park City, Utah. The HS-100 jumping competition starts Saturday at 10:15 MST and the two-lap 10 k race will take place at 2 p.m.

After Saturday’s NoCo events, men’s and women’s ski jumping will hold their own Olympic trials on Sunday with NBC live streaming the events (and recapping the nordic-combined trials) from 1:30-3 p.m. EST.

Bryan Fletcher in the competition jump at the Ramsau World Cup last weekend.

Bryan Fletcher (U.S. Nordic Combined) jumping at the Ramsau World Cup last weekend.

 

SCHEDULE (via US Ski Team)

All events at Utah Olympic Park

Saturday, Dec. 28 – 2014 U.S. Olympic Trials – Nordic Combined

  • Nordic Combined Trial Jump – 9:30 a.m. – 9:45 a.m. MST
  • Nordic Combined Competition Jump – 10:15 a.m. – 10:45 a.m. MST
  • Nordic Combined 10k (4×2.5k) – 2:00 p.m. – 2:35 p.m. MST
  • Nordic Combined Awards Ceremony – 2:45 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. MST

Sunday, Dec. 29 – 2014 U.S. Olympic Trials – Ski Jumping

  • Men’s and Women’s Trial Jump – 11:10 a.m. – 11:38 a.m. MST
  • Men’s and Women’s Competition Jump 1 – 11:50 a.m. – 12:05 p.m. MST
  • Men’s and Women’s Competition Jump 2 – 12:36 p.m. – 12:52 p.m. MST
  • Men’s and Women’s Awards Ceremony – 1:00 p.m. – 1:10 p.m. MST