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USA Nordic Announces 2018/2019 Junior National Team

Tuesday, June 5th, 2018

(Press release)

PARK CITY, UT – USA Nordic is excited to announce that 23 athletes from around the country have been named to the 2018/2019 USA Nordic Junior National Teams in the disciplines of Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined.

Now in its second year, the program is designed to assist younger athletes in their development, as well as providing a stepping stone between regional clubs and the USA Nordic National Teams. This year, 14 young men and 9 young women from around the country have been named to the largest team to date. A total of 11 new skiers have been added to the team for their first time, including the creation of the first ever Women’s Nordic Combined Junior National Team.

Team Members

(New athletes/new teams denoted in bold print)

 

Men’s Nordic Combined

  • Beckett Ledger, 18, Lake Placid, NY, New York Ski Educational Foundation
  • Bennett Gamber, 17, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
  • Canden Wilkinson, 16, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
  • Erik Belshaw, 14, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
  • Niklas Malaciski, 14, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
  • Aidan Ripp, 17, Cloquet, MN, Cloquet Ski Club
  • Henry Jonstone, 17, Concord, MA, Andover Outing Club
  • Evan Nichols, 14, Lyme, NH, Ford K. Sayre Memorial Ski Council

 

Women’s Nordic Combined

  • Tess Arnone, 14, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
  • Alexa Brabec, 13, Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
  • Charlotte Ripp, 13, Cloquet, MN, Cloquet Ski Club

 

Men’s Ski Jumping

  • Decker Dean, 17,  Steamboat Springs, CO, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club
  • Andrew Urlaub, 17, Eau Claire, WI, Flying Eagles Ski Club
  • Greyson Scharffs, 16, Park City, UT, Park City Ski and Snowboard
  • Hunter Gibson, 17, Fox River Grove, IL, Norge Ski Club
  • Patrick Gasienica, 19, Spring Grove, IL, Norge Ski Club
  • Mathew White, 17, Lake Placid, NY, New York Ski Educational Foundation

 

Women’s Ski Jumping

  • Anna Hoffmann, 18, Madison, WI, Blackhawk Ski Club
  • Mollie Immens, 18, Fox River Grove, IL, Norge Ski Club
  • Cara Larson, 17, Barrington, IL, Norge SKi Club
  • Sophia Nester, 18, Park City, UT, Park City Ski and Snowboard
  • Paige Jones, 15,  Park City, UT, Park City Ski and Snowboard
  • Highfill, 14,  Park City, UT, Park City Ski and Snowboard

 

Quotes:

Jed Hinkley, USA Nordic Sport Development Director/Nordic Combined Junior National Team Director:

“I am really excited for the coming year and I think we have a great group of young athletes to follow in the footsteps of those retiring or taking some time off.  The older guys better watch out because the next crop is talented and hungry.  Each year I think we are taking small steps forward on clarifying and strengthening the pathway from the U10 athletes all the way up. We know we still have a lot of work to do and we still need to support clubs more from the top down but I believe we are making progress. ”

“I am especially excited about having a Women’s Nordic Combined Junior National Team for the first time ever, and consider it a privilege to be able to help guide the future of the sport in this country.  We have some really talented young ladies and I am thrilled to see what they can do this year and beyond.”

Blake Hughes, Ski Jumping Junior National Team Director:

“USA Nordic staff and coaches are excited to continue our progress with our growing junior national teams. We feel this is an intricate part of our program to help, in conjunction with our clubs across the country, to develop our youth and better prepare them for our national teams. This year we were excited to promote members from our Junior team to the national teams. From our women’s jumping team Logan Sankey, Annika Belshaw, and Samantha Macuga and from our Nordic Combined athlete Jared Shumate have all qualified for our national team. This program has shown a clear path for our athletes to get to the highest level.”

“This program has shown a clear path for our athletes to get to the highest level. USA Nordic understands that our future is reliant on the strength of our pipeline. We invest in development across many fronts and bringing together this group of talented juniors, to train under the auspices of our world class coaching staff and alongside the best athletes in the United States, has proven to be a strategy which helps these athletes accelerate their development.”

15 Nordic Combined & Jumping Athletes to Represent U.S. at World Junior Championships

Saturday, January 13th, 2018

US Nordic Combined’s Ben Loomis (front) on his way to fifth place after jumping the furthest on Day 3 of the Continental Cup series in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Loomis will represent the United States at World Junior Championships later this month. (Photo: USA Nordic/Facebook)

(Press release from USA Nordic)

PARK CITY, UT – USA Nordic is excited to announce that 15 athletes have been nominated to take part in the 2018 Junior World Championships for Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined in Kandersteg, Switzerland, January 27 through February 4.

A total of nine men and five women have been selected to compete in the annual competition. Qualification standards were based on both international and domestic results, as set forth by US Ski and Snowboard, in conjunction with USA Nordic.

The Women’s Ski Jumping team will be comprised of five athletes:
Logan Sankey (19, Steamboat Springs, CO)
Annika Belshaw (15, Steamboat Springs, CO)
Cara Larson (17, Barrington, IL)
Samantha Macuga (16, Park City, UT)
Anna Hoffmann (17, Madison, WI)

The Men’s Ski Jumping Team will also have five athletes:
Casey Larson (19, Barrington, IL)
Andrew Urlaub (16, Eau Claire, WI)
Hunter Gibson (16, Fox River Grove, IL)
Decker Dean (17, Steamboat Springs, CO)
Patrick Gasienica (19, Richmond, IL)

The Nordic Combined team will be made up of four athletes:
Ben Loomis (19, Eau Claire, WI)
Stephen Schumann (17, Park City, UT)
Jared Shumate (18, Park City, UT)
Tucker Hoefler (19, Park City, UT)

Women’s Nordic Combined:
Tess Arnone (15, Steamboat Springs, CO)

All of the athletes that have been named to the team are members of either the USA Nordic National Team or the USA Nordic Junior National Team for their discipline.

This year, four of the athletes on the Women’s Ski Jumping team qualified by scoring Continental Cup points earlier this season in Notodden, Norway, while Cara qualified with podium finishes in all three domestic qualifying events. There are four return athletes to the team this year, with one newcomer, 15-year-old Annika Belshaw.

“We have seen a lot of progress from all of the women on the team this year and we feel the team is getting stronger as a whole,” said USA Nordic Coach Blake Hughes. “We are excited to get over to Europe and continue their growth as international competitors.”

As an added bonus, the women’s team will all be getting their first World Cup experience the weekend before in Ljubno, Slovenia, in preparation for the Championships.

The Men’s Ski Jumping team will be led this year by veteran and USA Nordic National Team member Casey Larson. Larson will be accompanied by two teammates from last year’s team, Decker Dean and Patrick Gasienica. The team will be rounded out by two newcomers, Andrew Urlaub and Hunter Gibson.

“It’s great to see that Andy and Hunter could step up their game this year and qualify for the team,” said coach Hughes. “They are all excited to get over to Europe and compete with their international peers.”

Andrew, Hunter, Decker, and Patrick will stay stateside and compete in the US Cup events in Eau Claire, Ishpeming and Norge. Casey will stay on the Continental Cup (COC) circuit and will meet up with the team in Kandersteg.

The Nordic Combined team is full of experience, led by veteran and silver medalist at the 2016 Youth Olympic Games, Ben Loomis. Loomis is coming off of three top five finishes on the Nordic Combined COC circuit in December. Schumann has had a handful of top 20 finishes on the COC tour as well, and Shumate had the first top 30 COC finish of his career in December. Tucker Hoefler has had a good start to his season as well, including winning a domestic qualifier in Park City, UT.

Tess Arnone will be the lone women’s athlete in the women’s Nordic Combined test event. She will be joined by her dad, professional gelande jumper Pat Arnone.

“We’ve had a very successful start to the season,” said USA Nordic Nordic Combined COC coach Tomas Matura. “Several junior athletes have taken their game to the next level.”

The Nordic Combined team will meet in Oberstdorf, Germany, for a five day pre-camp before joining the other American teams in Kandersteg on January 27.

Schedule of Events:

Tuesday, January 30
Women’s Nordic Combined individual test event (HS72/5k)
Men’s Nordic Combined individual (HS106/10k)

Thursday, February 1
Women’s Ski Jumping individual (HS106)
Men’s Ski Jumping individual (HS106)
Men’s Nordic Combined team (HS106/4x5k)

Friday, February 2
Women’s Ski Jumping team (HS106)
Men’s Ski Jumping team (HS106)

Saturday, February 3
Men’s and Women’s Ski Jumping mixed team (HS106)
Men’s Nordic Combined sprint (HS106/5k)

Kokslien Takes Steamboat Continental Cup by Storm; Ben Loomis Repeats in 5th

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

US Nordic Combined’s Ben Loomis (front) on his way to fifth place after jumping the furthest on Day 3 of the Continental Cup series in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. (Photo: USA Nordic/Facebook)

Last Friday through Sunday, Dec. 15-17, Steamboat Springs hosted three days of Nordic Combined Continental Cup individual competitions on the 75-meter “medium” hill and a 2.5-kilometer race course in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Day 1

Kicking the series off on Friday, Germany’s Tobias Simon jumped to first with 125.8 points in the initial medium hill/10 k Gundersen start competition. U.S. Nordic Combined’s Ben Loomis jumped to second with 124.3 points and started the 10 k race six seconds after Simon. Norway’s Sindre Ure Søtvik was just behind Loomis after the jump in third with 124.2 points and also started six seconds after Simon.

Also for USA Nordic, Jasper Good flew to 12th with 115.1 points and started the race 43 seconds back. Ben Berend jumped to 18th with 112.9 points and started 52 seconds back, Stephen Schuman jumped to 20th and started 58 seconds back, Grant Andrews was 27th off the hill to start 1:12 behind, Jared Shumate was 39th (+1:47), Tucker Hoefler 43rd (+2:27).

The podium after the 10 k race saw none of the top-three jumpers keep their places. Norway’s Mikko Kokslien, a longtime World Cup racer in his first Continental Cup competitions, rose from 14th to first place, crossing the line in 23:52.2 after starting with a 44-second deficit. Norway had two on the podium with Truls Sønstehagen Johansen racing from 17th to second (+0.6), and France’s Hugo Buffard placed third (+2.6) after jumping to 29th and starting 1:19 minutes back.

Loomis ultimately finished fifth (+14.5) for his best Continental Cup result since almost exactly a year ago, when he was fifth in Klingenthal, Germany. (The 19-year-old Wisconsin native’s career best on the circuit is fourth place, which he achieved in December 2015.) Good moved up to 10th (+38.4) and Schumann 16th (+1:15.3). Berend held his position in 18th (+1:19), and Shumate improved to 30th (+2:09.4), while Andrews slipped to 36th (+2:54.6), and Hoefler moved up one spot for 42nd (+4:28.6).

Canada’s Nathaniel Mah jumped to 35th and finished 40th overall (+4:00.8).

Results: Day 1 Jumping | Day 1 Overall

Day 2

In the second individual medium hill/10 k competition, Kokslien racked up his second-straight win again, jumping to eighth, starting 30 second back and finishing first in 23:49.5. Norway’s Harald Johnas Riiber led after the jump and ended up 11th overall (+1:04.2), after starting 9 seconds ahead of Japan’s Yuto Nakamura (who jumped to second but dropped to 29th in the ski race). France’s Buffard moved one step up on the podium in second place (+7.0) after jumping to 25th and starting the race 1:09 minutes back. Norway’s Johansen stepped down one spot to third (+0:15) after placing 20th in the jump and starting 56 seconds out of first.

For the U.S., Loomis repeated in fifth (+24.1) in a photo finish after jumping to third and starting the ski 12 seconds behind. Good skied to eighth (+38.8) after jumping to 13th and starting 46 seconds back. Schumann placed 15th (+1:33.7) also in a photo finish after jumping to 29th and beginning 1:14 minutes behind. Berend placed 24th (+1:51.4), up from 28th in the jump; Andrews was 30th (+2:07.7) after jumping to 27th and starting with Berend 1:12 minutes back. Shumate finished 33rd (+2:42.7) after jumping to 41st, Beckett Ledger finished 40th (+4:36.2), up two places from 42nd in the jump, and Aidan Ripp finished 42nd (+6:17.4) up from 46th in the jump.

Canada’s Mah jumped to 21st but lost positions in the 10 k for 35th overall (+2:56.3).

Results: Day 2 Jumping | Day 2 Overall

Day 3 

For the third and final day of Steamboat’s Continental Cup, the podium was a reordering of the Day 2 podium and a repeat of the podium from Day 1. So that meant Kokslein was once again on top.

The 32-year-old Norwegian swept the Steamboat series with his third-straight win, finishing first on Sunday in 24:17.7. He started 12th based on his jump and started the race 54 seconds behind Loomis, who jumped to first.

Loomis was first after the jumping portion of the day, scoring 123.8 points, just half a point ahead of Germany’s Simon with 123.5. Riiber jumped to third with 121.7 points.

In the 10 k, Loomis started just 1 second ahead of Simon, and Riiber headed out of the gate 8 seconds after the American. Loomis once again finished the race in fifth, 15.6 seconds behind Kokslien in first. Simon slipped to seventh (+20.4) and Riiber ended up 10th (+35.6).

Meanwhile, Johansen raced up from 19th after the jump (with a 1:04 starting deficit) to second place (+2.0) and Buffars claimed third (+4.2), posting the fastest 10 k time to rise from from 27th and a 1:26 starting deficit. Johansen’s time was second fastest and Kokslien’s was third fastest.

For the U.S., Good finished 12th (+54.6) after jumping to 24th and starting 1:09 back. Berend placed 18th (+1:25.8), down three spots after jumping to 13th, and Schumann finished 20th (+1:34.1) after jumping to 35th. Andrews, who’s based in Steamboat, finished 27th (+1:56.1), after jumping to 16th, Shumate was 31st (+2:11.1), up from 38th after the jump, Hoefler skied to 41st (+4:40.9), Steamboat’s Bennett Gamber placed 43rd (+5:26.1) after starting 40th based on his jump.

Mah jumped to 36th and finished 38th overall (+2:56.3).  

The Nordic Combined Continental Cup goes on break for the holidays before resuming in Klingenthal, Germany, Jan. 5-7.

Results: Day 3 Jumping | Day 3 Overall

— Jason Albert

Norway Tops Lillehammer Team Event and Individual 10 k

Monday, December 4th, 2017

The all-Norwegian podium from Sunday’s Nordic Combined World Cup individual 10 k Gundersen start in Lillehammer, Norway. Espen Andersen (1) placed first, Jan Schmid (11) was second and Jørgen Graabak (9) placed third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined)

This past Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, Lillehammer, Norway hosted a two-day Nordic Combined World Cup.

Day 1

Saturday’s Nordic Combined World Cup 4 x 5-kilometer team event initially saw each nation’s skiers flying from the storied venue’s 98-meter hill.

Home-nation Norway set itself up for the ski portion of the event by collectively flying farthest. Team members Jan Schmid, Espen Andersen, Jarl Magnus Riiber, and Jørgen Graabak ranked first in the jumping portion with 524.2 points. Germany’s formidable foursome of Eric Frenzel, Johanne Rydzek, Vinzenz Geiger, and Fabian Rießle jumped to second place, amassing 498.5 points, and thus started the relay 46 seconds after Norway. Japan’s team of Taihei Kato, Go Yamamoto, Akito Watabe, and Yoshito Watabe was third after the jump with 486.7 points and started 50 seconds back.

The U.S. team, constituted of Bryan Fletcher, Jasper Good, Ben Berend, and Taylor Fletcher, jumped to 10th place with 396.5 points.

The 4 x 5 k ski portion saw some drama in the fight for the podium’s top spot. Norway’s 46-second gap on Germany at the start dwindled to 1.7 seconds by the finish, yet Norway pulled off the win in 50:46, while Japan slipped to fifth place (+29.1).

France’s team of Francois Braud, Maxime Laheurte, Antoine Gerard, and Jason Lamy Chappuis, which jumped to fourth and started the relay 1:12 minutes after Norway, placed third, 21.4 seconds behind the winners. Finland followed in fourth (+22.0), up from sixth after the jump.

The U.S. finished ninth overall (+3:25) out of 12 teams, after skiing in eighth for the first 10 k with first- and second-leg skiers Bryan Fletcher and Good.

Day 2

The second day of competition in Lillehammer, the individual large-hill/10 k Gundersen start, took place on the 140-meter hill. Norway took the top three spots after the jump. Norway’s Espen Andersen flew the furthest with 147.4 points, Espen Bjoernstad was second with 143 points, and Harald Johnas Riiber third with 140.7 points.

Norway held onto the top-three podium spots after the 10 k race, but some re-shuffling occurred in terms of the Norwegians’ standing in second and third place.

Andersen, who was the first skier off, and began with an 18-second lead on the second starter Bjoernstad, placed first overall in 26:25.1 minutes. Second overall was Norway’s Jan Schmid (+3.4), who jumped to 11th place and began the ski 50 seconds back. The third podium spot was earned by Norway’s Jørgen Graabak (+4.2). Graabak started 54 seconds behind the day’s winner Andersen.

Bjoernstad the day’s second best jumper faded to 11th, 2.8 seconds back. Harald Johnas Riiber, the third place jumper, fell back to 27th overall, 1:40.2 minutes behind.  

No Americans started Sunday’s event.

Results: Day 1 team event | Day 2 individual 10 k

— Jason Albert

Two Days in Sapporo: Germany’s Kircheisen Wins Day 1, Watabe Day 2

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Germany’s Björn Kircheisen (bib 4) placed first in Friday’s Nordic Combined World Cup competition in Sapporo, Japan. Akito Watabe (bib 2) from Japan was second, and Norwegian Mikko Kokslien (bib 17) third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined/Twitter)

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup (Sapporo, Japan)

With a hop, skip and a jump (emphasis on the jump), the Nordic Combined World Cup made its way from PyeongChang, South Korea, to Sapporo, Japan, last week. Last Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11, the Sapporo nordic complex hosted two days of jumping and skiing.

Friday’s individual gundersen large hill/10 k began with a Japanese skier flying the furthest: Hisaki Nagamine jumped 136 meters and earned 135.9 points. Two Japanese teammates were second and third after the jumping: Akito Watabe was second with 129.1 points and Taihei Kato third with 125.5 points.

10 k later on the ski tracks and the skier who placed fourth in the jump and started 42 seconds back, Germany’s Björn Kircheisen, won the overall after completing the 10 k in 25:59.3. Watabe, who began 27 seconds behind Nagamine, placed second. In third was Norwegian Mikko Kokslien (+32.1). Kokslien placed 17th in the jump and started 1:40 back — he skied the second fastest ski time on the day.

Two Americans contested the event. Adam Loomis jumped to 38th and skied up to 31st (+3:59.2). Jasper Good was 35th after the jump and slipped a spot in the ski to place 36th overall (+4:35.7).

Japan’s Akito Watabe (c) celebrates his Day 2 win in Sapporo, Japan. Switzerland’s Tim Hug (l) placed second, and Germany’s Manual Faisst (r) placed third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined/Twitter)

Saturday’s competition was also an individual large hill/10 k up for grabs. Off the hill, again Nagamine set the benchmark after flying 138 meters and earning 128.8 points. German Manual Faisst placed second with 127.7 points, and Norwegian Håvard Klemetsen was third with 124.7 points.

The day’s ultimate winner, Watabe jumped to fourth, starting the ski race 25 seconds back. He finished in 25:55.9, after posting the fifth-fastest 10 k time of the day. Switzlerland’s Tim Hug, after jumping to fifth and starting 32 seconds behind Nagamine in the 10 k, placed second (+4.0). Faisst completed the podium in third (+12.3).

Good jumped to 33rd and finished 34th (+4:28.1). Loomis ranked 38th after the jump and skied up to 36th (+5:06.9).

The Sapporo World Cup was the last regular-season event before 2017 World Championships take place in Lahti, Finland, with nordic-combined competitions from Feb. 24-March 3.

Results: Day 1 | Day 2

Bryan Fletcher 13th in Val di Fiemme; Adam Loomis, Jasper Good Land Top 10’s in Ruka

Monday, January 16th, 2017

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup (Val di Fiemme, Italy)

U.S. Nordic Combined’s Bryan Fletcher recorded his second-best result of the season on Sunday, the last of three days of World Cup competition in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Fletcher jumped to 33rd on the large hill then raced the second-fastest 10 k of the day to finish 13th, 56.8 seconds behind the winner, Eric Frenzel of Germany.

Frenzel started Sunday with the best jump, which gave him an 18-second head start on Japan’s Go Yamamoto, who started second in the 10 k Gundersen start.

Frenzel went on to hold off his challengers for first, crossing the finish in 27:21.7 minutes, while German teammate Johannes Rydzek finished 30.2 seconds later in second. One second behind Rydzek, Japan’s Akito Watabe placed third (+31.2) after starting 30 seconds back in third. Rydzek raced up from 16th and 1:26 back at the start, while Yamamoto dropped to 38th (+3:44.1) at the finish.

Taylor Fletcher finished 30th (+2:36.1) on Sunday, after jumping to 46th, Ben Loomis placed 39th (+4:00.8), and Ben Berend 40th (+4:13.0) for the U.S.

On Saturday, the U.S. team of Bryan and Taylor Fletcher finished eighth in the 2 x 7.5 k team event, 40 seconds behind the Norwegian winners, Espen Andersen and Jørgen Grabaak. The Americans ranked 16th after the jumping portion and clocked the fastest ski time to chip away at a 1:41 starting deficit.

Meanwhile, Berend and Loomis jumped to 10th and were slated to start the cross-country race 44 seconds behind the German leaders (Terence Weber and Fabian Rießle, first after the jump). But the U.S. second team did not start the 2 x 7.5 k race.

Norway’s Andersen and Grabaak ranked second after the jump and combined for the seventh-fastest ski time to finish in 35:02.4. They edged the Czech Republic’s Tomas Portyk and Miroslav Dvorak by 0.3 seconds for the win, and Italy’s Samuel Costa and Alessandro Pittin raced up from 11th to third, just 0.9 seconds behind the winners.

Germany finished off the podium in fifth (+11.6), behind Finland’s Eero Hirvonen and Ilkka Herola in fourth (+2.7).

To start the long weekend, Frenzel won the individual large hill/10 k on Friday, and just like Sunday, Rydzek placed second. Frenzel jumped to second and started Friday’s cross-country race 26 seconds behind Austria’s Mario Seidl, who led after the jump. Frenzel secured his first win of the weekend in 29:19.4, Rydzek followed 24.2 seconds later in second place, and Norway’s Magnus Moan was third (+25.9). Rydzek posted the fastest course time after starting 1:45 back in 25th, and Moan started just two seconds ahead of him in 23rd. Seidl ended up 11th (+42.3).

Taylor Fletcher led the U.S. in 21st (+1:41.4), skiing the fourth-fastest 10 k to pick off 25 places, after starting 46th and nearly 3 minutes back. No other Americans competed on Day 1 in Val di Fiemme.

The Nordic Combined World Cup is headed to Chaux-Neuve, France, for the next competitions on Saturday and Sunday.

Results:

Friday’s individual large hill/10 k

Saturday’s 2 x 7.5 k team event

Sunday’s individual large hill/10 k

***

FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup (Kuusamo, Finland)

Meanwhile, at the Nordic Combined Continental Cup in Kuusamo, better known a Ruka, Finland, the U.S. picked up a couple of top 10-results, with Adam Loomis placing seventh on Sunday and Jasper Good ninth on Saturday.

In Saturday’s individual large hill/10 k, Good jumped to seventh and started the cross-country race 1:03 minutes behind the jump leader, Norway’s Harald Johnas Riiber. Three Austrians proceeded to sweep the podium, with Lukas Greiderer winning in 27:51.3, Martin Fritz placing second (+26.5), and Harald Lemmerer third (+43.2), after starting in sixth, eighth and 17th, respectively.

Riiber slipped to sixth (+1:06.3), and Good finished ninth (+1:51.8) for the American’s first individual  Continental Cup top 10.

Also for the U.S. on Saturday, Stephen Schumann finished 18th (+2:57.1) for his first individual top 20, Loomis 30th (+4:35.4), and Grant Andrews 39th (+6:39.5).

On Sunday in another large hill/10 k, Loomis raced up from 14th in the jump to seventh at the finish, 1:27.5 behind the winner, Norway’s Sindre Ure Søtvik. Loomis started the ski race 3:30 behind the jump leader, Japan’s Hisaki Nagamine, while Søtvik started 32 seconds back in second and secured the win in 28:44.9.

Austria took second and third with Tomaz Druml (+16.4) and Fritz (+52.3), respectively, after Druml started sixth and Fritz jumped to fifth.

For Loomis, 24, it was his first Continental Cup top 10 in five years and his fourth-career individual podium.

Schumman achieved another personal best of 13th on Sunday (for his second top 20 of the weekend and his career), finishing 2:15.9 behind the winner. Good followed him closely in 14th (+2:17.7) and Andrews finished 36th (+5:38.8) to close out the weekend.

Next weekend, Otepää, Estonia, will host the NoCo Continental Cup with two individual normal hill/10 k competitions.

Results: Saturday | Sunday

Getting ready to compete on this mammoth this weekend! #skijumping #ruka #fisnoco #usanordic #hshive PC: @skiloomis

A photo posted by Jasper Good (@jaspergoody) on

U.S. Junior Worlds Nordic Combined Team Named

Friday, January 13th, 2017

(Press release)

PARK CITY, UT (Jan. 13, 2017) – Six nordic combined skiers have been named to the team that will represent the USA at the International Ski Federation’s 2017 USANA Nordic Junior World Ski Championships Jan. 30-Feb. 5 at the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow Nordic Center. It’s the first time the global junior event has been held in the USA since 1986 in Lake Placid.

The team was named by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, in collaboration with USA Nordic, following the completion of trials last month and final international events. Selection was based on results of international Continental Cup competitions along with three trials events with jumps at Steamboat Springs, CO and Park City, UT.

The team blends some seasoned veterans with a host of newcomers to international competition.

The team will be led by Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) of the Flying Eagles Ski Club. Loomis was the silver medalist at the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway last February and is competing regularly on the World Cup tour. He will be joined by Stephen Schumann (Park City, UT) of Park City Nordic Ski Club. Schumann qualified through Continental Cup points scored in Klingenthal, Germany in December. He and Loomis each won one of the final two trials events in Park City in late December. Also on the team is two-time Junior Worlds veteran Koby Vargas (Steamboat Springs, CO) of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

Among the newcomers to Junior Worlds will be Grant Andrews (Steamboat Springs, CO) of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Andrews had his first international experience last season finishing fourth and 11th in a youth Nordic combined event in Norway. It will be the first international event for both Tucker Hoefler (Park City, UT) of the Park City Nordic Ski Club as well as Elijah Vargas (Steamboat Springs, CO) of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.

“It is a great opportunity for these athletes to be able to compete at home against such a strong international field,” said Coach Martin Bayer. “We have some great experience on this team, especially with Ben Loomis who showed at the Youth Olympic Games last season that he can compete with the best in the world.”

The first competition day is Tuesday, January 31 with individual 10k event. The 4x5k team event is Thursday, Feb. 2 with the final 5k individual event on Saturday, Feb. 4. All jumping is on the HS100m Olympic jump at the Utah Olympic Park with cross country on the Olympic Trails at Soldier Hollow.

2017 USA JUNIOR NORDIC WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TEAM

(Name, hometown, USSA club, birthdate, age at start of championships)

  • Grant Andrews, Steamboat Springs, CO (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) 12/3/1997 (19)
  • Tucker Hoefler, Park City, UT (Park City Nordic Ski Club) 9/12/1998 (18)
  • Ben Loomis, Eau Claire, WI (Flying Eagles Ski Club) 6/9/1998 (18) * ***
  • Stephen Schumann, Park City, UT (Park City Nordic Ski Club) 3/14/2000 (16)
  • Elijah Vargas, Steamboat Springs CO (Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club) 8/5/2000 (16)
  • Koby Vargas, Steamboat Springs, CO (Park City Nordic Ski Club) 5/31/1998 (18)  * **

* Member of 2016 Junior Worlds team


** Member of 2015 Junior Worlds team

*** Member of 2016 Youth Olympic Games team

2017 USANA FIS NORDIC JUNIOR WORLD SKI CHAMPIONSHIPS

Monday, January 30

7:00 p.m. Opening Ceremony (Zermatt Resort, Midway)

Tuesday, January 31

9:00 a.m. Nordic combined HS100m jump (Utah Olympic Park)
3:30 p.m Nordic combined 10k (Soldier Hollow)

Wednesday, February 1

7:00 p.m. Medal ceremony (Ice Castles, Homestead Resort, Midway)

Thursday, February 2

9:00 a.m. Nordic combined HS100m team jump (Utah Olympic Park)
3:30 p.m. Nordic combined team 4x5k (Soldier Hollow)

Friday, February 3

7:00 p.m. Medal ceremony (Ice Castles, Homestead Resort, Midway)

Saturday, February 4

9:00 a.m. Nordic combined HS100m jump (Utah Olympic Park)
3:30 p.m. Nordic combined 5k (Soldier Hollow)

Sunday, February 5

6:30 p.m. Closing Ceremony and Medals Ceremony (Zermatt Resort, Midway)

TOP PAST JUNIOR WORLDS FINISHES FOR USA

1 – Todd Lodwick – 1996 Asiago, Italy
2 – Alex Glueck – 2002 Schonach, Germany
3 – Nathan Gerhart – 2002 Schonach Germany
5 – Eric Camerota – 2004 Stryn, Norway

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

B. Fletcher 11th; World Cup Finally Gets Off Ground (Sort of) in Lillehammer

Saturday, December 5th, 2015
Today’s large-hill Gundersen 10-kilometer competition in Lillehammer, Norway, was the first Nordic Combined World Cup event of the season. Last weekend’s World Cup in Kuusamo, Finland — what would have been the season-opening competitions — were canceled due to high winds.

Saturday’s scheduled competition was also affected by wind: the morning’s team event was scratched due to high winds and replaced with an individual competition.

Unable to jump on Saturday, race officials made a quick decision to move forward with the competition. They decided to use results from Friday’s provisional jump to determine Saturday’s start order for the 10 k cross-country race.

Winning his first ever Nordic Combined World Cup race was Germany’s Fabian Rießle, a 2014 Olympic individual bronze medalist, who won Saturday’s competition in 25:22.4. The podium was rounded out by second-place finisher, Japan’s Akito Watabe (+12.5), followed by Ilkka Herola of Finland in third (+15.2).

In the post-race press conference, Rießle was asked how he felt after his first victory. “It feels totally, I don’t know, so cool,” he said.

The top American, Bryan Fletcher placed 11th (+1:11.2 ) after jumping to 15th in the provisional round and starting in that position. He started 47 seconds back from Poland’s Szczepan Kupczak, the top jumper from the practice round.

“When today’s jump was cancelled, I was excited,” Fletcher wrote in an email. “I knew I was in a good position and had an opportunity for a strong result. Honestly I was thinking I could do a little better than 11th, but tough snow conditions and strong skiers around me, made it difficult to move up any further.”

Typically strong on the hill, Fletcher focused on further improving his jumping this summer in order to position himself near the front of the cross-country race.

“I am happy to see some improvement in my jumping thus far,” he wrote. “… I hope to continue this progress over the season. So needless to say I won’t be hanging my hat on that performance alone.”

In a USSA press release, U.S. head coach Dave Jarrett called it a “pretty good start” for the team.

“We always have high hopes for the cross country race. It was a good race, but today the front was so fast that it was hard for Bryan’s group to close,” he said. “We didn’t have the fastest cross country times today but we know we can ski with anyone. Both Bryan and Taylor have been jumping pretty well and we are psyched for another chance tomorrow.”

Also for the U.S., Taylor Fletcher placed 26th (+2:11.5) and skied the 12th fastest cross-country time, Adam Loomis placed 37th (+3:15.6), and Jasper Good was 51st (+6:50) in his World Cup debut.

Another individual event will be held Sunday, with jumping on the normal hill due to predicted high winds, followed by a 10 k race.

“Tomorrow will be another opportunity,” Fletcher wrote. “I am excited to have another chance to improve upon today, so we will see how it goes.”

— Jason Albert and Alex Kochon contributed reporting