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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