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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



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.”

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