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Val di Fiemme Nordic Combined World Cup Wrap Up; Fletcher Continues at Warp Speed

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Taylor Fletcher (leading skier) on his way to posting a 20th overall during the first day of NoCo World Cup racing in Val Di Fiemme, Italy. (Photo: @tfletchernordic Instagram screenshot)

Starting last Friday in Val di Fiemme three days of the Nordic Combined World Cups were contested. Day one featured an individual large hill/10 k Gundersen start race, the second day a large hill / 2 x 7.5 k team sprint, and day three another individual large hill 10 k Gundersen start.

Germany’s Johannes Rydzek won the first day of competition after ranking fifth in the jumping portion. He began the ski with a 53 second deficit to first place jumper- first-to-start skier Mario Seidl of Italy. Rydzek’s winning time was 26:58.4 minutes in the 10 k skate race.

Norway’s Jørgen Gråbak placed second (+5.9) after jumping to sixth place and beginning the ski 52 seconds back. Seidl skied to third overall, 7.2 seconds behind first-place skier Rydzek.

USA Nordic’s Taylor Fletcher continued his positive trend in the results. Fletcher jumped to 41st earning him a 3:13 minute setback as he began the ski portion of the day’s events. Again with his ski speed, he posted the second fastest time of day on his way to moving up 21 bib numbers to finish 20th overall, 2:02 minutes back.

Fletcher skied the 10 k course in 25:47.4 minutes, 0.3 seconds off the fastest time of day posted by Germany’s Fabian Rießle.

The second day in Val di Fiemme’s NoCo World Cup highlighted the two-person team event.

Norway’s combo of Jan Schmid and Gråbak placed first off the jump and went on to win the 2 x 7.5 k ski in a time of 34:30.9 minutes.

But all was not cool and stress-free for the Norwegians. They were almost taken at the line by the second and third to start the relay. Germany I’s Rydzek and Vinzenz Geiger placed second (+0.5) and Germany II’s Eric Frenzel and Rießle were third (+0.5) in a photo finish.

The U.S. team of Fletcher and Ben Loomis jumped to 14th and began the ski 2:18 minutes back. Fletcher and Loomis placed 10th overall (+1:53.0) after skiing the third fastest time of day in the 2 x 7.5 k ski.

Video of Day Three Highlights

Day three in Val di Fiemme went to Germany. The individual 10 k Gundersen start was won by  Germany’s Geiger in a time of 26:34.0 minutes. Geiger jumped to fourth, began the ski 37 seconds back, and skied the fastest time of day on his way to the win. Austria’s Franz-Josef Rehrl was in first place after the jump and skied off first in bib 1. Rehrl faded a bit during the ski portion to place fourth (+47.4).

Geiger’s teammate Rydzek placed second (+7.6) in the final standings. Rydzek jumped to sixth and had the second fastest ski split on Sunday. Japan’s Akito Watabe placed third (+40.6). Watabe also jumped to third place and began 36 seconds behind Rehrl.

Fletcher jumped into 39th to begin the ski with a 3:10 minute deficit. He skied the 10th fastest time during the ski to place 30th (+3:37. 4).

Canada’s Nathaniel Mah was positioned 42nd after the jump but was pulled from the ski race after being lapped.

After the three-race series, Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway leads the Nordic Combined World Cup with 730 points. Riiber placed fourth overall in Friday’s individual race. Rydzak sits second overal with 581 points, and Watabe third with 462 points.

Fletcher is curently ranked 35th on the Word Cup.

Day 1 Results | Day two Results | Day three Results

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Otepää , Estonia

Monday, January 7th, 2019

American Taylor Fletcher in Otepää, Estonia on his way to 19th place in Sunday’s Individual Gundersen 10 k when he skied the fastest time of day. (Photo: fis-ski.com screenshot)

 

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup Otepää, Estonia Day 1 Individual Gundersen 10 k

The Nordic Combined World Cup got back to jumping and skiing on Saturday in Otepää, Estonia for a two-day event.

Due to high winds on Saturday, jumping results from Friday’s provisional rounds were used to determine the start order for the ski portion of Saturday’s racing.

In Friday’s provisional round, Austria’s Franz-Josef Rehrl placed first, Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber second, and teammate Esen Bjørnstad third.

The 10 k ski race provided an opportunity for some reshuffling as the ski race shook out.

Ribber, who began the ski race three seconds behind first starter Rehrl, won the race in 23:18.1 minutes. Japan’s Akito Watabe, the fifth-placed jumper and starting with an 11 second penalty, skied himself into second place (+3.2). And ninth-place jumper, starting with a 46-second deficit, Austria’s Martin Fritz placed third (+5.0).

The U.S. Nordic Combined team had three athletes entered. Taylor Fletcher jumped to 45th but skied up to 30th place (+2:16.1). Fletcher skied the third fastest ski leg after starting 3:18 minutes back. Ben Loomis placed 38th (+3:26.5). Loomis began in bib 44, 3:14 minutes back when he started. Jasper Good jumped to 41st and a 2: 57 minute penalty. Good ended up 45th overall (+4:17.3). Jared Shumate jumped to 50th. He began the ski 3:42 minutes behind, and placed 46th (+4:28.6).

Saturday Results

 

Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber won both of the weekend’s races in Otepää, Estonia on the men’s Nordic Combined World Cup. (Photo: his-ski.com)

 

***

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup Otepää, Estonia Day 2 Individual Gundersen 10 k

On day two in Otepää, Riiber scored the most points off the jump hill and went on to win the 10 k individual Gundersen in 22:31.1 minutes. Germany’s Johannes Rydzek was second (+20.9) after placing third in the jump and beginning the ski with a 36-second deficit.

Japan’s Watabe, the eighth best jumper, placed third overall (+43.6). Watabe began the race 49 seconds back.

American Fletcher jumped to 40th and began the ski portion 2:34 minutes back. On his way to skiing the fastest time on the day, Fletcher reeled in 21 skiers to place 19th overall, 1:17.9 minutes off the leader. Loomis was the next best American in 34th (+2:31.0) after jumping to 36th place. Good placed 42nd (+3:07.1) and was the 37th best jumper Sunday. Shumate jumped to 49th and placed 47th (+4:39.4) after the ski.

Sunday Results

Overall World Cup Results after Otepää

FasterSkier will be running an article later in the week on U.S. women’s NoCo skier Tara Geraghty-Moats.

 

 

Lillehammer Triple goes to Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway sweeps the three-day Lillehammer Triple – winning all three events. (Photo: FISNordic Combined)

 

Day 1 of the Lillehammer Triple, a three-day series of Nordic Combined races in the storied Norwegian hamlet, began Friday and ran through Sunday.

On Day 1, Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber, after jumping to sixth place, won the men’s individual Gundersen 5-kilometer in a time of 12:45.7 minutes. Riiber made up a deficit of 47 seconds on the ski for the win. Fifth place jumper, Eric Frenzel of Germany lost to Riiber by 0.1 seconds, after starting the ski 44 seconds back. Third place went to the day’s best jumper, Austria’s Franz-Josef Rehrl. Rehrl finished 5.7 seconds back.

U.S. Nordic Combined Team member, Taylor Fletcher jumped and skied to 24th (+1:08.7). Fletcher jumped to 14th place and began the ski 1:13 minutes back. Also for the U.S., Ben Loomis was 49th (+2:45.0), Jasper Good 51st (+3:04.4).

On day two in Lillehammer, the International Ski Federation (FIS) brought back a mass start format for the first time in nearly a decade. Athletes went head-to-head Saturday morning in a 10 k skate. The first place skier earned zero points, all other skiers earned negative points based on their time back. Then, in the afternoon, only the top-50 skiers from the mass start began the jumping round. The athlete with the most points after the jumping round, wins the day.

Norway’s Riiber again won out. He placed fifth in the ski and scored enough points in the jump to accumulate 131.8 points. Frenzel placed second overall — he placed third in the ski and scored 123.7 total points. Germany’s Fabian Rießle placed third with 123.6 points. Rießle placed second in the mass start ski.

Fletcher finished in 39th. He skied to 40th place and had a total of 66.9 points after the jump. Good placed 45th overall; skiing to 50th and earning 56.5 points total.

Forty-seven athletes completed the competition, with three being disqualified.

The third day in Lillehammer was like groundhog day for Riiber and his competitors. The Norwegian made it a three-peat by scoring the highest during the jumping round and winning the cross-country portion of the day’s individual Gundersen 10 k. Riiber won the ski portion in 27:54.3 minutes to take the overall in the three-day competition.

Teammate Joergen Graabak was second (+35.8), and Germany’s Johannes Rydzek third (+36.6).

American Fletcher finished in 37th (+5:03.6). No other Americans were entered. 

Day 1 Results | Day 2 Results | Day 3 Results

Five Named to U.S. Nordic Combined Olympic Team

Thursday, January 25th, 2018

Bryan Fletcher will lead a team of five U.S. nordic combined skiers at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang. (Photo: U.S. Ski & Snowboard)

(Press release)

Olympic Trials winner Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, Colo.) will lead a team of five nordic combined skiers in PyeongChang. U.S. Ski & Snowboard today (Jan. 25) announced its selections for the 2018 U.S. Olympic Nordic Combined Team that will compete at the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018 beginning February 9. The selections will be confirmed by the United States Olympic Committee when it formally names Team USA this Friday (January 26).

Fletcher, a childhood cancer survivor who won his sport’s prestigious King’s Cup in 2011, earned his second Olympic Team spot as winner of the U.S. Olympic Team Trials Dec. 30. The remainder of the team qualified through World Cup and Continental Cup results.

“We are very happy we will have a full team at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games,” said Nordic Combined Coach Martin Bayer. “It’s a relatively young team with great chemistry between them and a group of highly motivated athletes.”

The opening is set for February 13 with two individual events and a team event on the Games program.

NBCUniversal will present more than 2,400 hours of coverage across NBC, NBCSN, CNBC, USA Network, NBCOlympics.com, and the NBC Sports app – the most ever for a Winter Olympics.

TEAM FACTS

Olympic Trials winner Bryan Fletcher is a childhood cancer survivor. As a young boy, ski jumping on Steamboat Springs’ Howelsen Hill was a vital distraction as he underwent treatment. 2018 is his second Olympics.

Brother Taylor Fletcher, who is known as one of his sport’s best cross country skiers, will be making his third Games appearance.

Four of the team members came out of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, with Ben Loomis from the Flying Eagles Ski Club in Eau Claire, Wis.

Ben Loomis was a silver medalist in the Youth Olympic Games in 2016 at Lillehammer, Norway.

2018 U.S. OLYMPIC NORDIC COMBINED TEAM

  • Ben Berend, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (6/29/1995)
  • Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (6/27/1986) *
  • Taylor Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (5/11/1990) *
  • Jasper Good, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (5/10/1996)
  • Ben Loomis, Eau Claire, Wis. (6/09/1998)

* Competed in past Olympics

Staff

Martin Bayer, Head nordic combined coach

 

QUOTES

Martin Bayer:

We are very happy we will have a full team at the 2018 Olympic Winter Games. It’s a relatively young team with great chemistry between them and a group of highly motivated athletes. Bryan Fletcher is the oldest and brings the most experience on the international stage. It’s Taylor Fletcher’s third Olympics and he’s known as one of the fastest cross country skiers in nordic combined. Ben Loomis is the youngest with strength coming from the ski jumping side but I’m sure he’ll sure he’ll surprise us in cross country. It’s also the first Olympics for Jasper Good who has been one of our most consistent athletes and has a great attitude that will serve him well.

 

Taylor Fletcher:

It is always a great honor to be representing my country and team at the sports highest level and I am very excited to be representing my country in my third Olympics. It wasn’t an easy road to get to the Olympics this year as I have had some struggles with jumping and have had some bad luck that made it challenging until the last weekend of qualifying. I would like to think I got that out of the way and I can focus now on performing at my highest level during the Games. The Olympics bring out the best from each athlete and no one will have it easy. That being said, with a good jump I feel like it is possible to have a chance at the medals. I am also really excited to be sharing this moment with my brother who will be competing in his second games. It is very unique that we get to share this moment together and fight for the medals together. Our entire team is looking forward to Korea and I am proud of each one of my teammates for their hard work and dedication to the sport!

 

Ben Loomis:

I am extremely honored to be heading to PyeongChang and representing our country. The Olympics are something I have always dreamed of and to go at such a young age is extremely exciting. For me, the Olympics will be all about the experience. I am hoping to take it all in and use this experience in future. I look forward to sharing my first Olympic experience with Jasper Good as well as veterans Bryan and Taylor Fletcher.

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

Germany’s Frenzel Takes Seefeld Triple Crown

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
Germany's Eric Frenzel (c) celebrates his 2017 Seefeld Triple victory on Sunday in Seefeld, Austria. German Johannes Rydzek (l) placed second, Austrian Bernhard Gruber (r) was third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined Twitter account)

Germany’s Eric Frenzel (c) celebrates his 2017 Seefeld Triple victory on Sunday in Seefeld, Austria. German Johannes Rydzek (l) placed second, Austrian Bernhard Gruber (r) was third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined/Twitter)

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup (Seefeld, Austria)

Seefeld, Seefeld, Seefeld. Last Friday through Sunday, Seefeld, Austria hosted the eponymous “Seefeld Triple” with three days of consecutive Nordic Combined World Cup competitions.

Day 1

Day 1 featured an individual normal hill/5 k. The top jumping spot went to Austrian Bernhard Gruber, with Italian Samuel Costa second and Germany’s Eric Frenzel third. Starting 19 seconds back in the ski portion was fifth-place jumper from Germany Johannes Rydzek.

The 5 k was decided in a photo finish, with Rydzek out-toeing Frenzel for the win— both were given the official time of 12:00.2. Costa, who started 4 seconds after Gruber, finished third (+6.8).

Three Americans contested the day: U.S Nordic Combined’s Bryan Fletcher was the highest ranked in 31st (+1:16.7). He had been 35th after the jump, and started the 5 k race 1:24 behind Gruber. Teammates Ben Berend and Taylor Fletcher jumped to 31st and 43rd, respectively, and Berend finished 37th (+1:42.9), while Taylor skied to 40th (+1:54.3) with the 10th fastest ski time of the day.

Day 2

When you’re good, you’re good. That was the case on Day 2 in the individual normal hill/10 k. These names will sound familiar. Rydzek jumped the furthest, with Gruber and Costa tied for second. Yet the difference in distance jumped by the top three was so minimal, they began the ski simultaneously. Frenzel was fourth after the jump and started the ski 4 seconds back.

Rydzek, who completed the 10 k in 24:36.5 minutes, took the win over Frenzel in another photo finish by 0.1 seconds. Costa was third (+11.3), Gruber fourth (+20.8).

Bryan Fletcher was the top American in 18th (+1:43.5). He started off by jumping to 30th, then started the 10 k race 2:11 minutes out of first. Fletcher skied the eighth-fastest time en route to the top 20. Taylor Fletcher ended up 36th (+3:21.5) after skiing the fourth-fastest ski time, moving up from 43rd in the jump. Berend jumped to 37th and finished 42nd (+4:10.5).

Day 3

On tap for Sunday’s Day 3 of the Seefeld Triple was an individual normal hill/15 k. Only the top 30 skiers after Day 2 qualified to contest Sunday’s competition, and that included American Bryan Fletcher. He jumped to 23rd on Sunday and finished the long weekend in 26th overall (+5:52.2). Fletcher’s time back is partially due to a lackluster jump which had him starting the ski 4:18 behind first-place jumper Rydzek.

Running down the names who led after Sunday’s jump was an exercise in redundancy: Rydzek in first, Gruber in second, a new name — Italian Mario Seidl — in third, Frenzel in fourth, Costa in fifth.

This time, no photo finish was required as Frenzel took the victory after two consecutive second places. He finished in 37:32.2 and put 30.5 seconds on Rydzek by the finish. Frenzel had started 20 seconds behind Rydzek.

Rydzek finished second overall (+30.5), Gruber was 1:18.6 back in third, Seidl fourth (+1:19.1), and Costa (+2:18.2) fifth.

Seefeld Triple Results:

Friday’s normal hill/5 k

Saturday’s normal hill/10 k

Sunday’s normal hill/15 k

— Jason Albert

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

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

Rydzek Wins; Bryan Fletcher 12th with Second-Fastest Time in Kuopio

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Bryan Fletcher racing to 36th at last weekend's Nordic Combined World Cup in Lahti, Finland. On Tuesday, he finished 12th in Kuopio, Finland. (Photo: JoJo Baldus)

Bryan Fletcher racing to 36th at last weekend’s Nordic Combined World Cup in Lahti, Finland. On Tuesday, he finished 12th in Kuopio, Finland. (Photo: JoJo Baldus)

On Tuesday, Nordic Combined filled what had been a 15-year void in Kuopio, Finland — it’s been that long since the venue hosted a World Cup event. The large hill/10 k Gundersen was a one-day affair slotted in between last weekend’s racing in Lahti, Finland, and this upcoming weekend’s three-day series in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Off the 127-meter jump, Japan’s Akito Watabe took the top jumping position, scoring 127.7 points. Håvard Klemetsen from Norway followed in second with 125.7 points, and German Manuel Faisst jumped to third with 121.2 points.

Improving on his jumping, U.S. Nordic Combined’s Bryan Fletcher scored 102 points, for 18th. Teammate Ben Berend jumped to 29th (93.5 points), and Taylor Fletcher 34th (86.2 points).

From the start, the ski race featured Watabe getting reeled in by former World Champion, German Johannes Rydzek. Having settled for fifth in the jump, and starting 34 seconds behind Watabe, Rydzek systematically closed the time gap around halfway through the ski. It was a Watabe-Rydzek sprint for the win, with Ryzdek taking the victory in 23:59.6.

Watabe placed second (+6.2), and Austria’s Wilhelm Denifl placed third (+35.4). World Cup overall leader, Eric Frenzel of Germany, placed seventh (+40.9).

Bryan Fletcher skied the second fastest time of the day, moving up six spots after the jump to finish 12th overall (+43.8). Taylor, with the fourth-fastest ski time, placed 25th (+156.5) while Berend finished 36th.

In an USSA press release, Bryan Fletcher said he was satisfied with his jump, which positioned him toward the front of the pack.

“Kuopio was a close one,” Bryan Fletcher said. “I jumped a lot better than last weekend and I was able to put myself in the race. The course was narrow and the pack was big, which made it a very tactical race. Coming into the final kilometers I had the legs to go but not the room to go. Ultimately it came down to a tough sprint for the line. After last weekend I am happy to be 12th, but I was hoping for a little more.”

Racing continues Friday in Val di Fiemme, Italy, before the final World Cup in Schonach, Germany, March 4-6.

Jumping results | Final results

— Jason Albert

Frenzel Tops His Coach with 29 Wins; Bryan Fletcher 17th in Trondheim (Updated)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

(Note: This post has been updated to include quotes from Bryan Fletcher.)

On Wednesday’s Nordic Combined World Cup round in Trondheim, Norway, Overall World Cup leader, Germany’s Eric Frenzel, jumped and skied himself into the record books. The day’s large hill/10 k Gundersen start, was the second of two consecutive days of races in Trondheim. On day one, Frenzel placed third overall.

With his 29th World Cup victory on Wednesday, Frenzel becomes the second-winningest Nordic Combined World Cup skier. He now has one more win than his jumping coach, compatriot Ronny Ackerman. Finnish skier Hannu Manninen sits in first for most overall wins, with 48 victories.

Skiers began the day flying off Trondheim’s 140-meter large hill. Japan’s Akito Watabe, second overall on the Nordic Combined World Cup, maintained his jumping prowess by placing first off the hill. He scored 137.2 points, while in second place, Frenzel scored 130.5. Norway’s Håvard Klemetsen jumped to third, with 127.4 points.

The U.S. Nordic Combined Team had two athletes in the competition. Bryan Fletcher jumped to 30th, brother Taylor Fletcher, was tied for 40th.

Watabe began the 10 k ski with a 27-second advantage on Frenzel. That margin proved futile for the Japanese star. Around 6 k, Frenzel had reeled Watabe in. Frenzel crossed the finish line in 24:28.5. Watabe, skiing to second, finished 15.9 seconds back. Norway’s Jørgen Graabak skied to third overall (+57.8), after flying to 11th on his jump.

Bryan Fletcher, starting in 30th place, 2:55 behind Watabe, skied the eighth-fastest ski time, moving up to 17th overall (+2:03.1). Taylor, starting in bib 40, moved up thirteen spots, to 27th overall (+2:35.5). He skied the seventh-fastest ski time.

In an email, Bryan Fletcher wrote he hopes for a strong surge towards the end of the season. “I do believe I am not far away from being in the top 10 consistently.”

Bryan remains a force on the ski side of the NoCo equation. “Usually I am one of the fastest guys on the circuit.  Today I was 8th fastest, yesterday I was 5th fastest. Oslo I was 9th and in Seefeld, I was top 3 all three days with a fastest time on the 3rd day,” he wrote.

As a team, although they have had breakthrough moments, they have not experienced the type of success off the jumping hill  as they have on the skate skis. Bryan explained he’s looking to get a bit more distance from his jumps to compliment his already world class skiing speed.

“Jumping is a tough sport and no matter how good you are there is always something to fine tune,” Bryan wrote.  “Commonly we speak a lot about getting the hips moving upwards while keeping the chest low in order to keep speed over the knoll. But that is only a small part of jumping.  Honestly you could spend an entire year speaking to coaches, standing on the coaches stand, and talking to the athletes and you would only just start to understand what makes a good jump versus a bad one.  Obviously there is more than one style of good jumping and when it works, it works, and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

“The last 3 years we have focused more and more on jumping but the one thing we do have dialed is the XC racing.”

Nordic Combined racing continues next week on Feb. 19 in Lahti, Finland.

Jumping Results | Overall results

 

— Jason Albert