Park City, Utah – The Park City FIS Continental Cup concluded on Sunday after a weekend full of competition, filled with great performances and personal bests from USA Nordic Sport athletes.
Saturday’s action started with the 10km Mass Start race at Soldier Hollow for Men’s Nordic Combined. Taylor Fletcher came away with a dominant 1st place finish, as he completed the course with a time of 24:14.4, +25.5 seconds ahead of Germany’s Jakob Lange in 2nd. Stephen Schumann was the next USA Nordic athlete to finish, coming in 7th place with a time of 25:46.3, followed close behind by Ben Loomis in 8th (25:49.7). Jared Shumate then finished in 10th (26:12.8), followed by Jasper Good in 12th (26:39.0), Grant Andrews in 14th (27:37.9), and Gunnar Gilbertson in 16th (28:05.0).
The stage was then set for the Men’s Nordic Combined Normal Hill jumping round at the Utah Olympic Park. With a distance of 86.0 (116.5 pts), Taylor Fletcher was then able to cement his 1st place overall finish, as Germany’s David Mach finished 2nd overall with a 89.0 meter jump (111.8 pts). Ben Loomis and Jared Shumate were also able to reach the podium, as Loomis jumped his way into 3rd place with the longest jump of the day at 91.5 meters (107.8 pts). Shumate rounded out the podium with a 6th place finish, as he carded an 86.5 meter jump (93.6 pts).
“I was thrilled to grab the victory in Saturday’s mass start, this format is traditionally challenging, as it can favor the jumpers,” said Fletcher. “I was able to put together a very strong cross-country race to give myself a large buffer for the jumping round, where I needed to have a decent jump in order to take the win. I managed to have a great jump, ending the day with a victory in front of my friends and family. It was nice to share the podium with my teammates Ben Loomis and Jared Shumate. It was a great day for USA Nordic, and I’m excited to see what these guys can do in the future.”
Saturday then concluded with the Women’s Ski Jumping Normal Hill competition, as USA Nordic athletes showed out in dominant fashion, taking five out of the six top spots. Logan Sankey was able to come away with her first-ever Continental Cup victory, as she notched jumps of 84.0 and 91.0 meters for 221.8 points. Nina Lussi was close behind in 2nd place with jumps of 84.0 and 87.5 meters (220.0 pts), followed by a personal-best 3rd place finish by Paige Jones as she jumped to 83.0 and 86.0 meters (217.0 pts). Anna Hoffmann and Annika Belshaw rounded out the pack, with Hoffmann jumping 81.0 and 89.5 meters (214.6 pts) for a personal-best 4th place finish, and Belshaw 80.0 meters (192.2 pts) for both jumps as she came away with the 6th place finish.
“This was my last competition weekend of the season, and to end it strongly with my first-ever COC win was a dream,” said Sankey. “There’s always a lot of ups and downs in Ski Jumping, so I was really proud and happy to end this season on a high note. I also want to say a huge thank you to all of the coaches, staff, and volunteers who put the event together. Conditions were really tough this weekend, and we were so lucky to have an awesome hill crew and volunteers to pull off a great event.”
Sunday’s competition at the Utah Olympic Park got off to a rough start, as inclement weather and wind canceled the Men’s Nordic Combined Ski Jumping Normal Hill round. After many delays, Women’s Ski Jumping was then able to push through and hold their final Normal Hill competition of the weekend. Annika Belshaw was able to best her performance from Saturday’s competition, as she finished in 5th place with jumps of 77.0 and 81.5 meters (154.0 pts). Paige Jones rounded off the podium, as she finished in 6th place, jumping 77.0 and 86.0 meters (144.8 pts).
Men’s Nordic Combined then closed out the weekend with the 10km Gunderson race at Soldier Hollow. Due to the jumping round being canceled Sunday morning, the start list for the 10km was decided from the men’s PCR round on Friday. Ben Loomis started things off in first place, with Austria’s Manual Einkemmer in second +00:16, and Jared Shumate in third place at +00:22. Shumate was then able to finish 4th overall, as he finished the course in 25:34.9, +00:28.1 behind Germany’s Jakob Lange in 1st place. Taylor Fletcher was then able to climb the ranks after starting the race in 16th place (+1:43), as he finished 6th overall with the second fastest course time of the day at 24:25.6.
“It was a great weekend bringing back the FIS Nordic Combined COC tour, and incredible to host the first Women’s FIS Continental Cup since 2009,” said Executive Director Bill Demong. “Thank you to all of the UOLF staff and volunteers at Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow for putting this event on.”