By: Will Rhoads, USA Ski Jumping
Since this is the first update of the summer for me, we will start from the beginning of the summer season. Our season started in Park City back in June. Despite having a smaller team than in years past, we all knew this was a very motivated and talented group capable of achieving a lot in the upcoming years. This was apparent from the beginning of July when Mackenzie and Kevin were both in the Top-6 of an elite Continental Cup field in Kranj, Slovenia. After their awesome results, they brought a lot of positive momentum back to Park City for Springer Tournee at the end of July. The Springer Tournee competitions on both the K90 and K120 were at the highest level that I can remember in a domestic event. Everyone seemed to be raising the bar every day in training, and we knew that both of the competitions would take very good jumps to come out on top. Mackenzie took the win on the small hill, while I was able to win the following day on the K120. Both competitions were very exciting, with two jumps past 100 meters on the K90, and six jumps past 130 meters on the K120! Kevin and Mackenzie continued their hot-streaks the following weekend in a Grand Prix in Switzerland, placing 8th and 14th, respectively. The 8th place was a career best for Kevin at a World Cup level competition! Now they are both on their way to Japan for another stop in the Grand Prix this weekend.
The junior team also recently had a FIS Cup and Continental Cup double header in Kuopio, Finland. This means that they had four competitions over the course of four days on what is always a very difficult jump hill. Casey Larson led the way for our team with some nice results, including his first career Continental Cup points at only 17 years old! Now, some of that team will be heading back to Slovenia to join Mike Glasder for more training and Continental Cups.
As for me, I have been dealing with a very tricky broken bone in my left wrist since the last week in June. I was able to train and compete with a splint for sometime, however I learned in Mid-August that the healing was not going as planned and I had to undergo surgery to properly repair it. I have not been able to head back to Europe and compete as quickly as I would have liked to. A test of my patience for sure, however I am confident that I will be back on the hill soon.
I am planning on going back over to Slovenia at the beginning of September to meet up with the team and pick up where I left off. When permitted to jump, I have been pleased with my progress and (few) results so far this summer. Winning my second National Championship was a dream come true; I felt very satisfied walking away with the win knowing how difficult the event was. Overall, I am really happy with the progress everyone is making on the team. I’m looking forward to what the last six weeks of summer competition have in store and what we can do in preparation for a successful winter season!