This last weekend was packed with action: Ski Flying World Championships in Oberstdorf, Germany, World Cup action in Zao, Japan, the first ever Women’s Nordic Combined Continental Cup in Norway, the US Cup at Silver Mine in Eau Claire, WI, and more. USA Nordic was busy.
Many of the Men’s Ski Jumping team were in Oberstdorf for the 2018 Ski Flying World Championships. Kevin Bickner had another good weekend, beginning with a qualification jump of 201 meters, which was enough to qualify him in 21st position. He was joined in the comp by teammate Michael Glasder, who was also able to qualify in 38th, while Will Rhoads just missed the cut in 42nd.
The format was different from a World Cup, with four jumps being totaled over two days for the overall results. Kevin was consistent on the first day, ending up in 22nd after the first two jumps in the two day format. Again, Mike found himself in 38th position. Kevin again skied well on day two, recording first round jump of 181 meters, but, unfortunately, the fourth and final round was cancelled due to weather. Kevin finished in 24th, tying his best result of the season, while Glasder finished the weekend in 38th. Next up for the Men’s World Cup are two individual competitions in Zakopane, Poland.
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Our Women’s Ski Jumping team kicked off the weekend early on Thursday with qualification for World Cup in Zao, Japan. Nita Englund, Sarah Hendrickson, Tara Geraghty-Moats, and Abby Ringquist all made the trip for the second stop on a whirlwind tour. Sarah had the top result on Friday, finishing 35th, her best international result of the season. On Saturday, the women competed in their second-ever World Cup team event, finishing in 7th. It was an improvement for the women over their first team event, earlier this year, where they finished 8th. On Sunday, the final day of competition, Sarah was again the top US skier ending the day in 36th. Nita finished just behind her in 37thh, Abby finished 44th, and Tara finish 46th. Now the women are back in Slovenia for training before entering the World Cup’s in Ljubno, Slovenia this weekend, a hill they should know very well.
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On the Men’s Ski Jumping Continental Cup we saw some improvement from all of our athletes. Weather caused the weekend to be condensed into one day of competitions, with the first being held on Saturday morning and the second held on the same evening. Casey Larson was the top American in both competitions, finishing 20th in the morning competition and improving to 17th for the evening competition. AJ Brown had his best results of the season so far, finishing 33rd in the morning and 38th in the evening, as did Nick Mattoon who recorded a 36th place in the morning and a 43rd place finish in the evening.
The Nordic Combined World Cup team was in Chaux-Neuve, France over the weekend for an individual event as well as a team event. Ben Loomis continued his strong season, finishing 37th, right in the middle of a seven-way sprint. Stephen Schumann had a solid day, recording a 45th place finish in only the third World Cup of his career, with Ben Berend right behind him in 46th. On Sunday, Ben, Ben, and Stephen were joined by Jasper Good for a 4-man team event. The young US team placed 11th, just a few seconds behind Russia and a top ten finish.
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Taylor Fletcher put up the best results of the season on the Men’s Nordic Combined Continental Cup tour in Rena, Norway. On Saturday, after jumping to 25th, Taylor was able to move all the way into 4th place, skiing the second fastest time and finishing just a second from the podium. Adam Loomis had a good race, finishing 33rd overall, while Grant Andrews and Jared Shumate both had solid days, finishing 41st and 43rd, respectively. On day two, everyone from the US team saw some improvement. Taylor led the way, finishing 3rd and recording his first trip to the podium since 2015. Adam found himself back in the top 30 after another good race, finishing 29th. And Grant and Jared both improved on their second day with Grant finishing 37th and Jared coming in close behind in 40th.
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(Photo Credit – Romina Eggert)
And in perhaps our most exciting competitions of the weekend, Gabby Armstrong became the first US skier ever to ski in the first Women’s Nordic Combined Continental Cup. Gabby recorded a 12th place in the inaugural event on Saturday, which marks a huge and much needed step forward for the sport of Nordic Combined. On Sunday, Gabby was able to improve upon her historic result, finishing 11th and setting the standard for US Women in Nordic Combined. It was a great moment in sport and we are proud that Gabby was able to represent her club, her country, and, of course, USA Nordic. Way to go Gabby!
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(Photo Credit – Romina Eggert)
As many of you know, this is a big week for USA Nordic. Olympic team announcements are scheduled to be made on Thursday, January 25th. We know that many of you are on the edge of your seats to see what the final teams will be and we are as excited to make the announcements as you are. With that being said, we are proud of all of our athletes, regardless of their status as Olympians, past, present, or future. The Olympics may be two weeks, every four years, but USA Nordic and our athletes are striving for our best every day, every week, and every year. Good luck to all!
Go USA Nordic!