Steamboat’s Fletcher 11th at Junior Worlds in Germany |

Steamboat’s Fletcher 11th at Junior Worlds in Germany

Luke Graham

Taylor Flet­cher

Taylor Flet­cher

— Steamboat Springs Olympian Taylor Fletcher led the way for the U.S. team at the FIS Junior Nordic World Championships today in Hinterzarten, Germany.

Fletcher, who was recently named to his first Olympic team, came from 40th after jumping to finish 11th.

Marjan Jelenko of Slovenia won. Fletcher had skied the second-fastest 10-kilometer time, and with a jump of just four more meters, he would have found himself on the podium.

Park City, Utah's Nick Hendrickson finished 15th after jumping 45th. Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club member Michael Ward had a tough day jumping, but went from 60th to 42nd with the 15th-fastest cross-country time.

Steamboat's Brett Denney struggled and did not finish.

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Fletcher, Hendrickson and Ward will be joined by Cliff Field for the final event Sunday, a 5-kilometer Nordic combined team competition.

Dierdorff qualifies for Snowboard X finals

Steamboat Springs snowboarder Mick Dierdorff qualified today for Saturday's Snowboard X finals at X Games 14 in Aspen.

Dierdorff, fresh off multiple World Cup starts, qualified in 16th place. The top 24 riders advance to the 2 p.m. finals Saturday.

Dierdorff's run of 1 minute, 38.864 seconds was good enough to get him into the finals. Seth Westcott was the top rider in 1:34.384. Nate Holland (1:34.837) and Graham Watanabe (1:35.434) rounded out the top three.

Dierdorff was one of the first competitors to go and didn't have time to get his board ready. He said the early going of the race was slow, but also said it was "my favorite course I've ever ridden."

"I mean, I want to make it all the way to the finals," he said. "I want to get on that podium. That's my ultimate goal. Heat by heat and race by race.

"For me, it's focusing on my own riding. It's not worrying whether I'm behind or ahead."

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