16th Springer Tournee draws premier Nordic combined athletes in North America | SteamboatToday.com

16th Springer Tournee draws premier Nordic combined athletes in North America

Bryan Fletcher (middle) won the senior men's Nordic combined competition at last weekend's 16th Annual Springer Tournee, beating out brother Taylor Fletcher and Brett Denney, who represented a one-two-three Steamboat finish.
Courtesy Photo

16th annual Springer Tournee results

Ski jumping

U12 girls HS-20

1 Tess Arnone

2 Tinsley Wilkinson

U12 boys Hs-20

1 Eric Belshaw

2 Gunner Gilbertson

U14 girls HS-42

3 Annika Belshaw

U14 boys HS-42

3 Bennett Gamber

U16 boys HS-68

2 Davis Petersen

3 Decker Dean

5 Elijah Vargas

U18 girls HS-68

2 Logan Sankey

U20 girls HS-100

7 Logan Sankey

Nordic combined

U12 girls

1 Tess Arnone

3 Tinsley Wilkinson

U12 boys

2 Gunner Gilbertson

3 Eric Belshaw

U14 girls

1 Annika Belshaw

U14 boys

1 Bennett Gamber

U16 boys

3 Decker Dean

4 Elijah Vargas

U18 girls

2 Melissa Requist

U18 boys

3 Grant Andrews

4 Finn O'Connell

U20 men

1 Jasper Good

2 Nicholas Madden

Senior men

1 Bryan Fletcher

2 Taylor Fletcher

3 Brett Denney

5 Ben Berend

U.S. Large Hill Nationals

2 Nita Englund (women)

6 Bryan Fletcher (men)

T7 Ben Berend (men)

— The annual Springer Tournee — a week-long event for Nordic combined and special jumping athletes — for years has been a premier summer destination for clubs nationwide, facilitating everyone from the youngest skiers and jumpers to those gearing up for the world’s biggest stages.

For 16 years now, the Park City, Utah, competition has evolved, growing from a competition to a jam-packed camp, attracting just about every Nordic combined athlete and ski jumper in the United States and Canada.

But in recent seasons, the Springer Tournee has become so much more, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic Director Todd Wilson said.

“The coaches got together a few years ago and we thought it was a good time to have good contact with the national team,” Wilson said. “We’ve also integrated parent meetings and seminars. We usually meet as a group of coaches and talk about current events and hot topics. It’s grown into more than just a competition. It’s something you don’t want to miss.”

From July 28 through Aug. 3, Nordic combined and ski jumping up-and-comers got one-on-one time with national team members and coaches. Athletes also were put through benchmark physical testing, Wilson said, in an effort to collect data on individual clubs to give students of the sport an accurate look at where they stand in their training regimen.

“It’s grown and grown and now it’s like the one time a year that anybody and everybody in the sport in North America tries to make,” Wilson said. “This is the biggest event.”

The tail end of the week mostly was focused on competitions. Twenty-four of the 150 athletes represented in Park City were with the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, and they posted promising results across all age groups.

Tess Arnone (152.2 points) and Tinsley Wilkinson (111.1 points) took one-two in the U12 Girls HS-20 special jumping section Aug. 1.

The same went for Eric Belshaw and Gunner Gilbertson in the U12 boys HS-20 special jumping competition, also Aug. 1. Of the 12-athlete pool, Belshaw bested all others with 187.9 points, narrowly edging Gilbertson’s 187.2 points.

Annika Belshaw took third in the U14 HS-42 special jumping, and Bennett Gamber also took bronze on the U14 boys HS-42, both on Aug. 1.

On the U16 boys HS-68, Davis Petersen took second place, Decker Dean grabbed third and Elijah Vargas was fifth. Logan Sankey took the silver podium spot on the U18 girls HS-68, and followed it up with a seventh-place finish in the older U20 girls HS-100 special jumping competition.

In the Nordic combined competitions later on in the weekend, Arnone and Wilkinson were at it again, with Arnone winning the U12 girls and Wilkinson taking third.

Gilbertson and Eric Belshaw took two-three in the U12 boys Nordic combined section. Gilbertson finished just one second behind winner Stephane Tremblay.

Annika Belshaw was the lone competitor in U14 girls Nordic combined. Gamber won the U14 boys section by 35 seconds in a 10-athlete pool.

Dean and Vargas were third and fourth, respectively, in the U16 boys competition, finishing 13 seconds apart behind a pair or Park City athletes.

Melissa Requist was second in the U18 girls two-athlete class, and Grant Andrews and Finn O’Connell finished third and fourth in the 18 boys section.

In the U20 men’s class, Jasper Good and Nicholas Madden beat out Central’s Somer Schrock, finishing just 12 seconds apart and pulling away from Schrock by more than a minute.

In the senior men’s division, Olympians and USA Nordic combined skiers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher were the top-two finishers, with Bryan winning by nearly a minute and a half. Steamboat’s Bretty Denney, a USA team member, was third and Winter Sports Club’s Ben Berend was fifth.

Sunday also featured the US Large Hill Men’s and Ladies championships.

Nita Englund took second out of nine jumpers with 198.3 points. On the men’s side, Bryan Fletcher was sixth and Berend tied for seventh.

“I was pleased with the results,” Wilson said Thursday. “The biggest thing I look at as the director of the program is where do we have gaps? Do we have kids competitive in each age group, or are we missing it somewhere? I think we have some good, consistent results from the seniors to the youngest kids. That was encouraging to see.”

Currently, five Winter Sports Club ski jumping and Nordic combined U18 and U20 athletes are in Central Europe for four weeks of training and competition, something the club has been doing for about eight years now.

Grant Andrews, Jasper Good, Nicholas Madden, Koby Vargas and Nathanial Mah will hit four European venues with two competitions in between with SSWSC coach Martin Bayer guiding them along.

The five will return home Sept. 1, the day before Winter Sports Club fall training begins. The next big competition is the weekend of Oct. 10 in Lake Placid, New York, the site of the normal hill and Nordic combined national championships.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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