Fletcher top 10 as U.S. Nordic combined shows well in Germany

Joel Reichenberger

— It was a welcome weekend for the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team last weekend, the best the squad has enjoyed this season.

Bryan Fletcher grabbed his second top-10 World Cup finish this winter, placing ninth in an individual event Sunday at Schonach, Germany.

Perhaps even more relieved for the team, he competed in that race with teammates.

Taylor Fletcher finished 24th and Ben Berend 46th. For Taylor, it was the first time this season he jumped well enough in a provisional jumping round to earn a spot in the individual competition. For Berend, it was his first official individual World Cup start.

“I was really excited to see both Taylor and Ben qualify this weekend,” Bryan Fletcher said in a press release. “Ben skied tough for his first World Cup start as a junior. All of USA Nordic Combined is looking forward to building on this momentum.”

Both Fletchers recorded fast days on their skis. Bryan skied up from 33rd to ninth, recording the day’s third fastest ski time. He started the race 1 minute, 25 seconds back and ended up within sight of the day’s winner, Austria’s Lukas Klapfer, who finished 14.5 seconds ahead.

“The comp was a hard one. The rains (Saturday) made the conditions today on the cross country course very difficult. It was very soft in places, hard in others and tons of death cookie ice balls on some of the hills made the cross country portion a leg burner,” he said. “After the jumping, I was in a good spot with strong guys around me. I knew that there was potential to move up a lot in the cross country. I felt like I skied a great race, posting the third fastest time and was very happy to add another top ten to my results sheet this season.”

Bryan had the third fastest time, and Taylor had the second, moving up from 49th place to finish 24th.

Berend actually had the team’s best jump in competition, landing him 28th. He couldn’t hang in the cross country ski race, however, and slid to the back of the pack, 46th.

The previous day both Fletcher, Berend and Adam Loomis teamed up to finish seventh in a relay event.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email or follow him on Twitter @JReich9

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