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Fletcher leads team in Utah

Continental Cup results

1 — David Pommer, Austria, 26:15.3

2 — Bernhard Flaschberger, Austria, +00:00.2

3 — Taylor Fletcher, USA, +00:37.0

10 — Michael Ward, USA, +01:44.2

12 — Ben Berend, USA, +01:46.6

13 — Jasper Good, USA, +01:58.4

16 — Ben Loomis, USA, +02:12.6

25 — Stephen Schumann, USA, +03:56.5

32 — Koby Vargas, USA, +06:59.4

— The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team took the first step Friday toward realizing one of the primary goals it has for three days of Continental Cup Nordic combined competition in Park City, Utah.

Continental Cup results

1 — David Pommer, Austria, 26:15.3

2 — Bernhard Flaschberger, Austria, +00:00.2



3 — Taylor Fletcher, USA, +00:37.0

10 — Michael Ward, USA, +01:44.2



12 — Ben Berend, USA, +01:46.6

13 — Jasper Good, USA, +01:58.4

16 — Ben Loomis, USA, +02:12.6

25 — Stephen Schumann, USA, +03:56.5

32 — Koby Vargas, USA, +06:59.4

It was Steamboat Springs-born Taylor Fletcher who helped take that step, too, finishing third on the first day of competition.

“It was alright,” he said. “It was just an average day, but it’s good just to get on the podium. That for sure helps us out.”

Nations that have a skier finish in the top three of a cumulative standings from all three events earn an extra spot on the World Cup circuit, and that could be hugely important for a United States team eager to introduce new, young talent to the sport’s highest level.

Fletcher, home from Europe on an off-weekend for the World Cup, logged the day’s 14th-best jump, then skied up to challenge for the lead, closing at one point to within five seconds. He said he developed a pain in his side, a side stitch, as he skied on, however, and that slowed him as the 10-kilometer race wore on.

“I couldn’t do anything about it,” he said. “I was trying to limit my losses. I had a good shot at the win today, but I let it slip away.”

Austria had two skiers sweep the top spots. David Pommer took first, skiing up from sixth with the fourth-fastest ski time to win over Bernhard Flaschberger in an incredibly tight finishing, 0.2 seconds.

Fletcher was 37 seconds back but at the front of a strong showing by other U.S. skiers.

Michael Ward was 10th, Ben Berend 12th, Jasper Good 13th, Ben Loomis 16th, Stephen Schumann 25th and Koby Vargas 32nd.

The athletes will be back at the jumps for the second competition Saturday morning.

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


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