Steamboat Springs It was nail-biting time last weekend for Steamboat Springs Nordic combined skier Alex Miller as he set about making the cut for World Cup B events in Steamboat Dec. 13-15.
"If he was nervous, we really didn't talk about it," coach Chris Gilbertson said. "I think he went into it with the attitude that if he jumped well, then it would happen if he didn't, then it didn't really matter."
Miller finished 14th for the three-event qualifying series and earned the final spot.
"I would have been disappointed, but it wouldn't have been the end of the world," the young jumper said. "It was a good weekend. I jumped better than I ever have and I was happy with my cross country. It's nice to have made the cut I wanted to ski with my brother."
Alex Miller admits he didn't think about where he was in the standings during the competition, so he never really got too nervous.
"We had 16 spots, but when Nathan Gerhart and Jed Hinkley come back from World Cup A, that means we really only had 14 spots, " Gilbertson said.
After all was said and done last Sunday, several other local jumpers were among those who had qualified to compete in the North American run of the World Cup B, which will have stops in both Steamboat Springs and Park City, Utah, this month.
The top local qualifier was Alex Glueck, who finished second in the field of qualifiers. He was beat out by Brett Camerota, who won last Saturday's event and was also second in Sunday's competition.
The Utah skier may be one of the hottest Nordic combined skiers headed into the first period of the World Cup B. His brother Eric also had solid showings in all three events and finished fourth in overall standings.
Other top Steamboat Springs skiers included Bryan Fletcher, who qualified sixth, Adam Schwall, who was eighth, Davis Miller, who took the 11th slot, Marshall Ambros in the No. 12 position and Ethan Johnson at No. 13.
"It was good for us," Gilbertson said of the World Cup B qualifiers. "We accomplished everything we set out to do. Every skier who made an effort to make the cut made it."
Fourteen-year-old Skyler Keate led both rounds of jumping. Former Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club member Logan Gerber was second both days and is in a good position to qualify for the Continental Cup which is reserved for special jumpers.
In the first event on Saturday, Camerota came from a fourth-place finish in the jumping round to win the race in the cross country portion. He was 28 seconds better than Steamboat's Glueck and a full 1:20 better than third-place finisher Morgan Goodwin. Schwall was ninth in the standings, and Johnson came in 10th.
In the second event, which took place Sunday, Goodwin jumped to fourth place on the large hill at Howelsen but rallied to win the event along the cross country course. Camerota jumped to second place in that event and held onto the slot in the cross country portion of the event.
Glueck was third on Sunday, Schwall was sixth and Johnson was 10th.
Gilbertson said Fletcher, who was seventh Saturday and 11th on Sunday, didn't have a great jumping weekend.
He said the pair went over video earlier this week and the coach thinks the problem will be easy to fix.
"I expect him to be very competitive when the World Cup B comes to town," Gilbertson said.