Junior Olympics under way

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— Paul Berry and Bryan Fletcher became the first Steamboat Springs skiers to discover gold in the hills of Minnesota this week.

The pair teamed up on Wednesday afternoon to win the J-2 Nordic Combined Team Sprint the first event of the ski jumping and Nordic combined Junior Olympics, which are taking place all this week in Coleraine.

Fletcher and Berry jumped to fourth place in the team jump finishing behind the Central Division's No. 1 team and two guest squads from Canada.

But the two local skiers picked up 22 seconds on the top teams in the cross country race and took the gold medal in the first Junior Olympic event of the championships.

Steamboat Springs coach Gary Crawford said he had expected Fletcher to jump well this week because he has been all season. But Crawford said that Berry, who has been struggling slightly on the jump hill this season, has come to life in the Minnesota air.

"Paul seems to be peaking in the right place and at the right time," Crawford said.

The Eastern Division team of Matt Delaney and Willy Graves and the Intermountain team of Logan Oxford and Skylar Keate followed Berry and Fletcher in the final standings.

The Rocky Mountain Division also got top finishes out of Andreas Aalbu and Andy Garder, who took sixth place. The team of Taylor Fletcher and Niels Mork placed seventh.

In the J-1 Nordic combined team event, Eastern Division skiers Marshall Ambros and Jonathan Kling took top honors.

Steamboat's Alex and Davis Miller teamed up to take the silver medal in the event.

Third place went to Trevor Keate and Brenna Ellis of the Inter-

mountain Division.

The Junior Olympic Championships continued on Thursday with the Special Jumping team event.

This weekend, the skiers will compete in the individual events at the Mount Itasca Ski Complex, which is located in Coleraine.

More than 75 ski jumpers and Nordic combined athletes are competing in the Junior Olympics, which will run through Saturday.

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