Steamboat Springs Bryan Fletcher and Davis Miller returned from Lake Placid last weekend excited to resume training for the upcoming Nordic combined season and armed with the knowledge they still have some work to do.
"The results were a little disappointing," Steamboat coach Chris Gilbertson said. "But we are getting closer."
The two Steamboat Springs Nordic combined skiers competed in the Flaming Leaves meet in Lake Placid Saturday. The Nordic combined event featured two jumps off the plastic-covered K-90 jump and an 8.5-kilometer running race for the cross country portion of the event.
Miller jumped to 14th place off the jumps at the meet and then improved his position to 10th in the run that followed the jumping.
Fletcher was sitting in ninth after the jumping round but elected not to take part in the running race. He is battling knee problems and didn't want to aggravate his condition.
"Bryan showed improvement all week," Gilbertson said. "We just were not quite where we needed to be to get to that next level."
U.S. Nordic combined development skier Morgan Goodwin won the event. Goodwin was second after the jumping and then posted the fifth-fastest running time. That was enough to win the event. Skyler Keate won the jumping portion but slipped to 12th in the final results after a disappointing running portion.
Geoffery Howe used the running race to move past a couple of competitors en route to placing second just 22 seconds behind the winner.
Brett Camerota was third and Steamboat's Alex Glueck was fourth.
Steamboat's Adam Schwall (a member of the U.S. Nordic Combined Team) was seventh.
For the members of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club, the Flaming Leaves competition marked the end of the summer training season. Gilbertson said he had four athletes who trained throughout the summer but only Davis and Fletcher attended the New York meet.
In fact, the local team only competed in four competitions all summer the final one in Lake Placid was one of the largest.
Gilbertson said the skiers also competed in a Continental Cup in Park City several weeks ago, but that event was more about gaining experience than it was about posting top results.
"We had some really poor wind, so I'm not too concerned about the jumping results," Gilbertson said. "Our skiers made some great improvements during the week, and that was all that was important."
The coach said the summer meets are important in terms of training but will not impact the skiers in terms of the U.S. Ski Team. The athlete's on-snow results in the next few months will be far more important.
The Steamboat skiers will begin the process of fall training this month and will not return to competition until Thanksgiving.
That's when the athletes will take part in a World Cup B qualifier in Park City. That event will determine which skiers compete in a North American run (that includes Steamboat) in December.