Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club Nordic combined skier Davis Miller will head toward this weekend's World Cup B competition knowing he can jump as well as the U.S. Ski Team members he so desperately wants to catch.
But he also realized his ninth-place overall finish after Saturday's 7.5-kilometer cross-country race means there is still work to do.
"I guess last weekend's event let me know that my jumping is up to par," Miller said on Monday. "It also let me know that I need to step it up on the cross-country course."
Miller combined jumps of 94.7 meters and 95.2 meters to score 237.2 points in Saturday's meet. The performance gave him the highest point total among special jumpers. He was followed by Winter Sports Club teammate Logan Gerber and Intermountain division skier Anders Johnson.
The points also ranked Miller second in the Nordic combined field behind Italian jumper Giusepe Michielle, who dominated Saturday's Nordic combined performance.
Michielle led the jumping, with his one and only effort of 94.5 meters earning him 115.2 points. He also posted the fifth fastest cross-country time of the day en route to winning the event.
Michielle didn't factor in the special-jumping results because the Italians limited their efforts to the first round of jumping, which was used to seed the 7.5-kilometer cross-country race for the sprint event.
Michielle led a 1-2 Italian finish as teammate Jochen Strobl placed second, just 29 seconds back. American Brett Camerota, who was sixth after the jumping, posted the second fastest cross-country time of the day to move into third place, and teammate Carl Van Loan moved up one spot to fourth overall.
Eric Camerota, who posted the third fastest cross-country time of the day, finished fifth.
But Davis Miller and his brother, Alex, who was third in the Nordic combined standings after the jumping event, both struggled on the cross-country course and lost ground.
After an impressive showing on the jump, Davis Miller fell to ninth, 1:37 behind the leaders, and Alex Miller finished 1:45 back in 10th place.
Despite the drop in the overall results, both skiers are optimistic headed into this weekend's World Cup B events.
"I'm just hoping to jump as well as I did last week and then hold on in the cross-country race," Davis Miller said.
His brother echoed his sentiments and also is hoping for another strong showing on the jump hill and improvement on the cross-country course.
"I'm not really sure what happened to Davis in the cross country," Steamboat Winter Sports Club Coach Chris Gilbertson said. "He's been doing the work, so it was really surprising. He said he just didn't feel right during the race, but we haven't really been able to pinpoint it."
The coach is excited about his skiers' chances this week during the World Cup B events at Howelsen Hill.
Alex Miller and Davis Miller proved they could compete with the members of the American team during the winter start event.
Gilbertson also is hoping that teammates Bryan Fletcher, who was 11th on Saturday; Taylor Fletcher, who was 16th; Brett Denny, who was 20th; and Charlie Stoddard, who was 22nd; can earn top results and World Cup points.
"These are big events for these young skiers," Gilbertson said. "It's a chance to ski with U.S. Ski Team and earn world-ranking points."
-- To reach John F. Russell, call 871-4209
or e-mail email@example.com