Spillane, Demong continue to roll in Finland


— The U.S. Nordic combined World Cup team continued its hot start during the second day of competition in Kuusamo, Finland, on Saturday.

A day after Steamboat Springs' Johnny Spillane finished second and Billy Demong finished seventh, the two again finished in the top 10 of Saturday's one jump, 7.5-kilometer sprint event.

This time, Demong finished third, and Spillane finished sixth.

Germany's Bjoern Kircheisen finished first with a time of 19 minutes, 5 seconds, and Hannu Manninen from Finland finished three seconds behind for second place.

Friday's winner, Ronny Ackermann of Germany, finished fourth.

Demong was in 10th place after the jumping portion of the race and finished 14 seconds behind Kircheisen. Spillane - 15th after jumping - finished 46 seconds off Kircheisen's pace.

"Today was better jumping than Friday - way better, for sure," Demong said in a news release. "The race was not that great, but it was good enough. I'm definitely satisfied with my results this weekend, but there's also room to keep improving."

Demong went out quick during the skiing portion of the first lap, going from 10th to first by the time the lap concluded. He was right with Kircheisen through one lap, but "ended up burning a little too much gas, and when (Kircheisen) took off, I didn't have the energy to answer."

U.S. coach Lasse Ottesen said the next step to the season will be to maintain the momentum gained in Finland.

"We're definitely happy with the first weekend," Ottesen said. "You come in and you have hopes and dreams of how we can start, and this is obviously a good start."

The Nordic combined World Cup season continues Dec. 8 and 9 in Trondheim, Norway. The two-day event will include a 15-kilometer Individual Gundersen event and a one-jump, 7.5-kilometer sprint event.


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