Steamboat Springs It was a strong weekend for Steamboat Springs’ highest flying siblings. Taylor and Bryan Fletcher soared to strong finishes in a pair of Nordic combined World Cup events in Lillehammer, Norway.
Taylor Fletcher paced the United States team in a Saturday event while Bryan Fletcher led the squad Sunday.
Taylor Fletcher finished 21st in Saturday’s event thanks to a blazing performance in the cross-country ski portion of the day. He actually was one of the final athletes to start the ski race having recorded the 45th best jump in the 51-competitor field. Amidst bad weather, the jump scores were taken from the previous day’s provisional marks.
He made up for that, however, passing 24 athletes and a trio of teammates to fight to 21st place. His 10-kilometer cross-country ski time of 26 minutes, 38.9 seconds was second best, and it led to his career-best World Cup finish.
Billy Demong was 28th in the jump and moved up three spots to finish 25th. Bryan Fletcher, 16th after the jump, was 31st overall, and Johnny Spillane went from 50th after the jump and finished at 35th.
“Taylor had a solid competition both on the hill and out on the course,” coach Dave Jarrett said in a release. “We know he is one of the fastest guys out here and he showed it.
“Bryan was doing extremely well for 2.5 laps, in the top 10, but in hindsight opened a bit too hard. The course is very hard, and many guys paid the price for starting too hard.”
Bryan Fletcher was more consistent a day later, when he jumped up to 16th place in the first run-through of a new race format than included penalty laps.
Fletcher was 35th after the jump, had to ski four penalty laps and managed to move by nearly 20 skiers.
Demong was disqualified when he only skied three penalty laps instead of four.
“Psyched for Bryan,” Jarrett said in the release. “He did a good job in the race, as did Billy aside from his counting skills.”
Spillane was 44th, and Taylor Fletcher was 48th.