Steamboat athletes sweep podium at Nordic combined competition Saturday in Park City, Utah
August 8, 2013
Steamboat Springs — Bryan Fletcher didn't just win the 15th annual Springer Tournee Nordic Combined competition in Park City, Utah. He did so with a jump. He was joined on the podium by two other U.S. Ski Team members with roots in Steamboat Springs.
On his right was one of the nation's fastest on cross-country skis: his brother, Taylor. And on his left was the man who put together the most balanced performance of any skier at the competition: his roommate, Brett Denney.
"It's always nice to share the podium with your best friends," Denney said.
Fletcher was able to capture first place with a 100.5 meter leap that would have made the Wright brothers giddy. The jump gave him a one minute and 22 second cushion in the cross-country portion of the competition that none of the athletes behind him could overcome.
"I was surprised a little bit to be jumping that well," Bryan Fletcher said. "I had a lot of the components stack together perfectly on that jump."
"Bryan is the most consistent on our team by far," Taylor Fletcher said. "This weekend was especially tough with the wind, but whether he got the wind or whether he didn't, he had a great jump."
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Even with his colossal head start in the cross-country portion, Bryan Fletcher still had to worry about his brother.
"Taylor has been skiing really fast, and it has been really awesome seeing him skiing faster and faster and just building on what he's done each summer," Bryan Fletcher said. "That's the reason I have to be putting together jumps like that."
Taylor Fletcher ended up finishing the race in 19:05, which gave him the fastest cross-country time by more than one minute. It still was not enough to catch his brother, who started 2:36 ahead.
"Of course, it feels good to show your strengths and have it come out like that," Taylor Fletcher said. "Summer has been really good for me."
While the Fletcher brothers put together jaw-dropping numbers in the jumping or skiing portions of the event, Denney was able to perform well in both to seal third place.
"I mean, it really shows the depth of our team," Taylor Fletcher said. "Brett's been stepping it up this summer."
"It's definitely a confidence builder," Denney said. "I think my time shows I'm still racing pretty good, but there's still some room to get better."
Denney also added that his main focus this summer has been on jumping and that he will continue to try to improve his form there as the team prepares for its upcoming training camp in Europe.
For the Fletcher brothers, their focus now is fixed on the FIS Summer Grand Prix where they will join teammate Billy Demong for late-August competitions in Austria and Germany.
"That's kind of the first real checkpoint of our season," Taylor Fletcher said.
Jake Miller, a 2012 graduate of Steamboat Springs High School, is working as a summer intern for the Steamboat Pilot & Today. He recently completed his freshman year at Nebraska Wesleyan University.