Park City athletes finish in top 10 at Nordic combined nationals
Both Parkites registered top-5 times in cross-country roller-skiing
Parkite and Nordic combined national team athlete Jared Shumate knows the twists, turns, inclines and declines of the cross-country track at Soldier Hollow all too well.
“I think I was checking Strava — because we all track our training on Strava — and I’ve done one of the sections of the course I think 475 times or something like that,” Shumate said. “Definitely a lot of training, so we know the hills and how hard they are, but it’s always a little extra harder on a competition day.”
Shumate and fellow Park City native Stephen Schumann capped off a competitive weekend with the Nordic combined national championships, which wrapped up Saturday at Soldier Hollow. Schumann ended the competition with a fourth-place finish, while Shumate came in sixth.
The first jump of the large hill event at the ski jumping national championship Saturday morning decided the starting times for the 10K cross-country roller-skiing segment of the Nordic combined championship. Schumann took off in eighth place, just over 2 minutes after leader Jasper Good left the starting line, while Shumate began 39 seconds later in ninth.
Both Parkites fared much better on roller skis than they did on the ski jumping hill earlier in the day.
Schumann quickly made up ground on the racers in front of him and made it all the way to fourth after the first of three laps. Though he couldn’t catch the leaders and secure a spot on the podium, his time of 22:37 was the second fastest in the event behind the newly crowned national champion Taylor Fletcher, who cruised through the course like a hot knife through butter. Schumann crossed the finish line 16 seconds behind third-place finisher Ben Loomis.
“Definitely good to ski up a few places, but I was hoping to ski into third, went out a maybe little too hard trying to catch Ben, and he just put in a killer last lap and I wasn’t able to close the gap to him,” Schumann said. “Overall, I think I’m pretty happy with it, can’t complain about fourth in the nation.”
Shumate also had plenty of ground to make up after starting in ninth place. While he couldn’t catch up to Schumann, he made a similar move up the leaderboard. He worked his way up to sixth but soon found himself on an island between packs of racers until he crossed the finish line. Shumate raced through the course with a time of 23:01, the fourth fastest of the day.
“Especially with COVID last year, I spent a lot of time training by myself, so being isolated like that isn’t the worst thing in the world,” Shumate said. “Definitely makes it easier to have a teammate with you to kind of share the hard work and share drafts, but I could see people in front of me, so I knew what I was chasing but didn’t have anybody to work with to get me there.
“I think with a good day I would have been up in the fight for the podium, but you can’t always have your good days when you need them.”
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The Wildcats have now lost four of their last six matches.