Parkites cap off Springer Tournee with standout performances |

Parkites cap off Springer Tournee with standout performances

Jared Shumate wins men’s Nordic combined event, Josie Johnson captures under-20 ski jumping title

Jared Shumate races in the roller-skiing portion of a Nordic combined competition on Saturday during the Springer Tournee. Shumate finished in first place.
Courtesy of Melissa Majchrzak

Park City Nordic combined athlete Jared Shumate fought through three laps of a roller-skiing race at Soldier Hollow Saturday evening that featured a little bit of everything. Shumate and his competitors had to deal with high winds and bouts of heavy rain, but the skies cleared as Shumate rounded the final curve and headed toward the finish line. 

Shumate, who started the race in fourth, and Ben Loomis had separated themselves from the rest of their competition heading into the last lap, with the two alternating between taking the lead and drafting off each other. But in the end, Shumate gained the advantage to take home the win and close out this year’s Springer Tournee.

“We got on that last steep hill, and I just started going,” Shumate said. “I was able to hold it until the end. But Ben was breathing down my neck the whole time, so I was just trying to go all out.”

Shumate’s win and a first-place finish in the women’s under-20 division for Park City ski jumper Josie Johnson were the highlights of Saturday’s ski jumping and Nordic combined competitions on the final day of the 23rd annual Jindro Mayer Springer Tournee. While this year’s events weren’t for a national championship, they still served as an important measuring stick for the athletes as the winter season approaches. 

“It’s always good to compete, whether or not it’s a super important competition or not,” Shumate said. “Just putting a bib on and getting in the competition mindset’s really important. Since we don’t have that many events for us throughout the summer, events like Springer, I think, are super important to keep ourselves in competition shape.”

Shumate added that the men’s Nordic combined national team has only gotten stronger. After the first lap, Shumate found himself in the middle of a multi-man group at the front before it eventually dwindled to just him and Loomis.

“In the many years that I’ve done Springer, I don’t think I’ve ever skied with a group of five of my teammates all together,” he said. “I think that shows as a team we’re taking good steps forward and looking forward to kind of keep that going into the winter.”

Saturday’s festivities started at the Utah Olympic Park for ski jumping off the HS-100 jump. Both ski jumpers and Nordic combined athletes competed, with the first jump serving as the ski jumping portion of the Nordic combined event. It was also a U.S. Cup event, which is for athletes under the age of 20. Athletes were split between senior and under-20 divisions for both men and women. 

Johnson, who was named to the women’s national team for this upcoming season at the age of 15, led the under-20 division with two jumps that scored a combined total of 199.5 points. Johnson’s second jump went 90 meters and gave her 106 points, enough to beat Alexa Brabec by a point for first place. 

“(That second jump) felt really nice,” she said. “I did what I was supposed to, which felt nice. And then I went far, which is also really nice.”

Josie Johnson flies through the air during one of her jumps on Saturday. Johnson finished in first in the women’s under-20 division.
Courtesy of Melissa Majchrzak

On the senior side, Park City was represented by two of the four jumpers: Paige Jones and Sam Macuga. Annika Belshaw took first place with 230.5 points, and Jones finished second with 210. Macuga was in fourth with 199.5. 

Jones competed at the Springer Tournee for the first time in three years after 2020 was wiped out due to the COVID-19 pandemic and being injured last year. She said competing at home was her favorite part of this year’s event.

“Home turf’s always fun,” Jones said. “It’s nice that my family gets to watch me ski jump, and it’s also fun just to compete against everyone else in the U.S.”

For Macuga, Saturday reminded her of what she needs to focus on heading into the upcoming season.

“I need to really figure out how to fly,” she said. “You can see in the distance that I don’t really have it. But at least the technique, like the takeoff, is there. I just need to figure out the rest of it.”

She wasn’t satisfied with her finish, but she is seeing progress.

“The results weren’t exactly what I wanted, but the jumps were OK, so I’m happy with it,” Macuga said. “Definitely better than what it’s been.”

Shumate finished seventh out of 10 competitors in the senior division, and his first jump set him back ahead of the roller-skiing portion of the Nordic combined event. But he had a much better second jump, going 95.5 meters and scoring 117.5 points. 

Schumann struggled on the ski jumping hill, finishing eighth with 185.5 points. While his first jump was the better of his two, it still dug him too deep of a hole. He started the second half of the day with a deficit of a minute and 42 seconds to make up, and while he was making up plenty of time, he didn’t have anyone to draft with. Schumann settled for fifth out of the five senior men, but he did have the fastest racing time.

“Jumping was not what I was hoping for – it was better than last year but still definitely a lot of work to do,” he said. “Good news on that side is I know what I need to do, and it’s not the most complicated thing. So, hopefully I can make those changes sooner rather than later and be kicking it for the start of the season.”

During a weekend that seemed like it was about figuring out what to work on and how everyone measures against each other, Schumann knows what to focus on heading into the winter.

“It’s the big takeaway from a lot of weekends,” he said. “Trying to figure out the jumping side is definitely the biggest part of Nordic combined. Right now, the jumping level is close to that of the ski jumping World Cup. So yeah, we’ve got to find a way to put that together and get up with the bigger nations and try to kick some (butt).”

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