USA names Junior World Champs Combined team
Parkites Schumann and Hoefler crack the list
Six nordic combined skiers have been named to the team that will represent the USA at the International Ski Federation’s 2017 USANA Nordic Junior World Ski Championships Jan. 30-Feb. 5 at the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow Nordic Center. It’s the first time the global junior event has been held in the USA since 1986 in Lake Placid.
The team was named by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association, in collaboration with USA Nordic, following the completion of trials last month and final international events. Selection was based on results of international Continental Cup competitions along with three trials events with jumps at Steamboat Springs, CO and Park City, UT.
The team blends some seasoned veterans with a host of newcomers to international competition.
The team will be led by Ben Loomis of the Flying Eagles Ski Club. Loomis was the silver medalist at the Youth Olympic Games in Lillehammer, Norway last February and is competing regularly on the World Cup tour. He will be joined by Stephen Schumann of Park City Nordic Ski Club. Schumann qualified through Continental Cup points scored in Klingenthal, Germany in December. He and Loomis each won one of the final two trials events in Park City in late December. Also on the team is two-time Junior Worlds veteran Koby Vargas of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
Among the newcomers to Junior Worlds will be Grant Andrews of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club. Andrews had his first international experience last season finishing fourth and 11th in a youth Nordic combined event in Norway. It will be the first international event for both Tucker of the Park City Nordic Ski Club as well as Elijah Vargas of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club.
“It is a great opportunity for these athletes to be able to compete at home against such a strong international field,” said Coach Martin Bayer. “We have some great experience on this team, especially with Ben Loomis who showed at the Youth Olympic Games last season that he can compete with the best in the world.”
The first competition day is Tuesday, Jan. 31 with individual 10k event. The 4x5k team event is Thursday, Feb. 2 with the final 5k individual event on Saturday, Feb. 4. All jumping is on the HS100m Olympic jump at the Utah Olympic Park with cross country on the Olympic Trails at Soldier Hollow.
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Park City defeated Uintah 6-0 in its season opener in front of a packed home crowd.