This past weekend my team and I competed in the three day Continental Cup (COC) event here in Park City, I am happy to say it was the most successful weekend of COC competitions I have ever been apart of for both me and my team! On the first day of competition it was a foggy cold morning at the jump hill. I had a good comp jump and I ended up in 10th place 1min 8sec back from the leader to start the race. I was already excited as this was the closest to the leader I had started in an international race. The cross country race was very difficult as the course is a challenging one and the snow was slower than usual. I had a fairly decent race but I was feeling the elevation as I had just returned from much closer to sea level a couple days before hand. I was able to finish the day in 13th place which I was very excited about as it was a career best finish for me! The next day I didn't have as good of a jump and I started the race in 23rd 1min 53sec back from the leader. The course was much faster and I felt much better going into it, I had a game plan of skiing my own controlled race until a fast Norwegian who started behind me caught up to me, my plan was then to stick on him and move up! I was able to follow through with this plan and ski with the Norwegian racer for several laps moving up a good amount of places to a finishing place of 18th. I was happy with my race as I skied the 7th fastest cross country time, now I just had to improve my jumping and I would be in there! On the final day of competition I didn't have my best performance on the jump hill but it was slightly better than the day before, I started in 20th place 1min 32sec back from the leader. I had a trio of very fast skiers starting about 30sec behind me including my teammate Michael Ward. I went into the race with a plan and was able to follow it fairly well. I skied behind an Austrian racer for the first couple laps until about halfway through the second to last lap when the trio of fast skiers caught us. We bunched up with about 9 skiers going into the start of the final lap. I was able to move towards the front of this group and follow Michael and the other two skiers as we moved away from the rest of the group. I pushed it as hard as I could for the rest of the lap trying to stay with the fast skiers as long as possible. They ended up putting a gap into me which I held for the rest of the lap. I finished up the day in 15th place with the 10th fastest race time which I was happy with!
The rest of my team had great performances as well starting with Taylor Fletcher who was 3rd, 2nd and then 1st on the final day! This was key as it put him on the overall podium after the weekend giving our team a 'wildcard' or extra spot on the World Cup! Ben Berend also had a great weekend with 12th, 9th, and a fantastic final performance of 6th! Michael Ward had a strong weekend as well with finishes of 10th, 6th, and 12th. Ben Loomis had a breakout weekend finishing 16th followed by an amazing performance finishing 4th, and 21st! Stephen Schumann was in the top 30 all three days as well! Several other juniors from Park City and Steamboat were able to compete and had strong performances and got some great experience at the international level! As I mentioned before it was one of the most successful weekends the US has had in a long time and by far the best that I have been a part of! I was happy with my performances this past weekend but of course I want to improve my jumping so that I have more competitions where I am closer to the front of the race and more in the mix. I was still very happy to get more experience in the mix of the races and learn more about how to plan the tactics for my races when I start closer and closer to the front of the race. If you want to check out the results from last weekend click here, to check out some awesome photos of everyone by Tom Kelly click here. I am now in Park City getting some much needed recovery and awesome training. I will then go back to Steamboat for Christmas to spend time with my family and some much needed time at home! I will update my website again soon with what we be coming next after Christmas so be sure to check back!