Unfortunately I missed my Thursday update this week due to a large amount of schedule changes basically as soon as we landed in Romania. We arrived in Rasnov to no snow and 45 degree weather, it felt more like summer. The first time we went to check out the ski jump it only had snow on about half of the landing hill. Although the weather did not seem like it would cooperate with us I knew the organizers were going to pull of the competitions one way or another. Last Sunday was the first coaches meeting where we would find out what the week was going to look like. The organizers basically decided at the meeting that we needed to get the ball rolling as soon as possible because the little snow they had made wasn't going to last very long with the warm temperatures. They decided that Monday morning we would do one training jump then go right into a Provisional Round (a round scored like a competition and kept in the organizers ‘back pocket’ in case they couldn't pull off one of the competition rounds) followed by a Competition Round. That ended up getting pushed back to Monday afternoon but we were able to get three fair rounds of jumping off! I jumped to 14th and 15th in both of the scored rounds. I was happy with my performance on the jump hill as we were thrown right into it and I was able to put together two solid jumps.
The original plan was to race at a cross country venue about 5min from our hotel but that venue had absolutely no snow. The organizers then decided we would be racing about 45min away with the Cross-Country skiers. On Tuesday they scheduled our first race (10km individual off the competition round on Monday) for 3pm. Due to an extremely warm day and all the Cross-Country races earlier that day the course wasn't in great condition so they pushed the race back to 5:30pm, more waiting but we would be competing! The delay didn't do a ton to help the course but we were able to race on an extremely slushy and slow course. I am not very experienced skiing in those conditions and I didn't have my best race. It was also one of the most brutal races I have done, it was around a 30min race (most of our races take 25min or less). With that being said I still had the 13th fastest time and moved up to finish 11th overall! It was a career best day for me and a solid performance considering all the challenges thrown at the team and I. At the end of the day I was ok with my result but not pumped.
The next day they decided we would try to pull of the team competition. After changing the start time for the jumping multiple times and deciding we wouldn't do a trail jump we were able to get the jumping round for the team competition off. We jumped to 9th so we're ready to move forward in the Cross-Country race. They then decided that the course was not doing well and cancelled the race for that day, we then had the afternoon off to recover!
The next day they decided to try and do the second individual day of competition starting with the jumping in the morning. It was looking great, we got through an entire training round and then about half of the competition round before the wind started blowing all over the place. They ended up having to cancel the competition round and decided we would race off the Provisional Round from Monday. I was ok with it but my teammate Ben Loomis got the short end of the stick as he was traveling from the Youth Olympics in Lillehammer, NOR on Monday so he missed all of the individual jumping. The Cross-Country course was much better than the day before as it was glazed over and considerably faster. I felt much better in this race but it was only a 5km race so I was only able to move up to 12th place. I was ok with it again as I had pieced together two solid and consistent competitions even though I had a broken hand, a completely different fleet of skis, and not ideal conditions. I was more happy with how I dealt with all of that as I have been working to improve my mental game and I feel as if I had a strong mental showing in trying circumstances.
The next day they decided to finish the team event, we had already done the jumping so we just had to do the Cross-Country race! Again we raced at 5:30pm and it was a warm one making for a very similar day to the 10km race with a slushy slow course. We had a much stronger performance in the Cross-Country race moving up from 9th at the start to 6th place at the finish! It was the best finish that any team I had been on at World Junior Championships so I was psyched with our teams performance! In the other two individual days of competition the rest of the team also had strong performances! Koby Vargas at his second year of World Juniors finished in 32nd in the 5km, Jared Shumate finished in 37th in the 10km and Stephen Schumann finished in 31st in the 10km race. Unfortunately Ben Loomis got screwed by the change of schedule but he had an amazing performance at the Youth Olympics getting a Silver Medal in the individual competition! In my mind the team and I had a solid performance at this years World Junior Championships considering all the difficulties we had to work through. I am very optimistic about the future of this team and the fact that our Junior team has been getting better and better every year! If you want to check out results from World Juniors click here. I am now traveling to Chaux-Neuve, FRA for a weekend of COC competitions! Sorry for missing my update day but hopefully you were able to see some content on my social media pages! If not you can click on the links at the top of this page to start following my social media profiles, I post a little bit more frequently on those! Also a huge thanks to Romina Eggert for the amazing photos! As always thanks for following along!