Casey Larson of the Norge Ski Club soared to his third straight Junior Worlds qualifying win on the Olympic HS100 meter jump in Park City. (U.S. Ski Team - Tom Kelly)
PARK CITY, UT (Dec. 31, 2016) - USSA Central Division ski jumpers dominated in the final two qualifiers for spots on the USA team that will compete in the 2017 Nordic Junior World Championships to be held in early February in Utah. Casey Larson (Barrington, IL) of the Norge Ski Club and Anna Hoffman (Madison, WI) from the Blackhawk Ski Club swept to back-to-back wins on the HS100-meter Olympic ski jump in Park City.
Larson, who was on the Junior Worlds team a year ago that competed in Romania, made it a perfect three-for-three after winning earlier in the month at Steamboat Springs. For Hoffman, it was a breakout weekend for the 16-year old who had been fifth at the opening qualifier in Steamboat Springs.
The team will be named in mid-January based on results from international World Cup and Continental Cup results, along with finishes from the three qualifying events.
Friday, Larson flew 98.5 and 94.5 meters for the two longest rides of the day. Nordic combined skier Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) from the Flying Eagles Ski Club was second with Trevor Edlund (Woodbury, MN) of the St. Paul Ski Club was third. Saturday, Larson went 90.5 meters on his first jump then knocked it out of the park with a towering 102.0 meter final ride to seal the win over Loomis and Edlund.
“I was really happy with my jumping,” said Larson. “I’ve been working really hard and hoping to get to Europe to compete with the best before coming back for Junior Worlds.”
“It was an obvious that Casey Larson has been working hard to get the win again,” said USA Nordic Coach Clint Jones. “He has been showing very solid jumps at a high level in all three of the qualifying events. It was also good to see that Trevor Edlund also stepped up his game a bit.
“There’s a gap back to the next group, but they are young and will earn some great experience this year at Junior World Championships.”
Anna Hoffman soars to a pair of Junior Worlds trials wins. (U.S. Ski Team - Tom Kelly)
Hoffman, meanwhile, had to come from behind to win on Friday. she went 86.5 and 88.5 meters to win over Annika Belshaw (Steamboat Springs, CO) of the Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club was second and Cara Larson (Barrington, IL) of the Norge Ski Club third. Saturday, Hoffman went 88.5 and 89.5 meters, taking a solid first jump lead over Larson and holding it, with Belshaw finishing third.
“Anna is a product of a lot of club work with Blackhawk in Wisconsin and three years on the Fly Girls team and now Women’s Ski Jumping U.S.A. Development team,” said Women’s Ski Jumping U.S. A. Coach Alan Alborn. “Anna has been really working hard and focused on pushing her level higher which is starting to blossom on the ski jump.”
The Junior World Championships are set Jan. 30-Feb. 5 at the Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow - both venues from the 2002 Olympic Winter Games. It’s the first time the event has been in the USA since 1986 in Lake Placid, NY.