Taylor Fletcher rounds a high-speed corner during the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Gorgoza Park.
PARK CITY, UT (Dec. 13, 2014) - Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) just missed closing the gap to the podium, moving up from 20th in jumping to finish fifth in a FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup competition at Gorgoza Park outside Park City. Austria's Tomaz Droml swept the weekend wins, this time in a narrow head-to-head battle with Italy's Lukas Runggaldier. Jump leader Yusuke Minato hung on for third. The pair of competitions were run by the Soldier Hollow organizing committee, with jumping at the Utah Olympic Park and cross country moved to the Gorgoza Park tubing hill.
The win for Druml came in a hard fought battle, just a day after he led an Austrian podium sweep. Jump leader Minato set a strong early pace. Druml, who had been fifth in jumping and started 24 seconds back, combined forces with Runggaldier, who was eighth, another two seconds back. The two teamed up and moved quickly up to catch Minato, but could never shake him through to the finish. The lead went back and forth the entire way, with Druml putting in a strong finish push to take the victory and claim a spot on the Austrian team for next weekend's planned World Cup in Ramsau, Austria.
Fletcher, who had a better jump than in the opening competition, still needed to make up a minute, 36 seconds. He set a torrid pace, but could not bridge the final gap from fifth up to the podium.
Fletcher and teammate Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), who was 17th, led the USA. Also finishing in the points were Michael Ward (Aspen, CO) was 28th and Colin Delaney (Lake Placid, NY) 29th, for his first Continental Cup points. Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, CO) just missed the points in 32nd, Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) was 35th - both career bests - and Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs, CO) 40th.
Tomaz Droml of Austria swept the two event FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup weekend in Park City.
Taylor Fletcher skied up from 20th to fifth, but missed the podium.
All eyes are on FIS for final decision on next weekend's planned World Cup in Ramsau, Austria.