Paul Smith’s roommates will take on FISU Games | News, Sports, Jobs

Paul Smiths College housemates and Nordic ski team members Aidan Ripp and Timothy Ziegler were at two different points of view this time last year. Ripp helped the team win race after race while Ziegler watched from the side.

Ziegler had suffered a displacement fracture in his left foot about a year earlier, which ruined most of his freshman year at school. He was also sidelined for the team’s first combined win at the United States Collegiate Ski Association National Championship in March 2022 at Lake Placid.

While he spent that time waxing skis and cheering on teammates, Ripp won two singles titles at the USCSA Championships.

But now the pair will compete together – or rather against each other – in Nordic Combined at the upcoming FISU Winter World University Games in Lake Placid. Nordic combined is a sport that combines cross-country skiing and ski jumping.

“I haven’t been skiing for about 8 months, I think, and jumping for about 10 months, so I’ve been training and picking up the bits and getting back into it.” said Ziegler. “I am very pleased to have had some results that selected me.”

Ripp said he was very excited to attend the games but thinks being joined by one of Paul Smith’s teammates is even better.

“I think it just shows that we have a program here and it’s really exciting to show people that we’re strengthening our connection with USA Nordic and Paul Smith’s.” said Ripp.

Ziegler said it was special as both he and Ripp had always been close friends.

“He grew up in Minnesota and I grew up in Michigan and we’ve known each other for years – jumping and skiing in Nordic combined.” said Ziegler. “It’s just great to have similar goals and end up in similar places. Seeing how we can push each other on skis but also as teammates is a lot of fun.”

The full US men’s Nordic combined team was officially released on Tuesday, and while many of the athletes competed at Lake Placid, it’s safe to say that Ripp and Ziegler will have a slight edge over the competition. Most of their time with Paul Smith’s team has been training on the cross-country trails of Mount Van Hoevenberg.

“It will be nice to know the flow of the trails because there are some steep climbs.” said Ziegler. “If you don’t really know the course, it’s easy to blow yourself up and have too much too quickly and waste your energy.”

Ziegler expects the FISU games to be one of the biggest events he has ever attended. The sophomore at Paul Smith said he had previously trained at an international level but had never competed internationally.

“While it’s not international overseas, it’s against international skiers.” said Ziegler. “I’m just really excited to see what I can do against some Europeans I’ve never skied against.”

The competition is expected to be one of the largest international winter events for collegiate athletes; Ripp said he’s not sure where this competition ranks among the biggest events he’s attended. That’s because Ripp has competed in its fair share of major competitions.

“This competition will definitely be up there I suppose,” said Ripp. “When I was younger, Junior World was also a pretty big deal because it was pretty competitive at that point. Many of these juniors were World Cup winners or fairly competitive skiers at the time. Last year I got to ski in the Olympic Trials and I’m not sure if that was the largest field but it was still a quality race.

“I’m looking forward to seeing some really deep field, I think it’s going to be cool to compete against a lot of people.” he added. “Nordic Combined is such a small sport that it’s pretty rare that we compete against a big group or pack, at least in the US.”

Both Ripp and Ziegler said they didn’t really have a goal in mind as far as the result was concerned.

“I’m just looking forward to trusting the process, I know our coach Matt Dougherty doesn’t really get under his skin on things like this and he’s definitely prepared us.” said Ripp. “He makes it easy for me so I just have to finish what he puts on the training plan and I’m not really trying to think about how good I’m going to be. I just trust that when I show up there I’ll be ready. I’m just trying to keep everything as good as possible.”

The first Nordic Combined competition will take place on January 13th with the Gundersen Individual competition at Mount Van Hoevenberg and the Olympic Jumping Complex.

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