Three ski jumpers based out of Norge Ski Club in Fox River Grove will head to Seefeld in Tirol, Austria, for the FIS Nordic World Ski Championships 2019 later this month.
Kevin Bickner, 22, of Wauconda; Casey Larson, 20, of Barrington; and Patrick Gasienica, 20, of McHenry, make up three members of the four-man ski jumping team. The World Championships begin Feb. 22 and run through March 2.
All three ski jumpers grew up learning the sport at Norge under the tutelage of longtime Norge coach Scott Smith.
Bickner and Larson were members of the 2018 Olympic team that competed in Pyeongchang, South Korea, and featured three Norge-based jumpers. Michael Glasder, the other Norge Olympian, took about six months off from the sport in 2018 before returning for Norge’s signature event last month. Glasder, 29, of Cary, will not compete at the world championships.
Bickner is the highest-rated American in the ski jumping World Cup standings and was the top U.S. finisher at the Olympics last year, finishing 20th in the large hill and 18th in the normal hill events. Larson finished 39th in the normal hill at the Olympics.
Gasienica is a first-time qualifier for the World Championships. The Richmond-Burton graduate participated in the Junior World Championships each of the past three years.
Gasienica’s father, Albert Gasienica, was a ski jumper in Poland before moving to the U.S. as a teenager. Gasienica’s performance in FIS Cup events this season earned him a spot at the World Championships.
Andrew Urlaub of Eau Claire, Wisconsin, will join the Norge trio on the U.S. team.