LAKE PLACID, NY (Oct. 10) - Nick Alexander (Andover, NH) and Jessica Jerome (Park City, UT) kicked off the 2010 U.S. Ski Jumping Championships as Alexander took his first and Jerome won her seventh U.S. jumping title Saturday in Lake Placid, NY. The Championships took place as part of Lake Placid's Flaming Leaves Festival."
"I'm excited about today," Jerome said. "This past week I have had good jumps and I have been able to improve on a couple key things, so I am glad I could pull it together."
In the women's competition Jerome led with 230.0 points, followed by Continental Cup winner Sara Hendrickson (Park City, UT) in second with 205.5 and Abby Hughes (Park City, UT) in third with 203.5. 2009 U.S. Champion and jumping World Champion Lindsey Van (Park City, UT) finished just off the podium in fourth.
After a summer laying low and not competing internationally, Jerome said the win at U.S. Champs is a good way to get the season started.
"I haven't competed at all this summer, except for a couple of club competitions. I didn't compete internationally at all, so it's good to get back into competition mode going into the winter," Jerome said. "I knew kind of where I was at, but I didn't have anything to compare it to, except for my jumps all summer."
Jerome said that the win also comes after spending a lot of time working on the mental aspect of her jumping.
"I tend to be a little too mental going into competitions. Obviously you want to train like you compete and compete like you train," Jerome said. "That has always been one of my main things to try and improve on, on and off the hill. So this gives me confidence and it's nice to get this competition out of the way."
For Hendrickson, even though she's already won a Continental Cup this summer, U.S. Champs gets her amped for the upcoming season.
"It's back to competeition mode. It's nice to have good jumps and appear on the results. I'm looking forward to the season and hopefully I'll have good jumps in those competitions, too. From here I go to Finland and Norway. I'm excitied for those competitions," Hendrickson said.
Hughes is excited, saying that her podium proves she can perform when it matters most.
"I placed third and I'm psyched. I jumped better today than I did the rest of the summer, so I was able to perform when I needed to," Hughes said.
In the men's competition, Alexander was pumped not only for his first U.S. title, but for his first win in quite some time.
"It's also my first win in about a year and a half, so it felt pretty solid to pull it off. I knew I could do it. I just needed to stay confident," Alexander said.
Alexander led the way with 251 points, followed by Chris Lamb in second with 238 points and John Lyons in third with 220.5 points.
For Alexander, the day's jumps started out a little rough, but some confidence in the second round helped him pull out the win.
"The first jump was one of my weaker attempts. I lost my confidence and had a bad jump," Alexander said. "But I got up for the second jump and pulled one out. It was one of my better jumps, so it was good to see."
Now, with the U.S. Jumping Championships out of the way U.S. athletes are gearing up for the winter season ahead.
"I am psyched for the season. I'm looking forward to the winter. It should be good. I just need to stay confident and work on some little things to make my jumping more consistent," Alexander said.
The nordic action at Lake Placid's Flaming Leaves Festival continues Sunday with a SuperTour jumping competition.
2010 U.S. SKI JUMPING CHAMPIONSHIPS
Lake Placid, NY - Oct. 10, 2009
1. Nick Alexander, Andover, NH, 251.0
2. Chris Lamb, Andover, NH, 238.0
3. John Lyons, St. Paul, MN, 220.5
4. Mike Glasder, Cary, IL, 207.5
5. Nick Fairall, Andover, NH, 205.0
6. Pete Frenette, Saranac Lake, NY, 201.0
7. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO, 198.0
8. Alex Miller, Steamboat Springs, CO, 195.5
9. Andrew Bliss, Lake Placid, NY, 194.5
10. Brett Camerota, Park City, UT, 191.0
1. Jessica Jerome, Park City, UT, 230.0
2. Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT, 205.5
3. Abby Hughes, Park City, UT, 203.5
4. Lindsay Van, Park City, UT, 191.0
5. Alissa Johnson, Park City, UT, 188.5