Sweet 16 for Lindsey Van who wins Nationals

LAKE PLACID, New York — Lindsey Van won her 16th National Ski Jumping title Sunday in a town whose Olympic history runs deep – having twice hosted a Winter Games. It was a fitting competition venue for Van and her teammates as they set to embark on their very own history-making Olympic season.

Lindsey Van win her 16th U.S. National Title (NH) on Sunday, Oct. 13 in Lake Placid.  Photo by Whiteface Mountain

Lindsey Van win her 16th U.S. National Title (NH) on Sunday, Oct. 13 in Lake Placid. Photo by Whiteface Mountain

The U.S. National Championships for the normal hill (90-meter jump) took place in Lake Placid on Sunday as part of the popular Flaming Leaves Festival. The large hill (120-meter jump) National Championship was held in August in Park City.

Ten-time National Champion Jessica Jerome was 2nd, Alissa Johnson 3rd, Nina Lussi 4th, Tera Geraghty-Moats 5th, and Abby Hughes 6th. 

“It feels terrific to be back in Lake Placid and for us to show the talent that the U.S. has to offer,” Van said.

Sixteen years ago, a pre-teen Van sat down with her parents and they decided together to move her to Lake Placid to train with her longtime coach, Larry Stone. She stayed with Stone and his family for two years while her hometown jumps back in Park City were rebuilt in preparation for the 2002 Salt Lake Games.

“Lake Placid will always hold a special place in my heart,” she said.

Van also won Saturday’s open competition on the 90-meter hill organized by the New York Ski Educational Foundation. Jerome was 2nd and local favorite Lussi took a podium spot with a 3rd place.

“It was nice to do this in front of the home crowd,” said Lussi, who recently graduated from a winter sports school in Staams, Austria, and then moved to Park City to train full time with her teammates on the Visa Women’s Ski Jumping Team.

Sarah Hendrickson, reigning World Champion and 2013 large hill National Champion, sat out the weekend’s events recovering from surgery required after an August knee injury.

The Visa Team is now headed to training camp in Europe and then back for a short stint in Park City before heading to Lillehammer, Norway, for the World Cup opener on Dec. 6 (mixed-team event) and Dec. 7 (individual event). There are seven World Cup stops (14 events) before the start of the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia.

The U.S. Olympic Trials for ski jumping takes place Dec. 29 in Park City; the winner gets an automatic spot on the Olympic Team. Remaining Olympic Team members (up to three more) will be announced mid-January.