Just when you thought Todd Lodwick had written the book on American ski jumping and Nordic combined, the Steamboat Springs native goes out and starts a new chapter.
On Sunday, at the 2004 Chevrolet U.S. Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships at historic Howelsen Hill, Lodwick made history once again by becoming the first American skier to win the Nordic combined, K-90 and K-114 titles all in the same year.
"Todd was tough to beat this weekend," said second-place finisher, and U.S. Ski Team teammate Johnny Spillane. "He has been jumping awesome all winter, and he wrapped up the season with another great showing."
Lodwick, who won the K-90 hill and the Nordic combined events Saturday, led both rounds in Sunday's finale on the big hill.
Lodwick soared 119. 5 meters on his first jump and then netted 122 meters on his second to lead all competitors. His efforts earned him a combined score of 253.8 to beat out Spillane in second at 244 and special jumper Tommy Schwall, who finished in third with 239.7.
"I'm really happy with a third," Schwall said. "I always love to jump in Steamboat, and hopefully it will give me some momentum for next year." Steamboat's Clint Jones was fourth, Bill Demong finished fifth, and 14-year-old Anders Johnson of the Intermountain Division was sixth.
"It's nice to win three in one year, but I think the bigger number is going to be how many I've won in my career," Lodwick said. "Next year will be 12 years (on the team), and I know I'm going to compete -- and then we will see what happens from there. I'm going to take it year by year. I'm not going to be one of those guys who sticks with it just to do it. If I'm not having fun, then I'm not going to do it anymore."
If you saw Lodwick's smile Sunday it was clear that the 27-year-old skier is still having fun with the sport. He wrapped up one of the best seasons of his career, which includes 12 national titles with seven Nordic combined crowns.
Other top Steamboat finishes in the event included Logan Gerber in eighth, Taylor Fletcher in 19th and Alex Miller in 20th. Alex Glueck came in 22nd, Davis Miller was 23rd, and Trevor Wert placed 28th in the field of 43 athletes.
The only national titles that Lodwick didn't win this weekend went to Intermountain jumper Lindsay Van, who swept the women's jumping events. On Sunday, Van topped teammate Jessica Jerome with jumps of 106 and 111 meters to win the girls K-114 title. She earned the K-90 title Saturday.
"I'm happy that it came together for me this weekend," Van said.
Van jumped 83 and 88 meters to score 208.5 points -- more than enough to win the event. Second-place finisher Jessica Jerome had a poor first jump but finished strong by clearing 85 meters on her second to earn 190 points for the day.
Schwall won the Merrill longest-standing jump competition with an effort of 125.5 meters. Spillane cleared 128.5 meters but fell on his landing. The distance would have been a new hill record at Howelsen.
--To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209
or e-mail him at email@example.com