Ski jumpers stand tall in Park City

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The jumping hills at Park City, Utah, may have played host to this year's Western Regional Championships, but that didn't stop several Steamboat Springs skiers from cashing in on top results.

The biggest Steamboat winner was Johnny Spillane, a member of the U.S. Ski Team's Nordic Combined Squad. He won the K-90 competition March 13 and the K-120 event March 14. Steamboat's Tommy Schwall took second both days. Brian Welch was third on the K-90 hill, and Utah's Skyler Keate took third on the K-120.

"This was a pretty big event since it was tied into the Super Tour finals," said Todd Wilson, Winter Sports Club Nordic director. "We started the Western Regional seven or eight years ago because there wasn't a big jumping event regularly scheduled at the end of the season. These days, the regional is a pretty big event -- especially for the younger jumpers who don't get to jump at the National Championships."

Those young jumpers were highlighted in K-10 events March 12. Winners included Utah jumpers Maddie Wood in the girls J6 class and Sarah Hendrickson in the girls J5 class.

Steamboat's Erik Lynch set a new hill record with a jump of 15.5-meters en route to winning the J5 boys class on the K-10 hill. He was followed by teammate Ben Berend, who tied Utah's Will Rhoades for second. Steamboat's Nicholas Madden was third in the J6 boys event.

Jasper Gantick won the open class on the K-20 hill. Steamboat's Gus Allen was third. Luke Anderson was fourth, Lynch was eighth, Cliff Field was 10th, and Jace Worden was 11th in the J4 boys event, which was held on the K-20.

Utah's Andrew Jerome led the older jumpers on the K-40 hill in Park City. He finished first, followed by Steamboat's Taylor Fletcher in second and Canadian Sabastian Dandurand in third.

Steamboat's Brett Denny was 12th, Adam Peters was 15th, and Lynch was 19th. Utah's Anders Johnson won the J2 class on the K-64 hill; the top Steamboat finisher was Fletcher in fifth.

In addition to the top finishes from Spillane and Schwall on the bigger hills, Steamboat also earned top finishes from some of its younger jumpers, as well.

Steamboat native Logan Gerber, who jumps with the National Sports Foundation in Utah, placed seventh on the big hill. Steamboat's Davis Miller placed 12th, Fletcher placed 17th, and Alex Miller was 18th on the K-90. Alex Miller also finished ninth in the K-120 hill, and brother Davis Miller was 12th. Fletcher was 18th, and Kyle Lockhart placed 20th.

For many of the younger jumpers, the event in Park City marked the end of the 2003-04 season.

"These events definitely inspire many of our younger jumpers to work harder in the off-season," Wilson said. "Especially when they do well at the regional."

-- To reach John F. Russell call 871-4209

or e-mail jrussell@steamboatpilot.com

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