Lodwick claims large-hill title

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— After winning the national title on Howelsen Hill's big jump Thursday, Todd Lodwick wasn't worried about the superstitions associated with the number 13.

Instead, he slipped on a stocking cap with the unlucky number boldly displayed on the front and jumped up to the top stair of the podium the same way he has 12 other times during his career.

A few minutes later, he turned his attention to winning his 14th national title in the afternoon's Nordic combined race.

"If I can win, I will tie Gary's (Crawford) dad," Lodwick said. "I think it would be very special to do that in Steamboat."

Marvin Crawford, a skiing legend in Steamboat Springs who died earlier this year, was a four-way skier who won 14 national titles at various levels during his career.

Before the 2005 Chevrolet U.S. Ski Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships opened, Lodwick had won seven Nordic combined titles and five jumping titles

His sixth jumping title came in the large hill event, which was held on the K114 jump at Howelsen.

Lodwick, the defending national champion, led both rounds with efforts of 117 and 122.5 meters to collect 245.7 total points.

Steamboat's Clint Jones pushed Lodwick by posting jumps of 111.5 meters and 122 meters. He placed second with 237.9 points.

Tommy Schwall, also from Steamboat, posted the second longest jump of the first round at 116.5 meters, and he finished an effort of 120 meters to capture third place with 233.3 points.

Conditions, especially at the end of the first round when most of the leaders jumped, were difficult.

The jury tried to keep a brisk pace, so that new snow would not fill the track and slow the skiers' in-run speeds.

"The snow let up for the middle of the pack, and the (in-run) speeds really picked up," American Nordic combined coach Bard Elden said. "But it didn't last long, and that was tough on the skiers who were in the last part of the first round."

Lodwick said the conditions were tough for most of the day, but he tried not to focus on the snow falling from the sky.

"To tell you the truth, I'm a little surprised they held it at all," Lodwick said. "But you can't let that stuff get into your head. ... You just have to go out there and do your job."

Other top finishers in Thursday's jumping included Intermountain Division special jumper Brain Welch, who finished fourth, U.S. Nordic combined skier Bill Demong, who finished fifth, and teammate Carl Van Loan, who finished sixth.

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