Van defends her national title

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— Ski jumper Lindsay Van successfully defended her 2004 national title Thursday by holding off a field of five other women.

Van combined efforts of 88 and 102 meters in snowy conditions on Howelsen Hill's K114 jump to win the event.

Van won with 152.6 points, Jessica Jerome was second at 142.4 and Alissa Johnson was third with 121.6 points. Five of the six women in the competition, including the top three finishers, are from the Intermountain Division.

"It was tough," Van said. "The conditions were slow, so it was difficult to get down the hill."

Last year, Van won both special jumping titles in Steamboat. She is looking to complete the sweep again today on the K90 hill in downtown Steamboat Springs.

Van said she is tired after wrapping up the Ladies Continental Cup season a few weeks ago in Oslo, Norway.

She finished second to Norwegian Anette Sagen in the event and in the season's overall standings. Jerome was third in the final event and fifth in the overall standings.

Sagen won the 12-meet Continental Cup Series with 1,020 points. Van was second with 740 points, and Austria's Daniela Iraschko was third with 620 points.

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