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Seyfahrt repeats for Continental Cup win; women jumpers head to Calgary

Seyfahrt repeats for Continental Cup win; women jumpers head to CalgaryPARK CITY, Utah – If she wins two meets in 24 hours when she’s fighting heat and jet lag, what’s German teen Juliane Seyfahrt gonna do when she’s at home next month and ready to roll?

Seyfahrt, the 16-year-old current World Junior Championships women’s ski-jumping gold medalist, made it two in a row Saturday night at Utah Olympic Park as the women’s Continental Cup opened its third season. Twenty-four hours after overcoming mid-90s temperatures and rampant jet lag, Seyfahrt did it again, winning the second Continental Cup meet of the young 2007 season.

This time, instead of a 7.5-point bulge over her runner-up, Seyfahrt earned a one-point victory over Norwegian Anette Sagen, the King Kong (Queen Kong?) of the women’s circuit for the past three years but who inexplicably struggles to find the podium at Bear Hollow, the 2002 Olympic jumping playpen.

Sagen held the first-round lead after jumping 97.5 meters, the longest ride of the sunset competition. Seyfahrt was in second place, jumping 96.5 m, compiling one point less. In the last round, however, the German went 94.5 meters while Sagen dropped in at 92.5 … and finished one point back, 245.0-244.0.

Daniela Iraschko, who won the first two Continental Cup meets at UOP in July 2004, was third with Americans fourth and fifth — Jessica Jerome (230.5), who also was fourth in the opener, and Alissa Johnson (230.0)

“I’m jumping good and I had confidence from (Friday) night. I like this hill and it was not so hot as (Friday),” Seyfahrt said. Competing at Bear Hollow, on the outskirts of Park City as a 14-year-old in 2004 and again last year helped her feel comfortable despite the heat, which was broken slightly by occasional clouds (which were missing Friday night). “I’m still a little tired,” she said, “but I like this hill and that’s good.”

“We made it,” U.S. coach Casey Colby said with a smirk. “It’s great to be at home on one hand, but there are distractions and there’s added pressure. Two comps down and 20 to go (continuing through the winter). I’m extremely pleased with where the girls are at this point.” H

He also was happy with the idea that when the U.S. women head to Europe for four meets in mid-August, he’ll have several extra young women traveling with the five nominated for the U.S. Ski Team because the team will pay for the top skiers, enabling Women’s Ski Jumping USA to underwrite the others as part of its expanding development role.

Jerome and Johnson, both 19, were hoping for a podium but had no complaints with their results. Both blend college studies — Jerome at Westminster and Johnson at the University of Utah — and were pleased to simply get started competing; there are 20 competitions left, including the winter meets and, as Jerome said, “We’ve got a long way to go. This is a good start for us.”

Lindsey Van, the second-ranked skier in the women’s tour (Jerome is third), was fifth and 10th in the two meets, finishing with a 90.5-meter ride in the second comp. Asked if she felt she might put too much pressure on herself at home, she grinned and replied, “I don’t think so, but I seem to ski better anywhere else in the world, so maybe … I know I feel a lot better about these next 20 comps.” (However, not to be overlooked: Last October, Van was first and third in the Continental Cups at UOP.)

The meet, with its free admission, attracted another big crowd of perhaps 2,500 (no ticket sales to judge by, but UOP officials said the site’s parking lots, which hold 1,600 cars, were filled). Iraschko was just one of the foreign visitors joyous about the enthusiastic spectators. “In Austria, nobody cares what we do. We don’t have anyone watching us. I wish we had more events here … and,” she said wistfully looking up at the big hill, “I hope next time I get to jump the 120,” i.e., the large hill next to the normal hill with its 100-meter designation.

The women head to Calgary for events Tuesday and Wednesday, then have a short break before the tour resumes in mid-August with three jump meets in Germany and one in Austria.

Park City, Utah
Utah Olympic Park – July 22, 2006
Normal hill (HS100 – jump distances in meters)

1. Juliane Seyfahrt, Germany, (96.5-94.5 meters) 245.0 points
2. Anette Sagen, Norway, (97.5-92.5) 244.0
3. Daniela Irachko Austria, (93-92) 234.5
4. Jessica Jerome, Park City, Utah, (92.5-91) 230.5
5. Alissa Johnson, Park City, Utah, (90-93.5) 230.0

7. Abby Hughes, Park City, Utah, (93-89.5) 223.5
10. Lindsey Van, Park City, Utah, (88.5-90.5) 219.5
15. Avery Ardovino, Park City, Utah, (90-85.5) 208.0
17. Brenna Ellis, Park City, Utah, (84.5-84.5) 194.5
22. Karla Keck, Oconomowoc, Wis., (81-76.5) 162.5
24. Karin Friberg, St. Paul, Minn., (75.5-72) 140.0
25. Elisabeth Anderson, Eau Claire, Wis., (71.5-66.5) 119.0
26. Brittany Rhoads, Park City, Utah, (65.5-65) 99.5

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