Lake Placid, NY (Oct. 11, 2016) – Will Rhoads and Tara Geraghty-Moats rose above their compatriots to take home US National Titles on the Normal Hill (HS100m) on Sunday. Rhoads came into the event as the National Champion on the Large Hill from earlier this summer in Park City, UT, making his victory in Lake Placid his third National Title to date. Geraghty-Moats of Vermont won over hometown athletes Nina Lussi and Gabby Armstrong.
Rhoads led after the first round with a 101m effort, and then consolidated his lead with a huge second leap of 106m – just 2 meters shy of the summer hill record. Rhoad’s contenders included Mike Glasder (Norge Ski Club), who won the Flaming Leaves competition on Saturday on the HS100m and also won the Normal Hill Championship the year prior in 2015. Kevin Bickner (Norge Ski Club) earned Silver, with jumps of 100.5m and 95.5m. Youngster Casey Larson (Norge Ski Club) put down a jump of 100.5m in the second round to take Bronze by one point over his older teammate, Mike Glasder.
“Today was great for me as I snagged my third national title, first one on the small hill!” said Rhoads. “The wind conditions were a bit tricky during the competition, but I had two solid jumps that landed me on top of the podium. It is nice to continue gaining momentum as the summer has progressed and I am looking forward to the upcoming winter season!”
The competitions in Lake Placid marked the end of a strong summer campaign for the US jumpers. Bickner lead the team in international competitions this summer, with breakout results on the Summer Grand Prix (SGP) circuit. Despite skipping two of the SGP weekends, Bickner finished 26th overall in the circuit, snagging two top-8 results along the way. The SGP circuit is the highest level of ski jumping competitions in the summer, much like the winter World Cup.
Rhoads had a late start to overseas competitions this summer, as he rehabbed from a fractured wrist. In late September, he marked his return to the international stage with an 11th in a Continental Cup in Stamms, AUT. He followed this up with a 5th place in a Continental Cup in Klingenthal, GER on October 1, and a 24th on the same hill, but in a Grand Prix competition the next day.
The team is now looking towards getting on snow and the first World Cups of the season, starting November 24 in Ruka, FIN. “I am very excited with the level of our team heading into the winter,” said team director Clint Jones. “The entire group has made some big improvements over the summer, and today’s competition was a great example of that. Our team is really looking forward to carrying this level into the winter season.”
The women’s Championship, which has previously been dominated by the likes of Jessica Jerome, Sarah Hendrickson and Lindsey Vann, saw a new victor: first time champion Geraghty-Moats.
“I couldn’t have dreamt of a better day to win my first national title,” said Geraghty-Moats. “It was a gift to put on a good performance for everyone here in the East that has helped me get to this level. I felt good all weekend, but not 100 percent satisfied with my takeoff until everything clicked for my last jump.”
The women’s World Cup tour begins December 1 in Lillehammer, NOR.
See the full results here.