Tara Geraghty-Moats jumped to her first U.S. title in Lake Placid on Sunday.
LAKE PLACID, NY (Oct. 9, 2016) - Tara Geraghty-Moats (W. Fairly, VT) withstood a challenge from hometown favorite Nina Lussi (Lake Placid, NY) to win her first U.S. title, taking the normal hill event at the U.S. Ski Jumping Championships on the HS100 meter jump in Lake Placid.
In the opening round, Geraghty-Moats soared 92.0 meters with Lussi five meters back. Geraghty-Moats flew 102.0 meters in the final round, to 100.0 for Lussi.
Junior Gabby Armstrong (Lake Placid, NY) won her first championship medal, finishing third.
“I couldn't have dreamt of a better day to win my first national title,” said Geraghty-Moats, who left biathlon a few years ago to focus on ski jumping. “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.”
It was a homecoming for Lussi, who has been basing her training in Slovenia this summer, along with Geraghty-Moats and Nita England (Florence, WI).
“The Flaming Leaves Festival has always been one of my favorite competitions,” said Lussi. “This was a great weekend not only because it served as a chance for me to come home and see my family, but also for a great battle for the national title. Tara and I have jumped against each other on this hill for as long as we can remember. In the second round, we both landed at and over 100 meters which was pretty awesome! It's going to be interesting to see what the winter has in store for us.”
It was an important event for Women’s Ski Jumping USA bringing both veterans and juniors together on the Olympic jumps.
“We had a great week in Lake Placid for the annual Flaming Leaves event,” said Women’s Ski Jumping USA Coach Blake Hughes. “The weather was a little interesting during the event and the jury and competition management did an excellent job ensuring we had a safe and fair competition."
Hughes was pleased with the performance of Geraghty-Moats and Lussi, who staged a strong battle for the title, as well as young Armstrong.
“This was a great result for Gabby and a positive showing to the development of the next generation of young talent for the ladies team,” he added.
“Flaming Leaves Festival is always an exciting event, with the NYSEF competition as a fun prelude to Sunday's national championships,” said Armstrong. “It was great to compete with all my friends and teammates on my home hill, and the favorable conditions on my last competition jump, both the wind and the hometown crowd, capped off my summer season.”
“I’m happy with my level of training this summer and very excited to get back to the World Cup this winter,” said Geraghty-Moats. “My biggest challenge this winter will not be on the hill, but off, in terms of finding enough funding to finish out the season, as my team is currently not funded.”
The women head back to final training before the FIS Ski Jumping World Cup tour opens Dec. 1-3 in Lillehammer, Norway. The USA will be led by Geraghty-Moats, Englund and 2013 World Champion Sarah Hendrickson (Park City, UT), who is expected to return to competition.