NOTODDEN, NORWAY — The Visa U.S. Women’s Ski Jumping Team rallied this weekend in the Ladies Continental Cup (COC) in Notodden, Norway to take three places in the top 10. On Dec. 19, Sarah Hendrickson placed 4th, Alissa Johnson 6th and Jessica Jerome 9th. Abby Hughes finished 14th.
After six COC comps, 15-year-old Hendrickson is ranked 4th in the world just behind veterans Daniela Iraschko, AUT, Ulrike Graessler, GER, and Anette Sagen, NOR. Visa Women’s coach Kjell Magnussen said everything is clicking for Hendrickson so far, including her confidence and consistency.
For Johnson, 22, the second day of comps in Notodden marked the first time she broke the top 6 in almost a year. “I had an awesome trial jump (Friday) but then lost some feeling in the first round. (Saturday) I decided to skip my trial and go for it,” she said. “I think this worked really well for me because I knew I just had to go up there and do it.”
All four U.S. jumpers improved their scores from the first Notodden comp to the second. On Dec. 18, Hendrickson was 5th, Jerome 11th, Johnson 13th and Hughes 18th.
Hughes, who placed third in U.S. Nationals in October, said she’s going to make some mental adjustments in preparation for the next part of the season. “I’ve been having a hard time turning my brain off in competition,” she said referring to over thinking her comp jumps. On Friday, she nailed 4th in 9th places in training, but couldn’t transfer that to comp time.
The Ladies COC takes a two-week break and starts back up in Baiersbronn, Germany on Saturday, Jan. 2.