From worst to first
Last year, Manon Maurer competed at the U.S. Junior National Ski Jumping Championships in Park City.
The Parkite didn’t do very well in front of her hometown crowd, finishing in last place.
This year in Minneapolis, the 16-year-old flipped the script, capturing the junior national championship on March 2.
After 2012’s disappointing effort, Maurer said this year’s title was a welcome surprise.
"I didn’t jump well at all," Maurer said of her 2012 performance. "I’ve been training a lot harder this year, so it’s nice to see that pay off. But I definitely didn’t expect to win."
Maurer’s start in ski jumping resembles that of another Parkite, current women’s ski jumping world champion Sarah Hendrickson.
"I started jumping when I was six years old," Maurer said. "I followed in my older brother Dillon’s footsteps."
Hendrickson’s older brother, Nick, also was a ski jumper for a couple years before she started jumping.
Maurer said Hendrickson is someone she tries to emulate when she’s jumping.
"I’ve known her since I started," she said. "I’ve always looked up to her."
She hopes to continue following Hendrickson’s lead. While Hendrickson is aiming to compete in the 2014 Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia, Maurer is hoping to compete in the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
In the meantime, she would like to enter more international events.
"This upcoming summer, I want to compete more in Europe," she said.
She competed at the 2013 Junior World Championships in Liberec, Czech Republic, but didn’t jump as well as she would have liked. Still, the experience will help her in the long run, she said.
"I was jumping with some of the best women’s ski jumpers in the world," she said.
So while success internationally has yet to come, Maurer has joined the ranks of the elite junior ski jumpers in America.
With her win in Minneapolis, she added her name to the list of Parkites who have won the women’s ski jumping junior national title. The list also includes Hendrickson, Lindsey Van, Jessica Jerome and Abby Hughes.
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