Lyons tops field in ski jumping tournament

In one of a series of weekly Friday evening ski jumping tournaments held under the auspices of the St. Paul Junior Ski Club, Tartan senior Johnny Lyons soared from the 45-meter Harrington Hill located in south Maplewood for a pair of 163-foot leaps.

The distances by Lyons matched the hill record established back in 1991 by North High graduate and former U.S. Olympian Kip Sundgaard.

The “Jack Frost Tournament” was one of seven regularly scheduled Friday evening tournaments held at the club’s Carver Lake Nordic Area.

The leaps by Lyons came on a night when conditions were near perfect. There was little wind on an evening when the temperatures hovered in the mid-20s.

In matching the record of 163 feet, Lyons, who was recently selected to be a member of the U.S. Junior Worlds Team, earned 162.4 total points to outdistance the field of 20 competitors (all members of the St. Paul Junior Ski Club) competing in several categories in the meet.

Topping the girls class competitions was Karin Friberg. The 16-year-old was the only competitor in Class I (for competitors 16 and 17 years of age) but her two leaps of 148 feet earned her 136.9 points, good for fourth place overall.

In other girls’ competitions, Riley Beskar jumped 13-15 feet from the 10 meter “Rabbit Ears” slide to earn 83.1 points and the top spot for Class VI (ages 7 and under).

Competition moved to the 20-meter hill where Class V jumper (ages 8-9) Elizabeth Wallace soared 35 and 37 feet to earn 94.8 points and first place.

Wallace also moved up to compete in Class IV and in Class III competitions. Class III competition was held on the 30-meter slide and Wallace soared 50-51 feet but fell on both rides to drop her point totals in that competition to near zero.

Then, in Class I from the 45-meter Harrington Hill, Friberg leaped 148 feet on each of her two competitive rides to earn 136.9 points and round out the girls’ competitions.

In boys Class VI (10m) Josh Rauch had jumps of 15-16 and 88.7 points for the number one spot.

In Class V (20m), Trevor Edlund leaped 46-48 for 125.7 points to edge out Ryan Johnson who sailed 47-46 and earned 118.5 points.

Class IV (30m) ski jumper Christian Friberg topped the boys 10-11-year-olds with leaps of 82-83 and 140.0 points.

Class III (45m) competition saw Friberg move up to compete in a more difficult competition from the 45 meter Harrington Hill, but his efforts were thwarted by Brain Wallace, who had a first round leap of 146 feet. He then sailed 152 feet on a fine ride to earn 143.1 total points and second place overall in the tournament.

The final class, Class I for 16-17 year old competitors, saw Johnny Lyons gain style points of 68.0 (out of 80) and 162.4 total points on his two hill-record, tying 163-foot leaps.

Tournaments, which are open free to the public, will continue at the St. Paul Ski Club’s Carver Lake Nordic Area on Jan. 27 for the Hall of Fame Meet; Jan. 28 (Saturday at 6 p.m.) for the National Masters Tournament; Feb. 10 for the Winterfest Hoppe; Feb. 17 for the Tom Harrington Invitational; Feb. 24 for the Ski Flyers Classic; and March 3 for the Spring Fling Slush Meet.

Registration for competitors begins 45 minutes prior to tournaments, which get underway at 7 p.m.

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