Sarah Hendrickson bounced back Saturday from her disappointing individual performance at the junior world ski jumping championships to set a hill record and lead her fellow Americans to an eighth-place finish in the team competition.
Two days after finishing only sixth because of a poor first jump, the 18-year-old from Park City soared an astonishing 106 meters to break the hill record of 104.5 set last year by former world champion Daniela Iraschko of Austria.
"Honestly, I woke up this morning just thinking I was going to go far today," Hendrickson said. "I felt like I was going to go 106. I just went back to the basics today."
Hendrickson is a former junior world silver- and bronze-medalist and had hoped to win the individual competition. But she let the pressure get to her on her first jump, traveling only 89 meters and dooming her chances to beat rival Sara Takanashi of Japan.
She still has the senior world championships to contest next month in Italy.
"Sarah is the kind of athlete that can fix everything in a fast way when she's relaxed," coach Paolo Bernardi said. "She was focused and happy today, and that enabled her to jump at her level. She was back to normal."
Slovenia ran away with the team title with 1,009 points, ahead of France, Germany and Norway. It was the first time the United States had fielded a team for the event; the event was canceled two years ago because of bad weather, and the Americans had only three jumpers last year, and they needed four.