Ski jumper gets 'trucking'

— Despite experiencing some sleep deprivation, defending U.S. ski jump champion Brendan Doran hit the hills Wednesday morning with a lot of energy.

"It's starting to hit me now," said Doran, who caught only a few winks prior to arriving in Park City, Utah, for the U.S. Chevy Truck Jumping and Nordic Combined Championships.

The local jump king went through his first day of practice Wednesday in preparation for the competition that runs Friday through Sunday.

Doran, a 22-year-old U.S. Ski Team member from Steamboat Springs, arrived in Steamboat at about 1 a.m. Tuesday after returning on a flight from Scandinavia.

He competed in a series of Continental Cup meets in Norway and Sweden over the weekend.

After arriving in Steamboat early Tuesday, he left at about 10 a.m. the same morning for Park City.

On Wednesday, he was up at 4 a.m. getting himself ready for the first day of practice jumps that began at 6 a.m. on the normal hill.

Doran, the returning normal hill champion, is one of at least six local U.S. Ski Team members who will compete in the national championships.

Todd Wilson, Steamboat Springs Winter Sports Club nordic director, said 21 local athletes are expected to take part in the national championships.

The jumpers are hoping for at least one night of cold weather to help improve snow conditions.

On Wednesday, reported temperatures at Park City were as high as 62 degrees.

There also is rain in the forecast for the rest of the week.

Doran says he feels strong on the normal hill (small hill) but wants to improve his performance on the large hill.

Last year, he took third place at the large hill competition at Howelsen Hill.

"I think the small hill's my better strength right now,"

Doran said.

"I'm very tall so I carry a lot more weight, and on the large hill, there's a little bit more flying involved.

"But, hopefully I can get some good results on the large hill."

Clint Jones, who also is a U.S. Ski Team member from Steamboat Springs, will be competing in Park City, also.

Jones, who is 16 years old, was the No. 1 finisher at the large hill tourney at the 2000 national championships in Steamboat.

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