Idyllwild’s Lauren Salter finished fourth in the 2012 U.S. National Skeleton Championship title races this weekend at Mt. Van Hoevenberg, near Lake Placid, N.Y.

Salter finished only 1.66 seconds behind the winner, Megan Henry. The competition was composed of four heats over the weekend. Salter was second after the first three, but incurred a bad bump during her final run and lost a full second to Henry. Salter and Henry had the same times — 56.98 seconds — in the second heat.

“I’m very happy with my performance. I had a glimpse of being in medal position after ending the first day of racing in 2nd place, which was an incredible feeling after my performance at Team Trials in October,” Salter wrote in an email Monday. Last fall, she finished last in a field of 16, this weekend she was fourth out of 18 and nearly in metal contention.

Looking forward, Salter is very happy with her prospects. “It’s hard not to be optimistic! I’ve learned so much during this season, despite not being on a competitive circuit,” she wrote. “Each peak and valley that I experienced this year taught me a new lesson. I wouldn’t have gained so much this year without the failure in the beginning, so it’s really come full circle.”

The competitive but selfless athlete also acknowledged the help and support she has received all year from America’s Cup coach Rebecca Sorenson. “She really helped me prepare for Nationals, and I am so lucky to have her here,” Salter said.

Her next and final 2011-12 season’s competition will be the America’s Cup race, March 29 to April 1 in Lake Placid.