LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - The aromas from the pit bosses will once again waft from the Olympic Speed Skating Oval in Lake Placid when the 8th Annual I Love BBQ and Music Festival, benefitting the Thomas Shipman Youth Center in Lake Placid, returns July 4-6. The I LOVE BBQ Junior World Championships will take place on Friday, July 5, while Grand Champion and New York State Championship titles will be decided on Saturday, July 6. Paul Smiths College of the Adirondacks will offer $20,000 in scholarship money for the medal winners in the junior world championships. These events are sanctioned by the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS), which is offering $8,500 in prize money, the most in the history of this event. In addition, the junior world champions will receive $4,000 from the organizing committee. Three-time and defending junior world champion Tiffany Londeen, of Eden Prairie, Minn., will bring her PepperQue team back to Lake Placid. She will be joined by several brothers. Most recently, delish.com ranked the I Love BBQ and Music Festival among its’ top 10 barbecue-themed events and festivals in the country. In addition, the KCBS has ranked the Lake Placid festival in its top 20 nationwide. As a result, the Great American Barbecue Tour will come to the Olympic Oval each day to showcase its culinary talent and offer tastings to the public of different products, both barbecue and non-barbecue. Also, pitmaster Andy King from the Bastey Boys in Massachusetts, a participant every year, recently taped a television segment with Destination America’s BBQ Pitmasters prior to their Lake Placid commitment. USA Luge, the national governing body for the sport in the United States, helps support the organization of the annual event as a means of giving back to its home community. Daily admission is $6 for adults; children under 10 will be admitted free of charge. Festival patrons can sample the many barbecue delicacies during the weekend. There will be a pulled pork tasting event on July 4 from 1-3 PM for $3 per person. A $3 Rib Fest, where the general public can sample the best ribs in the East, will be offered on July 5 from 1-3 PM. It was formerly known as buck-a-rib, and is held in memory of former festival competitor Mike Grudzinskas. Milano North will sponsor the Top Chef competition on July 5, all day, beginning at 12 PM. This event, featuring local chefs and pit masters, will enable patrons to view a food demo, with tasting to follow. The Top Chef event is dedicated to the memory of former competitor and Lake Placid Grand Champion Nancee Gell. Live music, including appearances by Sven Curth, Larry Stone and the Stoneground Express, and other local acts will perform under the tent over the three days. Entertainment will also come in the form of the Krusher BMX Stunt Team, with its high-energy BMX bike and in-line skating exhibitions, all three days. There will be a kid’s bounce around area, face painting and coconut climbing trees as well. And for the second time in festival history, Dynomite, a mechanical bull, will appear in Lake Placid. In the previous seven years of the event, nearly $130,000 has been raised for the Thomas Shipman Youth Center through the I LOVE BBQ AND MUSIC FESTIVAL. For more information and a complete schedule of activities, please click here .
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - A group of accomplished, medal winning young athletes will headline the fall 2013 Junior National Team, including two Youth Olympic Games gold medalists and four overall Youth World Cup medalists. Summer Britcher of Glen Rock, Pa. and Tucker West, of Ridgefield, Conn., 2012 Youth Olympic Games team relay gold medalists, return to the team in the junior age bracket, for those born in 1994 and 1995. Britcher ranked sixth in last year’s overall Junior World Cup, while West placed 18th. Both are no strangers to racing against older and more experienced competitors. At this season’s Norton National Championships, West tied for the gold medal with 2010 Olympian Chris Mazdzer of Saranac Lake, N.Y., while Britcher took third. Riley Stohr, a native of Ludington, Mich. who resides in Whitehall, Mich. and the doubles team of Justin Krewson of Eastport, N.Y. and Tristan Jeskanen of Peru, N.Y. were also named to the team. Stohr won the overall Youth A World Cup silver medal and the Krewson/Jeskanen sled was third in the Youth A doubles World Cup. Theresa Buckley of Allentown, Pa., winner of the 2011-12 overall Youth A World Cup silver medal, earned a spot on the women’s team, along with Britcher. For the 2013-14 luge season, athletes born in 1996-99, including Stohr, Krewson, Jeskanen and Buckley, will be eligible for Youth A competition. Aidan Kelly of West Islip, N.Y. will be joining West in the fall as a member of the men’s team. Kelly ranked 13th in the 2012-13 Junior World Cup. An additional 42 athletes were named to the Junior National C and D teams, providing a healthy crop of future stars for USA Luge. More racers from the western states will be added to the roster in the fall. Junior National C Team Women Sydney Axton (Port Byron, N.Y.) Samantha Carone (Park City, Utah) Raychel Germaine (Roswell, Ga.) Sophie Kirkby (Ray Brook, N.Y.) Shannon Knapp (Marcy, N.Y.) Hannah Miller (Rome, N.Y.) Kaitlin Simi (Park City, Utah) Gracie Weinberg (Middlebury, Vt.) Courtney Yando (Brainardsville, N.Y.) Nikol Yonemura (Salt Lake City, Utah) Men Liam Chaskey (Plattsburgh, N.Y.) Jonny Gustafson (Massena, N.Y.) Blake Hagberg (Utica, N.Y.) Sean Hollander (Lake Placid, N.Y.) Elijah Pedriani (New Haven, Vt.) Charles Poarch (Sandy Hook, Conn.) Duncan Segger (Lake Placid, N.Y.) Nikolaus Steg (Saratoga Springs, N.Y) Justin Taylor (Newark, Del.) Levi Underwood (Skandia, Mich.) Aidan Trimble (Sharon, Vt.) Parker Vance (Orangeville, Pa.) Junior National D Team Women Anna Basaj (Whitehall, Mich.) Katherine Bishop (Carlisle, Mass.) Emma Bowling (Indianapolis, Ind. Rachel Bowling (Indianapolis, Ind.) Emeline Cave (Philpot, Ky.) Sydney Cripps (Indianapolis, Ind.) Ashley Farquharson (Park City, Utah) Chevonne Forgan (Chelmsford, Mass.) Courtney Sepucha (Concord, Mass.) Kaylee Thomas (Chelmsford, Mass.) Men Duncan Biles (Herriman, Utah) Justin Bistrovich (Syracuse, N.Y.) Zach DiGregorio (Medway, Mass.) Peter Hart (Carlisle, Mass.) Ryan Lubetski (Sweet Valley, Pa.) David Osborne (Wellesley, Mass.) Matthew Osborne (Wellesley, Mass.) Evan Scheifelbein (Indianapolis, Ind.) Ian Smith (Carlisle, Mass.) Jayanth Tatikonda (Indianapolis, Ind.) Members of the Junior National Team will hit the ice in early October when the National Team begins its season in Lake Placid, N.Y., with camps scheduled for C and D team athletes throughout the fall and winter. Several members of the Junior National Team will be in summer residence at the Olympic Training Center, as they could be in the mix for Olympic Team berths. Summer camps for C and D team members will also be held in Lake Placid and Park City, Utah. The first Junior World Cup event will take place in Altenberg, Germany on November 29-30.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - The ice has been off the Olympic Sports Complex luge track in Lake Placid for almost a month, but it’s already time to focus on next season. Heading up the Fall 2013 National Team will be World Cup silver medalist Julia Clukey, 2009 World Champion Erin Hamlin and 2010 Olympian Chris Mazdzer. The 2012-13 luge season marked a turning point for Clukey, of Augusta, Maine. The 2010 Olympian ranked sixth in the overall World Cup standings and reached the podium for the first time in her career during the Lake Placid event held in February. Clukey consistently posted top start times all season long, marking a full recovery from a surgical procedure conducted in March of 2011, which involved shaving eight millimeters off the base of her skull to help her relieve headaches, pain and fatigue caused by Arnold Chiari Syndrome. Erin Hamlin, a two-time Olympian from Remsen, N.Y., finished just behind Clukey in the season-long rankings in seventh place. Her top finish of the year was also the Lake Placid event, where she finished fifth. Chris Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., leads the charge for the men’s singles team after a string of personal best results late in the season. At the 2013 World Championships in Whistler, Canada, he finished sixth, only to move up a spot to fifth the following weekend in Lake Placid. Mazdzer shared the Norton National Championship this season with Tucker West of Ridgefield, Conn. following a tie to the 1/1000th of a second after four heats and four miles of racing. Clukey, Hamlin and Mazdzer are automatically qualified for the Fall 2013 National Team. The first five World Cups will be used to determine the make-up of the 2014 Olympic squad. A group of athletes, also named to the National Team and described below, will need to qualify to compete in the fall 2013 World Cup races through a series of competitions held in advance of the World Cup kick off, tentatively scheduled for November 16-17 in Lillehammer, Norway. A pair of Junior World Champions, Emily Sweeney of Suffield, Conn. and Kate Hansen of La Canada, Calif., along with 2012 Glen Rock Pa. native Summer Britcher were named to the women’s team. Sweeney, the reigning Junior World Champion, hopes to qualify for the 2014 Olympic squad after losing a race-off to her sister Megan for a spot on the 2010 team. Sweeney is also a member of the Army World Class Athlete Program (WCAP), which allows her to train and serve her country. Hansen, who also took part in the 2010 race-off, won her Junior World Championship title in 2008 at age 15. Britcher, a member of the Junior National Team, was the bronze medalist at the Norton National Championships held in October of last year. She was a part of USA Luge’s gold medal effort in the team relay at the 2012 Youth Olympic Games. Taylor Morris, of South Jordan, Utah, showed considerable speed and improvement during the 2012-13 luge season, including a personal best seventh place finish at the Lake Placid World Cup. Morris is joined by fellow men’s singles sliders Joe Mortensen, who also posted a career-best 11th place result in the Lake Placid World Cup, was named to the team, along with Isaac Underwood of Skandia, Mich. All three athletes are members of WCAP. In the doubles division, Matt Mortensen of Huntington Station, N.Y. and Preston Griffall of Salt Lake City, Utah, ranked 10th in the 2012-13 overall World Cup standings and WCAP members, were named to the team. Jake Hyrns of Muskegon, Mich. and Andrew Sherk of Fort Washington, Pa., who placed 13th in last season’s standings in their rookie World Cup season, will join Mortensen and Griffall. Two-time Olympian Christian Niccum of Woodinville, Wash. will be hoping to return to World Cup action after surgery on his back and Achilles’ heel kept him and teammate Jason Terdiman, of Berwick, Pa., off the ice last season. The 2012-13 overall Junior World Cup bronze medalists, Ty Andersen of Alpine, Utah and Anthony Espinoza of Park City, Utah were also named to the team. All four teams will race to qualify for the fall team. Only two doubles sleds will advance to Sochi for the Olympics, along with three men and three women. The team tentatively is expected to report to camp in early July in preparations for the Olympic Sports Complex luge track opening, expected in early to mid-October. The 2013 Norton National Championships and fall team selection races will take place in Lake Placid at the end of October and may include other venues.
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - On May 8, USA Luge announced that Claire DelNegro, a veteran in the field of sports management at the Olympic level, has been named as Interim CEO of the organization, effective immediately. DelNegro, of Lynnfield, Mass., has held a number of prominent positions since she first became involved with the world of Winter Olympic sports nearly 35 years ago. She is a 1984 Olympian in luge, competing for Great Britain under her maiden name, Sherred. Her involvement at the organizational level began in 1978, when she served as the Assistant Director of Housing for the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee. She also served as a member of the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee in the Press Services division. DelNegro’s sliding sports management experience runs very deep. She worked for USA Luge for 11 years, serving as International Sports Program Director and Team Manager and serving as Team Leader for the ’92 and ’94 Olympic Games. She then moved on to become the Director of Sliding Sports for the 2002 Games in Salt Lake City, followed by a two-year tenure as the CEO of the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation. She has served as an FIL/IOC Technical Delegate for every Olympic Games since 2002 and will do the same in Sochi next winter. Thanks to her position with the FIL as Vice President of Sport for the last 15 years, Claire brings immediate credibility from a global standpoint. She is an FIL Silver Medal of Honor and IOC Diploma of Recognition recipient. DelNegro, her husband Don, head trainer for the Boston Bruins, and their daughter Renee split their time between Lynnfield and Lake Placid, N.Y. where USA Luge is based. In the meantime, USA Luge will continue their search for a full-time CEO.
How do members of the U.S. National Luge Team get their start in the Fastest Sport on Ice?... through the Norton USA Luge Slider Search, which targets boys and girls ages 9 to 13. Young athletes who want to experience the thrill of luge and train under the guidance of USA Luge national team coaches and athletes can do so when the USA Luge Slider Search rolls into Salt Lake City. Clinics will take place on May 18 from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and 1:30-3:30 p.m. Participants can register for the clinic of their choice and all clinics are FREE! Plus, all participants will receive a free USA Luge t-shirt, courtesy of team sponsor U-Haul. Only 15 participants per session will be allowed, so register today for a chance to begin what could be the start of your Olympic journey. During a Norton USA Luge Slider Search clinic, USA Luge coaches and athletes teach youngsters the basics of riding a luge sled, including position, steering and stopping. Armed with the basics, the young athletes make several runs down a paved street on wheeled sleds. Those who show the most promise at the clinics are invited to train in Park City and will be considered for selection to the US Junior Development Luge Team. The Search produced 2009 women’s World Champion Erin Hamlin along with eight members of the 2010 US Olympic Luge Team. For complete information and to register for the Norton USA Luge Slider Search, call 435-647-3800 or visit www.usaluge.org. USA Luge uses the Slider Search, now in its 28th season, as its primary means of athlete recruitment. US Luge athletes have captured over 590 international medals since 1994. Included in that total are silver and bronze medals during the 1998 and 2002 Olympic Winter Games, 25 World Cup victories, four overall World Cup doubles crowns, 18 Junior World Championship titles and 12 Senior World Championship medals. For safety reasons, participants must be 52 inches in height or greater. Location: Colorow Way. This is off Foothill Dr and Sunnyside Ave in the University of Utah’s Research Park area. Register HERE
The 2012-13 luge season was marked by World Cup medals, a Junior World Championship and steady improvement across the board by the U.S. squad. The season kicked off in an untraditional manner, with the Norton National Championships held in late October, instead of their customary March, post-World Cup calendar slot. Julia Clukey and Matt Mortensen/Preston Griffall earned Norton titles, while Chris Mazdzer and Tucker West tied for the title in men’s singles. The team introduced a new look for the 2012-13 season, with race suits designed by Valiant Entertainment, based on their X-O Manowar character. The team had been using a flame theme on their race suits since 2003. Julia Clukey enjoyed a breakout season in 2012-13 This year saw the emergence of Julia Clukey as a force on the international circuit. The Augusta, Maine native posted eight finishes in the top ten and ranked sixth on the World Cup tour. The USA wins silver at the team relay in Lake Placid. L to R: Chris Mazdzer, Julia Clukey, Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall Clukey was also a part of the silver medal winning relay team at the Lake Placid World Cup. That race was seen live on NBC Sports Network, while the women’s event was seen the next day on the same network. Erin Hamlin notched 6 top-10 finishes and ranked seventh in the overall World Cup, marking yet another season of solid racing. Kate Hansen and Emily Sweeney, youngsters on the team, also hit personal best marks this season. Hansen placed seventh and Sweeney ninth at the Lake Placid event. Chris Mazdzer en route to a career-best 5th place finish The forward momentum was not limited to the women. Chris Mazdzer, whose previous best placing in a non-Olympic field was 14th, placed sixth at the 2013 World Championships. He followed up that personal best with yet another PB - fifth in the Lake Placid World Cup. Taylor Morris, who completed basic training for the Army World Class Athlete Program, also showed signs of speed this season. Morris, while riding a new set of kufens built by Dow Chemical, unofficially set the track record during training in the days following the Sochi World Cup. Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall compete in Lake Placid The duo of Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall’s peak performance of the year also came in Lake Placid, where they placed sixth. In their first full season on the World Cup, Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk posted a career-best eighth place on home ice in Lake Placid. Christian Niccum and teammate Jayson Terdiman spent the majority of the season off the ice, as Niccum recovered from two surgical procedures: one on his back and another to repair a torn Achilles’ heal. The duo did manage to hit the ice in Sochi for the World Cup/test event where they placed 12th. Emily Sweeney, Junior World Champion At the junior level, Emily Sweeney notched her first Junior World Championship title in Park City, much to the joy of the home crowd and over 60,000 viewers online. Ty Andersen and Anthony Espinoza were the doubles bronze medal winners, while the USA took the team relay bronze. Riley Stohr had a banner year, including four consecutive trips to the podium and the overall silver medal in youth A World Cup competition. Andersen and Espinoza finished the season with the bronze medal in the overall junior doubles World Cup standings. The duo of Justin Krewson and Tristan Jeskanen took the bronze in the overall youth World Cup doubles standings. The team will hit the ice again in the fall following a long summer of training. Stay tuned!
Sophie Kirkby, Riley Stohr and Justin Taylor Notch Youth Titles L to R: Katy Simi, Theresa Buckley and Nikol Yonemura LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - On a clear, cold Adirondack morning with slowly rising temperatures, Theresa Buckley of Allentown Pa. added her third Norton Youth A National Championship title in as many years. The competition format featured two runs on Saturday, March 30 and two runs today. The National Championships were determined by adding those four runs together. Buckley won comfortably, clocking a combined time of 2 minutes, 58.892 seconds over Katy Simi, who earned the silver medal thanks, in part, to a very fast final heat. Simi, a Park City, Utah resident and daughter of three-time luge Olympian Bonnie Warner-Simi, clocked a time of 3:00.036. Nikol Yonemura of Salt Lake City earned the bronze medal, despite being one of the smaller athletes in the field of competitors born between 1995 and 1998. Yonemura’s time was 3:00.227. L to R: Justin Krewson, Riley Stohr and Jonny Gustafson In the men’s Youth A division, Riley Stohr, a native of Ludington, Mich. who resides in Whitehall, Mich., took the gold medal for the first time, after placing third at the 2011 and 2012 Youth National Championship events. The reigning Youth A overall World Cup silver medal winner finished in 2:59.707, ahead of Justin Krewson’s silver medal winning time of 3:00.202. Krewson is a doubles specialist who, with teammate Tristan Jeskanen of Peru, N.Y., finished 3rd in this season’s overall youth doubles World Cup. Jonny Gustafson of Massena, N.Y. was third in 3:01.133. L to R: Emeline Cave, Sophie Kirkby and Selina Jeskanen The Youth B category, featuring athletes born in 1999 or later, saw Sophie Kirkby take her first Norton title. The Ray Brook N.Y. native clocked a 3:10.525, enough to edge out Emeline Cave, of Philpot, Ky., who raced to a time of 3:10.944. Selena Jeskanen of Peru, N.Y., took third in 3:16.706. Selena is the younger sister of Tristan Jeskanen. L to R: Sean Hollander, Justin Taylor and Duncan Seeger Another first-time winner was Justin Taylor of Newark, Del., who used four dominant runs to win the Youth B men’s race in 3:05.045. A pair of Lake Placid, N.Y. natives took the two remaining podium spots, with Sean Hollander in second with 3:06.673 and Duncan Seeger in third with 3:08.449. The two days of competition were also treated as stand-alone seeding races, used to help determine the make up of next year’s junior teams. On March 30, Buckley held off second place finisher Yonemura and bronze medalist Simi. Today’s Youth A women’s competition saw Buckley in front again, but Simi and Yonemura reversed spots. Stohr won the first race, with Krewson in second, but the finish order flipped today. Gustafson was third both days. Kirkby, Cave and Jeskanen made up the top three on Saturday, with Ashley Farquharson of Park City, Utah winning today’s event. Kirkby was second and Cave third in Norton Seeding Race #2. The Norton Youth National Championships mark the end of the 2012-13 luge season. Team announcements for the fall of 2013 will be made later this spring. Summer Britcher, who won last weekend’s Norton Junior National Championship, has fun at the award ceremony. She was on hand to help with the race and to present medals to the winners. Norton Youth National Championship Results Norton Youth Seeding Race #2 Results Riley Stohr interview Theresa Buckley interview Justin Taylor interview Sophie Kirkby interview
L to R: Justin Taylor, Riley Stohr, Theresa Buckley and Sophie Kirkby LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - Theresa Buckley, Riley Stohr, Sophie Kirkby and Justin Taylor emerged as winners in the first of two Norton Youth Seeding Races held at the Olympic Sports Complex. A cold start to the morning, combined with low humidity, sunshine and a well-prepared racecourse, produced ideal sliding conditions for this late spring competition. The women’s Youth A competition featured athletes born between 1995-1998. Allentown Pa.’s Buckley, who took gold at the Youth A World Cup in Calgary, Canada this season, won with a time of 1 minute, 29.343 seconds. Nikol Yonemura of Salt Lake City was second in 1:30.073, while Katy Simi of Park City took the bronze in 1:30.105. Riley Stohr of Whitehall, Mich., a member of the U.S. Junior National Team, handily won the men’s Youth A division with a time of 1:29.349. Justin Krewson of Eastport, N.Y., who raced to an overall Youth World Cup bronze medal with teammate Tristan Jeskanen, took the silver medal in 1:30.239. The bronze medal went to Jonny Gustafson of Massena, N.Y., who finished in 1:30.718. Sophie Kirkby won the Youth B Women’s race, which features athletes born in 1999 or 2000, in 1:32.308. Emeline Cave, of Philpot, Ky. was second in 1:35.399, while Selena Jeskanen of Peru N.Y., sister of Tristan, was third in 1:37.750. Justin Taylor of Newark, Del. emerged victorious after his two runs down the hill totaled 1:32.701. Sean Hollander of Lake Placid, N.Y. was second with a time of 1:33.403. The bronze medal went to Duncan Segger, also of Lake Placid, with a time of 1:33.888. Racing resumes tomorrow with the second Norton Youth Seeding Race. The total time from both races will be added up to determine the Norton Youth National Champions in each of the four categories. Norton Seeding Race #2 and Youth National Championship races begin tomorrow, March 31, at 8 AM ET. The action can be seen live on www.usaluge.org, courtesy of West World Media. Results
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - A pair of first-time winners and a return champion stood atop the Norton Junior National Championship podium today at the Olympic Sports Complex, located six miles outside of Lake Placid, N.Y. L to R: Sweeney, Britcher and Buckley Summer Britcher of Glen Rock, Pa. edged out last year’s titlist Emily Sweeney with a winning time of 2 minutes, 58.943 seconds over four heats of racing. Sweeney, the reigning junior World Champion, clocked a time of 2:59.205 in her final race as a junior-level athlete (to age 20). Sweeney used her last junior race to test new runners in preparation for next season. Theresa Buckley, a 16 year old from Allentown, Pa., took the bronze in 1:30.391. Buckley is still eligible to race as a youth competitor (to age 17). Britcher had problems in the opening heat of the competition yesterday, sending her sled into a skid on the exit of curves 12 and 14 on the 1130 meter course. Today was a different story. "They (my race runs) were both so smooth and good today," said the 2012 Norton National Championship bronze medalist. "It was definitely an improvement from yesterday." L to R: West, Kelly and Underwood Aidan Kelley won his first-ever national title after a mistake in the chicane section of the track cost his close friend Tucker West the victory. Kelly, of West Islip, N.Y., finished in 3:04.770, while Ridgefield, Conn. native West, the reigning co-National Champion with Chris Mazdzer, clocked in at 3:04.909. Levi Underwood of Skandia, Mich. was third in 3:08.767. "It feels good," said Kelly of his Norton junior title. "I wish he (West) would have had better runs. I’d feel a little bit better about beating him, but I’ll take a win any way I can get it." The four-run race format over two days is used to emulate the Olympic competition schedule. Each day, two race heats take place for the men and women. The USA Luge coaching staff treats each day as individual, two-run competitions for team selection purposes. Yesterday, West edged out Kelly for the victory, with Underwood in third. Today, Kelly took the win over West, with Riley Stohr of Whitehall, Mich. in third. Sweeney finished in front of Britcher yesterday and the duo swapped spots today. Buckley held third both days. The Olympic doubles format is a two heat competition. As such, today’s competition followed the same format. L to R: Jeskanen, Krewson, Espinoza, Andersen, Underwood and Poarch The team of Ty Andersen and Anthony Espinoza, overall 2012-13 junior World Cup bronze medalists, captured the win in 1:27.995. Justin Krewson of Eastport, N.Y. and Tristan Jeskanen of Peru, N.Y., this year’s overall youth World Cup bronze medalists, were second, stopping the clock in 1:29.141. Underwood teamed with Sandy Hook, Conn. resident Charlie Poarch to take third place in 1.29.965. Underwood and Poarch rebuilt their sled overnight following a crash on Saturday. Yesterday’s finish order was the same as todays in the doubles competition, except Underwood and Poarch did not finish the race following their crash. No bronze medal was awarded, as there were three sleds entered in the competition. Andersen and Espinoza ended their career as junior-level athletes and hope to graduate to the national team ranks next season. "I think we’re both really confident going into seniors (national team)," said Espinoza of Park City, Utah. "But we’re also kind of careful about where egos go. We know it’s going to be some tough competition out there." Andersen, of Alpine, Utah, does plan to make a big push to qualify for the 2014 Olympic in Sochi, Russia next year. "That really is a huge drive," said the 2012 Youth Olympic Games relay gold medalist. "It gives you a nice push every day. It’s awesome." The national luge racing season comes to a close with next weekend’s Norton Youth National Championships. The action can be seen live on www.usaluge.org, courtesy of West World Media. Results Interview with Buckley, Sweeney and Britcher Interview with Underwood, West and Kelly Interview with Underwood, Poarch, Jeskanen, Krewson, Andersen and Espinoza
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. - Although March 20 marked the first day of spring, winter conditions greeted the athletes competing in the Norton Junior National Seeding Race at the Olympic Sports Complex. Temperatures in the low twenties combined with a smooth track to create near-record ice conditions for Tucker West, Emily Sweeney and the doubles team of Ty Andersen and Anthony Espinoza to take gold in their respective categories. The race was the first of two seeding competitions used to help select athletes for the fall 2013 junior national teams. The second seeding race will be held tomorrow at the Olympic Sports Complex. The times from the two days of racing are totaled to determine the National Champions. West, of Ridgefield, Conn., took the gold in 1 minute, 32.437 seconds over West Islip, N.Y. native Aidan Kelly, who crossed the finish line in 1:32.586. Levi Underwood of Skandia, Mich. was third in the men’s competition with a time of 1:33.975. West tied Chris Mazdzer for the gold medal in the 2012 Norton National Championships. Ironically, he has never won a Junior National Championship title. When asked about winning the Junior National Championship title while leading at the half way point, West was cautious. "That’s (the Junior National Championship) the goal, but anything can happen," said the2012 Youth Olympic Games team relay gold medalist. "I have only a tenth (of a second) lead over the next day." Emily Sweeney, the reigning Junior World Champion from Suffield, Conn., took top honors in 1:29.536 over Glen Rock Pa.’s Summer Britcher, who clocked in at 1:29.674. Theresa Buckley of Allentown, Pa. was third with 1:31.143. Sweeney, who made a last minute decision to race in her last competition as a junior (to age 20) athlete, used the race conditions to test new runners. "Things went alright (today), so we’re going to change things up a little more for tomorrow and see how it goes," said the 2012 Norton Junior National Champion of her new runners. "They seem to be alright." Ty Andersen of Alpine, Utah and Anthony Espinoza of Park City, Utah, overall Junior World Cup bronze medalists, won the doubles competition in 1:27.531. Justin Kewson of Eastport, N.Y. and Tristan Jeskanen of Peru, N.Y., overall Youth World Cup bronze medalists, were second in 1:28.958. The duo of Levi Underwood and Charlie Poarch from Sandy Hook, Conn. crashed in their second run and did not finish the race. Both athletes were uninjured, but their sled was damaged. The USA Luge coaching staff will attempt to repair the sled overnight. Tomorrow’s races can be seen live at 8:00 AM ET on www.usaluge.org, courtesy of West World Media. Tucker West and Aidan Kelly interviews Emily Sweeney interview Summer Britcher (first voice you hear) and Theresa Buckley interview Results
Luge fans can tune in to the Norton Junior National Seeding Races and Junior National Championships beginning at 8:00 AM ET on March 23 and 24. Two-heat seeding races will be held on both days, while the Junior National Championships will be determined by the combining the times of the four runs taken during the two seeding races. Emily Sweeney will be back to defend her in her last year of junior eligibility, while men’s champion Ty Andersen will focus on doubles with teammate Anthony Espinoza. Visit www.usaluge.org each race day to see the action live!
LAKE PLACID, NY - The competitive luge season came to an end on March 16-17 for members of the U.S. national luge team with Norton Seeding Races #3 and #4. Erin Hamlin and Taylor Morris were the winners in the women and men’s competitions, respectively. L to R: Britcher, Hamlin and Sweeney . Photos courtesy Cynthea Wight Hamlin, of Remsen, N.Y., who finished the 2012-13 World Cup season ranked seventh, edged out Summer Britcher of Glen Rock, Pa. on both days of competition. Emily Sweeney of Suffield, Conn. was third in each race. Hamlin earned 200 seeding points, Britcher 170 and Sweeney 140. L to R: Mortensen, Morris and Underwood In the men’s division, Taylor Morris of South Jordan, Utah comfortably won both races. Tucker West of Ridgefield, Conn. was the silver medalist in race #3, with Joe Mortensen of Huntington Station, N.Y. taking bronze. The following day, Mortensen moved up a spot on the podium to take silver, while Skandia, Michigan’s Isaac Underwood took bronze. Morris finished with 200 points to win the series, while Mortensen finished second with 155 points. Underwood ranked third with 130 points. The top two finishers in the women’s competition and the top male finisher are guaranteed entry into the fall 2013 Norton National Championship and Seeding Races. Norton Seeding Race #1 and #2, held in October of 2012, were used to help select members of the fall World Cup squad. There were some notable omissions from the start list for the race series. 2013 Lake Placid World Cup silver medalist Julia Clukey of Augusta, Maine opted not to compete, since she has already qualified for the fall races based on her World Cup results. Instead, she chose to forerun for both days of competition. In the doubles division, Matt Mortensen of Huntington Station, N.Y. and Preston Griffall of Salt Lake City, Utah, also pre-qualified for the fall 2013 Norton National Championships and Seeding Races, decided not to compete. Their teammates Christian Niccum of Woodinville, Wash. and Jayson Terdiman of Berwick, Pa. did not race. Niccum is focusing on rehabilitating his Achilles tendon, which was torn and surgically repaired in late December of 2012. However, two teams did square off in an informal competition. Ty Andersen of Alpine, Utah and Anthony Espinoza of Park City, Utah finished in front of Jake Hyrns of Muskegon, Mich. and Andrew Sherk of Fort Washington, Pa. in both competitions. Andersen and Espinoza are members of the junior national team, while Sherk and Hyrns raced as national team athletes for the first time this season, ranking 13th in the 2012-13 World Cup. Luge competitions resume in Lake Placid this weekend with the Norton Junior National Championships and Seeding Races. Competitions can be viewed live on www.usaluge.org, courtesy of West World Media. Results here