Sweeney, West, Kellogg/Segger sweep selection races as team concludes fall training in Park City
by Sandy Caligiore
PARK CITY, Utah – Emily Sweeney and Tucker West completed sweeps of the USA Luge singles selection races Monday, while the team of Dana Kellogg and Duncan Segger did the same in doubles as the national team concluded its stay in Park City.
“Overall, we had a good pre-season and got the most out of it, and we can look optimistically into the near future when we get to compare to our international competition for the first time this season,” said Robert Fegg, national team head coach.
In a closer race than Sunday’s, Sweeney, of Lake Placid, slid to a 0.2 of a second victory over local slider Ashley Farquharson in warm, softer conditions as temperatures approached 50 degrees. Sweeney, a 2018 Olympian and 2019 World Championship bronze medalist, jumped out to a first run advantage of almost 0.3 before Farquharson posted the fastest second heat time. The winner clocked a combined 1 minute, 31.616 seconds to Farquharson’s 1:31.832. Brittney Arndt, also of Park City, took third place in 1:32.342.
All three American women were named to the World Cup squad along with two-time Olympian Summer Britcher, of Glen Rock, Pa. Britcher was exempt from the qualifying process due to her sixth-place effort in the 2021 World Championships.
Kellogg, of Chesterfield, Mass., and Segger, of Lake Placid, also won on consecutive days at the Utah Olympic Park as the youngsters, who debuted on the World Cup two seasons ago, cruised to victory in 1:31.514. They bested Zack DiGregorio, of Medway, Mass., and Sean Hollander, of Lake Placid by over one second. The sled of Chevonne Forgan, of Chelmsford, Mass., and Sophie Kirkby, of Lake Placid, took third in 1:33.726.
Due to weather and track conditions this month, only two selection races were held in doubles and women’s singles, while the men squeezed in all three.
USA Luge will send three doubles sleds to the World Cup opener Nov. 20-21 in Beijing, led by 2018 Olympic silver medal winner Chris Mazdzer, of Salt Lake City, despite a broken foot. He is set to team with doubles partner Jayson Terdiman, a 2014 and 2018 Olympian from Berwick, Pa. As a result of Mazdzer’s injury which he incurred earlier this month in Sochi, neither have taken a doubles run this season on their new sled. They received a World Cup spot as the result of a discretionary choice by the selection committee. The teams of Kellogg/Segger and DiGregorio/Hollander will also make the trip to Beijing in November.
Mazdzer was also given a discretionary place on the men’s singles team, and will join West and Jonny Gustafson. West, of Ridgefield, Conn., a member of the past two Olympic teams, won all three selection competitions. He posted 1:43.806 Monday on the 2002 Olympic track. Gustafson, of Massena, N.Y., eyeing his first Olympic berth, had a pair of runs totaling 1:45.604 as he returned from non-COVID symptoms.
Up next for the national team is the highly anticipated three-week sojourn to the Yanqing National Sliding Center next month. In all, 13 American sliders will begin the World Cup tour; 10 will be nominated for the Olympic Games in mid-January.
“Everyone is looking forward to a few days off to recharge before going to China,” continued Fegg. “Another big thank you to everyone who made this pre-season successful.”