Norton Youth National Champions crowned in Utah
by Sandy Caligiore
PARK CITY, Utah – The USA Luge youth racing season concluded Sunday on the 2002 Olympic track in Park City, Utah with the second of two seeding races and the crowning of the 2022 Norton USA Luge National Champions, which combines all runs from both days.
It was a windy, wintery scene in the Wasatch Mountains as about six inches of snow fell over the weekend with Sunday temperatures in the 20s. The Utah Olympic Park track crew had the ice race ready for the 10 AM local start time as 48 youth luge athletes raced for seeding points and a national title.
It was a noteworthy day for Marcus Mueller of Brookfield, Wis. and Sophia Gordon, of Sussex, Wis. Mueller won the two Youth A seeding races, as well as the 2022 Norton singles and doubles crowns, while Gordon grabbed three singles gold medals in Youth A women.
Mueller entered the weekend after finishing second in the Youth A World Cup singles standings on the strength of three podium results in six races. His combined four heats in the seeding races totaled 3 minutes, 01.230 seconds, good enough for an 0.8 of a second victory over Aidan Mueller, no relation, of West Islip, N.Y.
Aidan Mueller, fourth in the Youth A World Cup rankings, was runner-up in all three singles events – the two seeding races and the Norton national event. Ansel Haugsjaa, of Framingham, Mass., fifth in the Youth A World Cup standings, placed third and fourth in the seeding races and third for the Norton championship. Jeff Sichler grabbed a third-place result in the second seeding race and fourth in the nationals.
Haugsjaa teamed with Marcus Mueller for the Norton doubles championship that also served as a seeding race. They were the 2022 Youth A World Cup doubles overall champions with three gold medals and one bronze in six starts.
Aidan Mueller joined Frank Ike, of Lititz, Pa. for silver medals in the doubles nationals and seeding competition. Over the winter, they were fourth-ranked on the overall Youth A World Cup tour. Mueller/Ike finished almost 0.26 of a second from the winners. Third place in doubles went to Logan Barnes of Milwaukee with Wolfgang Lux, of Swanton, Vt.
In the second seeding race, Gordon, ninth in the Youth A World Cup, won by 1.3 seconds over second place Talia Tonn, of Cecil, Wis., and third place Brianna Gosnell, of Evansburg, Pa. However, Gosnell’s consistency over both days brought her to second place in the national championship event, with Sadie Martin, of Vermontville, N.Y., third. Martin took second place in the opening seeding race.
Youth B women saw a repeat all the way as 2022 Norton National Champion Breckan Luedke, of Menasha, Wis., was never headed in the three competitions. She stayed well in front of second place Lillian Arnold, of Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. and third place Molly Schomaker, of Park City. Schomaker is one of three sisters currently on USA Luge youth rosters.
The most volatility occurred in Youth B men where Nathan Bivins, of Castleton, N.Y., second Saturday in the first seeding event, captured the second race. The combination of all four heat times gave him the division’s Norton crown.
Chase Somers, from Saginaw, Mich., was second in the seeding race and third in the U.S. championship chase. Andrew Robertson was the day one winner, but the South Jordan athlete slipped to third on his home track in the second seeding event, and took the silver medal in the race for national honors.
With the 2021-2022 youth campaign now concluded, attention turns to next weekend’s Norton USA Luge Junior National Championships at the same venue which will bring the organization’s racing season to a close.