Top luge youth compete in Norton National Championships in Utah
by Sandy Caligiore
PARK CITY, Utah – A total of 48 youngsters turned out at the Utah Olympic Park over the weekend for the Norton USA Luge Youth National Championships. In comfortable winter conditions with temps in the 30s, four races were held on the 2002 Olympic track.
For the singles athletes, at stake were three events in two competitions. Saturday and Sunday offered separate two-heat seeding races, while the total of all four heats decided the 2022 Norton National Champions. Doubles action only occurred on Sunday, with one seeding competition also serving as the national championship race.
Unrelated athletes Marcus and Aidan Mueller finished 1-2, respectively, in Youth A Men, with Ansel Haugsjaa in third place. Marcus, of Brookfield, Wis., clocked two runs that totaled 1 minute, 30.011 seconds. That was 0.6 of a second faster than Aidan Mueller, of West Islip, N.Y., and 0.9 ahead of Haugsjaa, of Framingham, Mass.
The Youth A Women’s division was dominated by Sophia Gordon, who captured both heats in 1:26.036. The Sussex, Wis. racer was over one second clear of runner-up Sadie Martin, of Vermontville, N.Y. Brianna Gosnell, of Evansburg, Pa., took the bronze medal with two consistent fourth place runs.
Andrew Robertson survived a rally by Nathan Bivins in the final leg to capture the first seeding race in Youth B with a combined time of 1:28.563. Robertson, of South Jordan, Utah, on his home track, edged Bivins by 0.1 of a second. Bivins, of Castleton, N.Y., posted the fastest second run to secure the silver medal. Christopher Brand, from Downers Grove, Ill., wound up third in 1:28.831 on the strength of the second fastest final run.
Breckan Luedke, of Menasha, Wis., collected the maximum 100 seeding points that are awarded to each victor. Luedke cruised the high-speed UOP layout to pull ahead of second place luge athlete Lillian Arnold. The Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass. competitor was 1.4 seconds off the pace. Third place went to Molly Schomaker, of Park City. Schomaker is one of three sisters entered in the USA Luge youth program. Sister Miriel was fourth in this race, while Macey Schomaker also took fourth in Youth A.
The Norton USA Luge Youth Nationals will conclude Sunday at 10 AM MT with five separate events in singles and doubles deciding the final seeding races and national champions.
Catch all the action on the UOP’s live stream. Please log on to: https://www.youtube.com/user/UtahOlympicPark/videos and click on the red Live link.