FORGAN/KIRKBY FIFTH AS WORLD CUP RACING BEGINS IN ST. MORITZ
by Lauren Howe
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland –The penultimate of nine stops for the 45th FIL World Cup season began today in St. Moritz, Switzerland. Chevonne Forgan and Sophie Kirkby led Team USA, placing fifth in women’s doubles. Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander were seventh in men’s doubles, while Tucker West was 14th in men’s singles.
Coming into St. Moritz, the U.S. squad, like many other teams, paired down the number of athletes who will compete in the final two events of the season. Team USA only sent the top points earners in each discipline to the Swiss resort town. Forgan/Kirkby, DiGregorio/Hollander and West met the standard to compete. Emily Sweeney, who also met the standard in women’s singles, will compete tomorrow.
It was a nail-biting race between the gold and silver medal. World Champions Jessica Degenhardt and Cheyenne Rosenthal of Germany won the gold and earned their tenth podium finish of the season with a time of 1:49.577. The Germans crossed the finish line just ahead of Italy’s Andrea Vötter and Marion Oberhofer, who took silver with a time of 1:49.579. Latvia’s Viktorija Ziedina and Selina Zvilna placed third, marking their first podium of this season, finishingin 1:50.703.
The American team of Forgan (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Kirkby (Ray Brook, N.Y.) had two clean runs and finished fifth in 1:50.768
Vötter/Oberhofer remain the overall World Cup leaders with 940 points. Selina Egle and Lara Kipp from Austria are in second with 815, and Degenhardt/Rosenthal are in third with 813. Forgan/Kirkby are fourth with 580 points. The U.S. teams of Maya Chan (Chicago, Illinois) and Reannyn Weiler (Whitesboro, N.Y.) finished their season with 428 points, and Sweeney (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Summer Britcher (Glen Rock, Pa.) finished their season with 295 points.
In another close race, Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt took advantage of fast starts, solid driving and excellent sled preparation to win the gold medal in 1:47.183. Teammates Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken took silver in 1:47.228, with Latvia’s Martins Bots and Roberts Plume in third with a time of 1:47.424.
2022 Olympians DiGregorio (Medway, Mass.) and Hollander (Lake Placid, N.Y.) continued theirconsistent season, placing seventh in 1:47.859.
Wendl/Arlt sit on top of the World Cup overall standings, with 914 points. Eggert/Benecken are in second with 870 points, while Bots/Plume are in third with 711. DiGregorio/Hollander hold eighth with 476 points. Dana Kellogg (Chesterfield, Mass.) and Duncan Segger (Lake Placid, N.Y.) finished the season with 254 points.
The temperature continued to climb in St. Moritz for the men’s race resulting in softer ice conditions. Germany’s Max Langenhan won his fourth consecutive World Cup gold medal of the season with a time of 2:13.596. Three-time Olympic gold medalist Felix Loch of Germany won silver in 2:13.607, and Latvia’s Kristers Aparjods placed third in 2:13.948.
West (Ridgefield, Conn.), one of the strongest athletes at the start, launched off the water-soaked ramp with a pair of third place start times. He finished in 14th with atime of 2:15.001 as he and USA Luge continue to search for more speed in his sled set-up.
Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller is first place in the overall standings with 757 points. Loch is in second with 721, and Wolfgang Kindl of Austria is in third with 600. U.S. athletes are led by West in ninth with 434 points. Jonny Gustafson (Massena, N.Y.) ended his season with 327 points. 2018 Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer only competed in North America and finished his season with 114 points.
World Cup racing continues in St. Moritz tomorrow, February 19, with the women’s singles and team relay events. The 2022-2023 World Cup season concludes in Winterberg, Germany, February 25-26, 2023. To watch all races live and view archived competitions, please visit the FIL’s YouTube channel:. The entire World Cup and World Championship season can be accessed from this portal.