SILVER FOR TEAM USA IN RELAY
by Lauren Howe
ST. MORITZ, Switzerland—The FIL Luge World Cup continued today in St. Moritz, Switzerland, with Team USA winning the silver medal in the team relay event. The team, which comprised of Emily Sweeney, Tucker West and the doubles team of Zack DiGregorio and Sean Hollander, were edged out by the foursome from Germany.
Sweeney (Lake Placid, N.Y.) was the first sled to hit the ice for the United States. She made a small mistake exiting the famous Horseshoe curve but maintained enough speed to be within striking range of the top teams. West had the fastest reaction time out of the start gate, followed by a clean run. Like West before them, DiGregorio (Medway, Mass.) and Hollander (Lake Placid, N.Y.) posted the fastest reaction time of the race. After successfully negotiating the longest track on the World Cup circuit, the duo hit the paddle and stopped the clock in two minutes, 5.555 seconds, good enough for the silver medal.
“We are super stoked about getting a silver here in St Moritz,” said Hollander.
DiGregorio added, “Today was a great race with all the work we have done throughout the year, so it’s great to see some results. We still need to make some progress for sure, but we’re finally on the right track. Our coaches are working hard and all the support we have is amazing, so now we need to make that final step.”
“I’m really excited to leave St. Moritz with a medal in the Team relay. After yesterday’s race, it was clear that I didn’t have the correct set up for this track or these weather conditions,” said West. “(USA Luge coaches) Lubo (Mick) and Kaspars (Dumpis) spent hours last night redoing the sled setup to find more speed today. I think we’re still a long way from where we need to be but hopefully it was a step in the right direction. The team is always strong racing together, so it’s great to see that pay off.”
Team Germany’s Dajana Eitberger, Max Langenhan and the doubles team of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, won the racein 2:51.301, with Team Austria’s Madeleine Egle, Nico Gleirscher, and Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller taking bronze in 2:51.716.
Germany broke the tie with Latvia for first place in the overall standings with 455 points and placing Latvia in second with 415. Team USA is in third with 265 points.
Coming into St. Moritz, the U.S. squad, like many other teams, paired down the number of athletes competing in the final two events of the season. Sweeney was the only athlete representing the United States in today’s race.
The first heat rankings saw Sweeney sitting in third place, a scant .107seconds from the lead. Following problems in the middle section of the track on her second run, she dropped back to 11th place with a time of 1:48.754. Germany secured a podium sweep, with Dajana Eitberger taking gold in 1:48.396, Julia Taubitz with silver in 1:48.406, and Anna Berreiter in third in 1:48.467.
“It was a bummer to have the mistakes I had in the second run of my singles race. I’m really happy I was able to do enough in the team relay to give the guys a chance at a podium,” said Sweeney. “They had great runs and really earned it for us all. Zack and Sean’s moms were here so it was great to celebrate with a bit of home on the road and enjoy a good ending to St. Moritz!”
Taubitz remains at the top of the World Cup overall standings in first place with 892 points. Eitberger is in second with 802, and Berreiter is third with 719. Sweeney is in fifth place with 542. After finishing their season in Winterberg last weekend, Americans Ashley Farquharson (Park City, Utah) earned 343 points, Summer Britcher (Glen Rock, Pa.) has 279, and Brittany Arndt with 222.
World Cup competition concludes in Winterberg, Germany on February 23-24, when the overall champions will be determined for the 2022-2023 season. To watch all races live and to view archived competitions, please visit the FIL’s YouTube channel:. The entire World Cup and World Championship season can be accessed from this portal.