2023 Norton National Luge Champions Crowned
by USA Luge
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – USA Luge crowned Norton National Champions in four disciplines under cloudy skies and temperatures in the mid-20’s. The cold weather brought hard ice and challenging conditions as the top luge athletes in the United States negotiated the Mt. Van Hoevenberg luge course.
Warm weather for most of the past two weeks made track maintenance a challenge. With a relatively bumpy course, USA Luge officials opted to allow athletes to use their best two out of three runs to determine their total run time.
In the men’s division, 2022 Olympian Jonny Gustafson (Massena, N.Y.) was first with a time of one minute, 45.811 seconds. This was his second national title. 2018 Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer (Salt Lake City, Utah) was second in 1:46.169 and Hunter Harris (East Fairfield, Vt.) was third in 1:46.340. Three-time Olympian Tucker West (Ridgefield, Conn.), one of the pre-race favorites to win, posted the second fastest heat of the day but failed to finish his next two heats.
Zack DiGregorio (Medway, Mass.) and Sean Hollander (Lake Placid, N.Y.) took the men’s doubles win in 1:29.859. Although they are 2022 Olympians and the reigning U23 World Champions, this was DiGregorio and Hollander’s first time competing in a national event as a doubles team. The pair came together months before the Beijing Olympics. 2023 Junior World Championship bronze medalists Marcus Mueller (Brookfield, Wisc.) and Ansel Haugsjaa (Framingham, Mass.) were second with a time of 1:30.666. Dana Kellogg (Chesterfield, Mass.) and Frank Ike (Lititz, Pa.) made their race debut, finishing in third with a time of 1:31.746. Kellogg was partnered with Duncan Segger (Lake Placid, N.Y.) beginning in 2016, but is now competing with Ike. Segger is focusing on his studies in Utah.
Ashley Farquharson (Park City, Utah), a 2022 Olympian, grabbed her first Norton title with a winning time of 1:30.659. The next two spots on the podium were occupied by members of the Junior National Team. In a tight race, Sophia Gordon (Sussex, Wisc.) was second in 1:32.158 and Emma Erickson (Park City, Utah) was third with a time of 1:32.181. Summer Britcher (Glen Rock, Pa.), who has more World Cup wins under her belt than any other woman in USA Luge history, was not able to compete as she attended to a personal matter. Emily Sweeney (Lake Placid, N.Y.) chose to rest her neck as she focuses on the upcoming World Cup season. The 2019 World Championship bronze medalist still contends with lingering issues after a crash at the 2018 Olympics.
In women’s doubles, 2022 World Championship bronze medalists Chevonne Forgan (Chelmsford, Mass.) and Sophie Kirkby (Ray Brook, N.Y.) posted a two-run combined time of 1:32.726. The doubles teams of Maya Chan (Chicago, Ill.) and Reannyn Weiler (Whitesboro, N.Y.), along with Britcher and Sweeney, were on the start list but did not compete. Chan and Weiler crashed in Friday’s training and in an abundance of caution, decided not to race.
On November 14, the team will head to the Canadian resort town of Whistler for training, followed by a trip back to Lake Placid in advance of an International Luge Federation sanctioned training week. That training week will culminate with a start competition for all athletes at 6 PM on December 1. The event will take place at the USA Luge headquarters located at 57 Church Street in Lake Placid and is open to the public at no charge.