PARK CITY, Utah - Continental Cup podium performers Peter Frenette of Saranac Lake and Sarah Hendrickson lead a squad of 12 nordic combined and ski jumping athletes named by the U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association to the World Junior Nordic Championship Team Monday.
Lake Placid's Nina Lussi will also be part of the team as a ski jumper. The squad includes athletes from USSA clubs across the nation and will travel to Otepaa, Estonia to compete Jan. 27-30.
Frenette will lead the men's ski jumping team after a strong start to his season. The 2010 Olympian showed his strength with a second in Sapporo, Japan at the Continental Cup, automatically qualifying him for the team. He followed that with the best U.S. World Cup finish in seven years Sunday, finishing 18th.
On the women's side Hendrickson will lead a talented group of women's ski jumpers. Hendrickson has reached the podium four times this season including a win at a Continental Cup this summer in Bischofsgrun, Germany. She's 4-for-4 in top 10s on the winter tour, including a near miss for a win in Vikersund, finishing second in December.
U.S. Ski Team member Nick Hendrickson will lead the nordic combined squad, competing in his fifth and final World Junior Championships. Hendrickson, who was top 15 a year ago at World Juniors, has been in the points three times on the Continental Cup this season including a pair of strong top 20s at Steamboat Springs in December.
Final spots for the team were selected after some challenging weather conditions and tight competition at the Junior World Team tryouts in Ishpeming, Mich. Despite weather conditions, the hill made for some exciting jumps.
"It was a great battle for the final spot on the nordic combined team between Tyler Smith and Adam Loomis with Smith edging out Loomis to earn his first trip to the World Junior Championships," said World Junior coach Martin Bayer.
"This is the first time the women will be able to compete for a team championship medal in a women's World Championship event," said U.S. Nordic Program director John Farra. "These three teams are filled with talent, and I'm looking forward to seeing what they can do at the championships."
The World Junior Nordic Championships begin Jan. 27 in Otepaa, Estonia, with nordic combined and women's ski jumping events. The cross country team was named Jan. 7.
2011 World Junior Nordic Championship Teams
Nick Hendrickson, Park City, UT
Michael Ward, Aspen, CO
Cliff Field, Steamboat Springs, CO
Erik Lynch, Steamboat Springs, CO
Tyler Smith, Park City, UT
Men's Ski Jumping
Peter Frenette, Saranac Lake (NYSEF)
Brian Wallace, Woodbury, MN
Women's Ski Jumping
Sarah Hendrickson, Park City, UT
Avery Ardovino, Park City, UT
Nita Englund, Iron Mountain, MI
Nina Lussi, Lake Placid (NYSEF)
World Junior Nordic Championships Schedule
Thurs., Jan. 27 - Nordic combined HS100/10k and Women's Ski Jumping HS100
Fri., Jan. 28 - Men's Ski Jumping HS100
Sat., Jan. 29 - Nordic combined HS100/5k and Men's and Women's Ski Jumping Team HS100
Sun., Jan. 30 - Nordic combined HS100/4x5k
RUHPOLDING, Germany - Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid and Tim Burke of Paul Smiths racked up World Cup points last weekend at the IBU event in Germany.
Bailey was the top American in the pursuit race with his 29th-place finish in 34:16.5. Burke was 36th in 34:43.9.
Susan Dunklee of Barton, Vt., Sara Studebacker and Laura Spector also collected World Cup points in Germany.
Haley Johnson of Lake Placid fell short of collecting World Cup points after her 50th-place finish in the women's pursuit. She finished in 34:20.08.
Annalies Cook of Saranac Lake placed 24th in her IBU-Cup race in Altenberg, Germany. She clocked a time of 36:16 in the women's pursuit, finishing 3:36 behind the winner Irias Waldhuber of Austria.
IGLS, Austria - Steven Holcomb and the BMW Night Train crew claimed bronze in the Igls, Austria four-man bobsled World Cup event Sunday. The top three sleds were separated by only one tenth of a second, making it yet another cliffhanger ending in men's bobsled racing.
"I'd love to come out and win every race by seconds," Holcomb said. "But it's racing, and it is more fun when the field is tight. I take that back, it's more fun to kick butt and win. But when other teams are nipping at your heels, it gets exciting and keeps us motivated."
Holcomb and his powerhouse push crew of Justin Olsen, Steve Langton and Curt Tomasevicz were tied for second with Germany I after posting a first run of 51.47 seconds. In a field separated by hundredths of a second, the crew knew there was no room for error if they were going to claim their third victory of the year.
"Igls is a pretty easy track, so the learning curve is flat," Holcomb said. "Everyone is on a level playing field. New drivers have the same advantage as everyone else, so it comes down to who will make a mistake or the least amount of mistakes. That's what it came down to today."
With engines revving to go, the BMW Night Train team exploded off the block for a start time of 5.03 seconds, fastest of the competition, despite a slight misstep by Langton. The push champion slipped loading into the sled, but recovered quickly thanks to his teammates.
"We had a great start, but the mishap slowed down our velocity," Holcomb said. "I can't say I'm perfect all year. We've all stumbled before. Knowing him, he'll make sure it never happens again. That's racing."
Holcomb recalled when he slipped during a four-man competition in the Olympic year on his home track in Park City, Utah. At the finish he joked with media that "ice is in fact slippery."
The crew slid to the finish with a combined time of 1 minute, 43.02 seconds, and waited for Russia I to take their final run. A few mistakes down the course cost the Russian squad a medal position, giving bronze to the BMW Night Train.
Manuel Machata has become a household name in Germany with his recent successes in the sport. Machata teamed with Richard Adjei, Andreas Bredau and Christian Poser to claim gold in 1:42.92. The second German team of Thomas Florschuetz, Ronny Listner, Kevin Kuske and Andreas Barucha was just 0.05 seconds from their teammates to claim silver in 1:42.97.
Machata leads with 1036 points in overall four-man standings. Holcomb is on his heels with 1,010 points in second.
John Napier of Lake Placid piloted his Under Armour BoDyn sled to the finish in 1:43.89 for 15th place.
"I was a little disappointed with the overall finish, but I messed up driving a little bit," Napier said. "So, it's my fault. Nobody else to blame."
Napier's push crew of Colin Campbell, Laszlo Vandracsek and Jared Clugston kept the emerging driver in the mix from start to finish with push times of 5.20 and 5.15 seconds.
"The boys improved at the push and I'm really proud of them for that," Napier said. "It's a mental struggle being where I am because last year I had a very successful year. This year it's tough not being on top. I'll just keep battling, because my guys did a great job of picking me up today. It was only their fourth time together and they get better every time."
OBERHOF, Germany - The legend of Tatyana Huefner and the German women's luge team continued to grow Sunday on home ice, as the 2010 Olympic gold medalist won her 26th career World Cup race and extended Germany's winning streak to 104 consecutive events dating back to December 1997.
With Stanford's recent defeat of UConn in women's basketball, the German luge streak is now alone in the category of current sport domination. They finished 1-2-3-4 on Sunday.
Americans Julia Clukey and Ashley Walden jumped into the fray and placed seventh and 10th, respectively, on a track that traditionally has not been kind to the United States. Teammate Erin Hamlin, 2009 World Champion, slid into 15th place.
"My runs at the top were really smooth, but I had a few little things at the bottom of the track," Clukey said. "I had a little trouble this week with curve 12 and crossed hard into 13. I lost speed heading into the straightaway, but I stayed calm and relaxed and tried to fix it in curve 13. The problems didn't follow me down the track. Other than that, the runs were really good. Just the exit of curve 12 got me both runs. I was a little high in the curve."
For good measure, Germany completed the weekend sweep of the four events by winning the team relay, which is seeking inclusion into the 2014 Winter Olympic program in Sochi, Russia.
The United States reached its high point of the weekend by taking fourth place in that race.
Huefner registered the two fastest heats of the day on her home track. She also lowered the start record in the second run en route to victory on the 14-turn women's course. She was timed in 43.239 and 43.127 seconds for a combined 1 minute, 26.366 seconds on a day that saw the track conditions get faster as the weather changed from fog and high humidity to clearing skies.
The 27-year-old is approaching her fourth consecutive overall World Cup championship. She has captured five of the six races, and has the overall World Cup lead at 585 points with three competitions remaining on the schedule.
Natalie Geisenberger, as she has been for most of the past two seasons, was the runner-up. The 2010 Olympic bronze medal winner clocked 1:26.775, with Anke Wischnewski third in 1:27.298.
Geisenberger is second on the season with 475 points, while Wischnewski is next at 415.
Walden, of Westborough, Mass., is back to a full campaign of World Cup racing after missing most of last winter when she did not qualify for the Vancouver Olympic team. She, too, has a season-high fifth place performance as she tries to gain weight and lessen the addition of artificial weight that the sport allows lighter competitors.
Her time was 1:28.013 for the two trips. Walden sits in a tie for ninth place in the season-long standings with 219.
Hamlin, of Remsen, improved from 21st in the first heat to 15th in 1:28.381 as she tries to regain the form that led not only to her world title, but three World Cup bronze medals last season and two more third place results earlier this winter. She is sixth at 272 points.
Emily Sweeney struggled with a first-run mishap, and wound up 24th in 1:42.067. The Suffield, Conn. luger is 28th with 36 points. Sweeney is still eligible for junior-level competition and will race in next weekend's junior World Cup in Koenigssee, Germany.
Lea Vanderlinden, of Park City, Utah, did not compete in Oberhof. She is 34th with 23 points after her lone World Cup appearance a month ago.
Huefner teamed with men's singles winner Felix Loch and the doubles victors Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt for a runaway team relay win. The three sleds totaled 2:27.306 and were victorious by 1.40 seconds over Russia, with Italy, minus Armin Zoeggeler, third, 1.74 seconds off the pace.
Hamlin, Bengt Walden, of Lake Placid, and the doubles team of Matt Mortensen, of Huntington Station, N.Y., and Preston Griffall, of Salt Lake City, Utah, were fourth in 2:29.521.
On Saturday, Walden was 18th in men's singles; Mortensen and Griffall 11th in doubles.
Germany is atop the World Cup team relay standings with a perfect 400 points. Italy is second with 295; Austria third on 256; and the U.S. sixth at 230.
World Cup racing resumes Jan. 22-23 in Altenberg, Germany.