LAKE PLACID - Elana Meyers, Nick Cunningham and rookie Aja Evans won titles Friday in the U.S. bobsled push-start championships at the North Elba Show Grounds wheeled push track.
Meyers' combined time of 9.51 seconds topped the women's pilot event, and Cunningham (8.99) took the men's pilot title.
Evans (9.65) prevailed in the women's push-athlete competition.
U.S. Olympic hurdler Lolo Jones competes in the U.S. bobsled push-start championships Friday at the North Elba Show Grounds in Lake Placid.
(Enterprise photo — Mike Lynch)
"I was so anxious and nervous about doing everything right," Evans said. "I'm still trying to understand what right is, but I know I'll be a better judge of that once I keep practicing and learning. This is different than anything I'm used to, so I'm trying not to rush anything while still going out there and pushing hard every time."
Evans burst off the block for push times of 4.84 and 4.81 seconds to earn the title by 0.13 seconds with a total of 9.65. Evans is a five-time All-American and three-time Big Ten champion track and field athlete from the University of Illinois, and will get her first ride in a bobsled when the track opens in Lake Placid next week.
Katie Eberling of Palos Hills, Ill. pushed times of 4.88 and 4.94 seconds for a combined time of 9.78 to earn second place.
Also competing in the women's push event: Three veterans of U.S. women's Olympic track teams, with Hyleas Fountain fourth (10.01), Tianna Madison tied for fifth (10.04), and Lolo Jones tied for seventh place (10.11).
Women's bobsled head coach Todd Hays invited track and field medalists Hyleas Fountain, Tianna Madison and Lolo Jones to Lake Placid to participate in the drills and tests with the women's team. Madison helped the U.S. win the first Olympic gold medal since 1996 in the women's 4x100-meter relay after the team posted a world-record time of 40.82 seconds in London. Jones, a two-time World Indoor champion and American record holder, finished fourth in London's 100-meter hurdles event, while Fountain is the Beijing Olympic silver medalist in heptathlon.
"I invited these ladies to attend this week's events as special guests so they could share their Olympic experiences with our athletes and to help boost team morale before heading into our competitive season," Hays said. "It's great to see talented athletes like this give back to their USA teammates. And it's of course a great opportunity for a coach like me to test his recruitment skills by trying to get these athletes to commit to our sports. I'm not successful yet, but we'll see if we can entice them to give it a try."
Fountain was on the cusp of a top three finish with a total time of 10.01 seconds for fourth place. Madison tied veteran Emily Azevedo for fifth with a two-push combined time of 10.04, and Jones finished seventh with a total time of 10.11.
The men's push-athlete competition is today. U.S. bobsled, skeleton and luge athletes start on-ice training in Lake Placid on Oct. 15.