Team USA wins three medals in Park City NAC

PARK CITY, Utah – Team USA won three medals last weekend in the North American Cup skeleton races. Veronica Day reached the podium for the third and fourth time this season with a pair of bronze medals, while Andrew Blaser claimed the silver medal in the second men’s competition.

Day, who won two bronze medals in Calgary during the first weekend of the NAC tour, returned to form last weekend on her home track. In race one, Day had the third fastest downtime, reaching the bottom of the track in 51.30 seconds. The Vienna, Va. native was able to hold off Rayoung Mun of Korea by 0.06 seconds to earn the final spot on the podium.

Kimberley Bos of the Netherlands won the first race with a combined time of 1:42.39, while Canada’s Jaclyn Laberge was awarded the silver medal in 1:42.47.

American Leslie Stratton, in her first year on a skeleton sled finished in eighth place, 0.97 seconds out of the medals. Teammates Katie Andress and Megan Dovell, participating in their first NAC race, turned in two-run totals of 1:45.72 and 1:45.90 for 12th and 13th place, respectively.

In the second race, Day earned a third-place finish with a cumulative time of 1:43.18. Bos and Laberge once again rounded out the podium with gold and silver in 1:41.96 and 1:42.96.

“I just love racing in Park City,” Day said. “They always put on a great show here. With the super warm weather, the track held up wonderfully. I had some solid training leading up to the races, so while double bronze is exciting, it certainly has left something to be desired. We head back to Lake Placid in a few days and I’m looking forward to finishing up my season there.”

Dovell turned in the first top-10 finish of her career, with runs of 52.31 and 52.15 for seventh place. Stratton also slid her way into the top-10 with a ninth place result in 1:44.86. Andress completed her weekend in 12th place with a two-run time of 1:45.40.

“The Park City NAC races were my first races on a competitive circuit,” Dovell said. “For both races, I was prepared, happy, confident and calm. Still, unexpected things happened. It was a great learning experience for me. I’m thankful for the opportunity to race as well as having great teammates and coaches. I’m looking forward to the Lake Placid races.”

“I was really happy with the races this week in Park City,” Stratton said. “I love this sport, the people, and the atmosphere especially on race day. As a newer slider, I work to always get at least one percent better every day, to learn and set goals to perform better than I did yesterday. I accomplished this with some big personals bests and the best part was our team did too. We had some huge personal accomplishments, including many podiums. It gets me really fired up for the races coming up. A huge thanks to coach Lauri Bausch for all the work she put in throughout the week.”

On the men’s side, Blaser highlighted the American team with his second-place finish in the second race. Blaser was only 0.07 seconds out of the gold medal, falling behind John Farrow of Australia with a total time of 1:40.06.

Farrow won the second race, while Jisoo Kim of Korea held off Alex Ivanov, of Carlisle, Massachusetts, for the bronze medal in 1:40.36.

Ivanov had runs of 50.25 and 50.16 for fourth place, while teammates Allen Blackwell and Jacob Miter, of Troy, finished with aggregate times of 1:40.76 and 1:41.04 for eighth and 11th place, respectively.

In the first race, Ivanov missed the podium by a mere 0.03 seconds, but led Team USA with a fifth-place result in 1:40.58. Blaser was sixth in 1:40.72, while Blackwell earned a top-10 result with a total downtime of 1:41.17.

“I haven’t been living in high cotton this season,” Blackwell said. “Mentally, physically, emotionally and equipment wise, this has been the toughest season of my life. I am as happy as a sow in the sun that I was able to finish with a top-10 on my home track in front of friends and family.”

Trent Kraychir was the only other American competitor in the field, placing 13th in 1:41.63.

Ander Mirambell won the first NAC race of the weekend with a time of 1:39.72, while Nicholas Timmings of Australia was awarded the silver in 1:40.53.

The NAC will now shift to Lake Placid for the final of the tour’s four stops. Bobsled races will begin on Sunday, March 13 and will conclude on Friday, March 18. The skeleton portion of the tour will take the ice on Thursday, March 17 and will finish on Friday, March 18.