Bascue collects another medal

Codie Bascue and push athlete Sam McGuffie finish of their gold-medal performance Nov. 10 at the Olympic Sliding Complex at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Bascue and McGuffie captured a silver medal Saturday in the four-man event in Park City, Utah.
(Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

Codie Bascue and push athlete Sam McGuffie finish of their gold-medal performance Nov. 10 at the Olympic Sliding Complex at Mount Van Hoevenberg. Bascue and McGuffie captured a silver medal Saturday in the four-man event in Park City, Utah. (Enterprise photo — Lou Reuter)

PARK CITY, Utah — Codie Bascue was pushed by Nate Weber, Carlo Valdes and Sam McGuffie to his first-career World Cup medal in four-man bobsled Saturday after sliding to the finish in second place for silver medal.

Bascue, Weber, Valdes and McGuffie started their campaign for the medals with a 4.82-second push time to give Bascue momentum down the track. The 23-year-old drove the crew to the finish in 47.54 seconds, second-best of the heat, to place them in medal position.

“We’re just continuing to get better,” Bascue said. “We keep learning and I’ve never had such good camaraderie with four guys before. This week we came in with more confidence, and hopefully we can keep the momentum going.”

The crew bettered their second start time to 4.80 seconds in run two, and Bascue again threaded together a clean run of 47.95 seconds to secure the silver medal in 1:35.49.

Bascue, a native of Whitehall, was seventh in Friday’s season-opening four-man race. The up-and-comer made a statement last weekend in Lake Placid when he claimed bronze and gold medals in the two-man races, his first-ever World Cup medals, and is on pace to battle for the overall tour title.

“I’m really happy,” Bascue said. “There were some inconsistencies yesterday, some that we could control and some that we couldn’t. We came into this race knowing the weather was a little better and that if we could be more consistent with both our push and drive, we could do well.”

Germany’s Johannes Lochner, Marc Rademacher, Christopher Weber and Christian Rasp squeaked ahead of Team Bascue by a mere 0.05 seconds to secure gold in 1:35.44. Bradley Hall, Bruce Tasker, Joel Fearon and Gregory Cackett from Great Britain were third in 1:35.56.

Justin Olsen, with Evan Weinstock, Steve Langton and Chris Fogt in the back of his sled, powered off the blocks for start times of 4.74 and 4.78 seconds, fastest of each heat. The crew sat in 20th after the first run, in which they were at a disadvantage as the final sled off, but responded with the 10th fastest downtime of the final run to move up to 15th with a combined downtime of 1:36.07.

Nick Cunningham teamed with Ryan Bailey, Chris Kinney and Sam Michener for 16th place with a total time of 1:36.08. The crew clocked push times of 4.82 and 4.84 for runs of 47.95 and 48.13 seconds, respectively.

“It’s minor mistakes and it’s killing me right now,” Cunningham said. “My guys are pushing really well and I know I’m not delivering. It’s a hard pill to swallow. They definitely deserve to be in the medals week in and week out. Luckily it’s a long season, we’re going to forget this week existed and move on. It’s over now, we’re going to focus on our next course of action.”

Saturday’s four-man race concluded the Park City event. The World Cup tour moves to Whistler, Canada for the third stop this week.

FRIDAY

PARK CITY, Utah — Jamie Greubel Poser and Lauren Gibbs were victorious in Park City’s women’s bobsled World Cup Friday to kick off the second weekend of racing. Elana Meyers Taylor and Lolo Jones added to the medal haul with a bronze medal performance.

At just 23-years-old, Codie Bascue, of Whitehall, and his crew of Nate Weber, Carlo Valdes and Sam McGuffie led Team USA in the four-man bobsled race with a seventh place finish in a tightly contested race.

“It feels good,” Greubel Poser said. “Every time you come to the track, it’s different, so it’s really nice to come out on top. It’s a long season though and we’re definitely going to be battling until the very end.”

Races were delayed Friday due to a snowstorm, forcing the women’s and four-man bobsled sleds to alternate runs beginning with the women followed by four-man.

Greubel Poser and Gibbs were dominant tonight, posting the fastest times of the competition, 50.32 and 50.40 seconds, and the fastest start time of the first heat, 5.19 seconds. Today was the first time since January 2017 that Greubel Poser and Gibbs have been in the same sled. The duo have a history of success together, having won seven medals in World Cup competition since the 2014-2015 season. Gibbs teamed with Meyers Taylor last weekend for the season-opening silver medal.

“We just have an incredible team of women and we’re doing everything we can to be faster and stronger” Gibbs said. “This is the most incredible group of women I’ve ever had the honor to be on a team with. It’s very competitive and every time you get on the line wearing this uniform you know that if you don’t perform, someone could take your spot.”

Reigning Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries from Canada and her push athlete, Melissa Lotholz, were one-tenth of a second off the pace set by the Americans in the first run. The Canadians matched the effort of Greubel Poser and Gibbs with an identical second heat time, but Greubel Poser and Gibbs’ one-tenth of a second lead after run one was too far out of reach for Humphries and Lotholz. The Americans were victorious in 1:40.72, followed by the Canadians in second place with a 1:40.82.

Meyers Taylor teamed with Jones for the bronze medal in 1:40.99. Meyers Taylor and Jones claimed three medals together last season, including a gold medal finish in Igls, Austria, which was Jones’ first-ever bobsled victory.

“It’s always great to compete in Park City,” Meyers Taylor said. “It’s our second home, and also it’s Holcomb’s home, so being able to compete here and get a World Cup medal is awesome.”

Meyers Taylor said competing without Holcomb, who unexpectedly passed away in May, has been extremely difficult. Holcomb hailed from Park City.

“Every day is a different day and finding out what our new normal is without him here has been a struggle, but we’re a team and we’re going to come together and rally around it.”

The duo was impacted by blowing snow at the start, resulting in a start time of 5.22 seconds and a finish time of 50.49 seconds. Meyers Taylor and Jones rebounded in run two with a start of 5.16, fastest of the competition, for a run of 50.50 to secure the bronze medal in 1:40.99.

“I’m just frustrated because of course my first race would be the one that’s the weather, making it very hard on us,” Lolo said. “That first start, I’m not going to lie … I couldn’t figure it out. Was it the snow, we had a head wind, am I slow, because that’s my first race. These things start swirling in my head, and the main thing is that I felt like I let [Elana] down. She’s never been out-pushed, so for her to be out-pushed is terrible.”

Brittany Reinbolt and Aja Evans teamed together for the first time in their careers Friday for fifth place with a two-run total of 1:41.19. The pair was in fourth place after a first run time of 50.50 seconds, just one-hundredth of a second away from their teammates Meyers Taylor and Jones. Reinbolt and Evans fell back one spot into fifth with a second heat of 50.69, giving Reinbolt her second-best-career World Cup finish. Her best finish to date is fourth from last season’s Lake Placid event.

“This is my first time racing with Brit and it’s been such a fun week,” Evans said. “I’ve been really excited to race. Brit and I had a dynamic that was unexpected and I think we worked really well and it was so much fun working with her.”

“Knowing that I have the best brakewoman in the word, I kind of wanted to win the race,” Reinbolt said. “It was still one of the best performances that I’ve ever had in my entire career. It’s been a fun week. Aja has been awesome and super supportive.”

After unseasonably warm temperatures that forced a delay in four-man bobsled racing in the season-opener last weekend, teams were finally in action Friday.

Bascue, Weber, Valdes and McGuffie led the way for Team USA with a seventh place finish, just 0.06 seconds off the medals. The crew clocked a start of 4.89 seconds, just 15th best of the heat, for a run of 48.53 seconds to place them within striking distance of the medals. They bettered their start to 4.81 in run two, and Bascue piloted the crew to the finish in 48.39, third fastest of the heat. Despite the speedy second run, the crew jumped up just one spot into seventh with a two-run total of 1:36.92.

“First run was really good, we didn’t really have Mother Nature cooperating with us on the first push, we knew we could push better,” Bascue said. “I figured if I could have the same drive the second run, we’d do pretty well. Second run wasn’t as good as the first. I’m still happy with a top-10 finish and we’ll move on to tomorrow. If we can emulate that first run drive in both runs (Saturday) combined with the second run push, we’ll be in pretty good position.”

Germany’s Nico Walther, Kevin Kuske, Christian Poser and Eric Franke were victorious in 1:36.80. Poser is married to Greubel Poser, who also won gold tonight. The Canadian crew of Justin Kripps, Lascelles Brown, Ben Coakwell and Neville Wright finished second with an aggregate time of 1:36.83, while a second Canadian crew of Chris Spring, Jesse Lumsden, Alex Kopacz and Greg Smith was just 0.06 seconds off the pace in third.

Justin Olsen, Evan Weinstock, Steve Langton and Christopher Fogt teamed together for their first World Cup appearance as a crew. Olsen, Weinstock, Langton and Fogt finished 12th with a combined time of 1:37.09, and were the fastest team off the start in run two with a push time of 4.74 seconds.

“It wasn’t perfect, but it’s characteristic of what I’ve been doing,” Olsen said. “It was good though. There were some things I executed that I didn’t in practice and I was pretty stressed out this week since it was our first time racing four-man together. My guys put some confidence in me and we’ll try to clean it up tomorrow. As long as we push fast and feel good about our run, we’ll be fine.”

The third Team USA sled of Nick Cunningham, Sam Michener, Ryan Bailey and Chris Kinney clocked a cumulative time of 1:37.14 to tie for 13th.

“On a short track like this, everything’s so close, and as a driver, it drives you crazy because you start focusing in on every little thing,” Cunningham said. “There are so many variables that go into this. We’re going to forget about this though and come back out tomorrow and change some things around and get that much better.”

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