USA Luge season concludes in LP
LAKE PLACID — The USA Luge competitive season comes to an end in March, when the organization hosts its Norton Youth and Junior National Championships and seeding races Saturday and Sunday at Mount Van Hoevenberg.
The events will take place in the wake of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games that saw Chris Mazdzer bring the team its first men’s singles medal. This occurred just two days after United States flag bearer Erin Hamlin led more than 240 American athletes into the Opening Ceremony.
The Lake Placid event will feature youth national championship races for athletes ages 13 to 18. Their older, junior-aged teammates to the age of 20, will take to the ice March 10-11. Race times each day are from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Competitors may race up in age class.
Youth A men and women (ages 15-18), along with youth B men and women (ages 13-14), compete this weekend. Junior men and women (to the age of 20) tackle the technical Olympic Sports Complex layout March 10-11.
Singles events both weekends will be a three-races-in-two-days format. Each day will have a separate two-heat seeding race. However, the combination of all four runs will determine the 2018 Norton national champions.
There will be a youth doubles race on March 11 consisting of two runs. There are no doubles events this weekend.
It’s anticipated that some of these young athletes will be members of USA Luge Olympic teams of the future. The path to those Games, be they in 2022, 2026 or 2030, will begin with competitions such as these Norton-sponsored events.
All four days of racing will be live streamed on www.usaluge.org.
OTEPAA, Estonia — Team USA posted a top-10 finish on Wednesday as the youth relays took center stage at the 2018 IBU Youth/Junior World Championships in Otepaa, Estonia.
The youth men’s relay team of Vasek Cervenka (Grand Rapids, Minnesota), Eli Nielsen (Stehekin, Washington) and Garrett Beckrich (Grand Rapids, Minnesota) placed ninth in the 20-team field in the 3×7.5-kilometer race. The U.S. was seven minutes, 19.9 seconds off the winning time, with three penalties and 15 spares. Nielsen had the best day on the range with just three spares needed to knock down his 10 targets.
The Russian team of Denis Tashtimerov, Andrei Viukhin and Mikhail Pervushin posted the winning time in the youth men’s relay. Behind Russia, the Czech Republic took second place while Norway captured the final podium spot.
A sunny but cold day with temperatures around -15C greeted the relay teams at Tehvandi stadium. Wind gusts at the shooting range were a challenge for many of the young athletes.
In the women’s 3x6k relay, Sweden won in a photo finish over Finland, with Norway taking the bronze medal. The U.S. team of Helen Wilson (Eagle River, Alaska), Lexie Madigan (Truckee, California) and Emma Stertz (Grand Rapids, Minnesota) placed 18th, 8:24.6 back with one penalty and 12 spares. Wilson and Stertz both needed only three spares during their legs.
Competition continues today with the individual races for the junior men and junior women. The men will ski 15 kilometers while the women will race the 12.5k distance.