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USA Luge a perfect 5-for-5 in WC qualifier

December 8, 2012
Adirondack Daily Enterprise

ALTENBERG, Germany - USA Luge was a perfect five for five in Nations Cup qualifying Friday in Altenberg, Germany. The United States was led by the bronze-medal effort of Emily Sweeney.

All five Americans will compete this weekend as part of a group of nine U.S. athletes in the World Cup field.

Sweeney, the Suffield, Conn. racer, who was in contention for a spot on the 2010 Olympic team before losing a special race-off in December 2009 to her sister Megan, overcame an ankle injury a month ago in Sochi training, and a calf injury this week while sliding in Altenberg. Sweeney, who is in her last year of junior eligibility, is racing with the senior team this season with the exception of next month's Junior World Championships in Park, City, Utah.

One of the newest members of the Army's National Guard program, she took third place behind two German sleds.

Sweeney's time of 53.155 seconds was 0.4 of a second from 2012 Junior World Champion Aileen Frisch. Corinna Martini was second.

Kate Hansen was the second U.S. women's sled to make it into today's World Cup field. Hansen, the 2008 Junior World Champion, placed 12th, 0.8 off the pace. The La Canada, Calif. luger was another in the 2009 Olympic qualification race-off.

Julia Clukey, of Augusta, Maine, sixth in the World Cup opener two weeks ago in Igls, Austria, rounded out the U.S. athletes who advanced. Clukey, a 2010 Olympian, finished 14th.

Today's U.S. women's entry will be completed by Erin Hamlin, of Remsen. The 2009 World Champion was exempt from qualifying due to her status in the first seed. Hamlin has placed 11th in the opening two World Cup events.

In the men's race, Taylor Morris, of South Jordan, Utah, placed 10th, 0.47 behind gold medalist Victor Kneyb of Russia. Morris was timed in 54.616.

Teammate Chris Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian from Saranac Lake, also did not have to qualify after moving into the A seed in men's singles. Mazdzer has recorded 16th and 15th place World Cup results to date.

The lone U.S. sled in doubles Friday also advanced as Jake Hyrns, of Muskegon, Mich. and Andrew Sherk, of Fort Washington, Pa. took fifth in a tight race.



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