Nations Cup sets stage for first luge World Cup of the season
LAKE PLACID — For the first time since 2019, Mount Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid saw world-class luge racing Thursday morning during the Nation’s Cup qualifying races to set the stage for the FIL Luge World Cup this weekend.
The Nation’s Cup is a single run race to qualify athletes for the World Cup. Based on Thursday’s results, all U.S. National Team athletes will be moving onto this weekend’s events.
Current track record holder and three-time Olympian Tucker West of Ridgefield, Connecticut had the fastest start and finish times of the heat. He stopped the clock at 51.124 seconds. Teammate and 2022 Olympian Jonny Gustafson took silver in 51.488 and Australia’s Alexander Ferlazzo placed third in 51.489. 2018 Olympic silver medalist Chris Mazdzer formerly of Saranac Lake and now living in Salt Lake City, Utah, just missed the podium, placing fourth in 51.595. Mazdzer will compete in the final race of his storied career this weekend.
2022 Olympian and the reigning Norton National Champion Ashley Farquharson topped the women’s singles competition, winning gold with a time of 44.242. Canada’s Trinity Ellis took silver in 44.336, and three-time Olympian Summer Britcher of Glen Rock, Pennsylvania placed third in 44.477.
The U.S. men’s doubles team of Dana Kellogg of Massachusetts and Frank Ike of Pennsylvania placed fourth with a time of 44.241. The winners were Thomas Steu and Wolfgang Kindl of Austria with a time of 43.803, with Italy’s Ivan Nagler and Fabian Malleier taking silver in 44.167. Their teammates Ludwig Rieder and Lukas Gufler placed third in 44.176.
As women’s doubles is making its debut at Mount Van Hoevenberg, start and track records were set by first place finishers Germany’s Dajana Eitberger and Saskia Schirmer, with a start of 6.491 and track record of 44.425. Placing second was Ukraine’s Olena Stetskiv and Oleksandra Mokh in 45.812, and the Czech Republic’s Anna Cezikova and Lucie Jansova taking bronze in 46.068.
Emily Sweeney of Lake Placid and the doubles teams of Zack DiGregorio of Medway, Massachusetts and Sean Hollander of Lake Placid, Chevonne Forgan of Chelmsford, Massachusetts and Sophie Kirkby of Ray Brook, and Maya Chan of Chicago, Illinois and Reanynn Weiler of Whitesboro did not compete as they previously qualified for the race based on last season’s overall World Cup rankings.
Britteny Arndt, who announced she is retiring from the sport earlier this year, took her farewell run during the Nation’s Cup. The 2023 World Cup Sprint bronze medalist crossed the finish line in seventh place in 44.763. Arndt was met with cheers from teammates and fans.
“I got to end my career after a really great season last year and I’m happy to be able to be here in Lake Placid to take my last run with my friends, my family and the team here by my side,” Arndt said. “We are a big family and I’m really thankful for everyone on the team, my coaches and everyone who helped me get to where I got.”