By Tom Robinson | Oct. 14, 2013, 11 a.m. (ET)
Chris Mazdzer practices during the second men's luge training run at the Whistler Sliding Centre ahead of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Winter Games on Feb. 10, 2010 in Whistler, Canada.


Luger Chris Mazdzer poses for a portrait during the USOC/NBC
promotional shoot on April 27, 2013 in West Hollywood, Calif.

Chris Mazdzer last year shared the Norton U.S. National Luge Championship. This year, Mazdzer has the title all to himself.

Mazdzer, who tied with Tucker West to the thousandth of a second last year, beat out West Sunday morning in Lake Placid, N.Y. Taylor Morris finished third.

“I kind of viewed myself as the underdog today,” Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian, told the Associated Press. “I like to put myself in the mentality where I’m the underdog and I like to catch everyone else. I think that really carried over to today.”

Kate Hansen won women’s title, followed by Julia Clukey and Erin Hamlin.

“I pulled out some really great runs that I didn’t know I had in me,” Hansen said.

Jake Hyrns and Andrew Sherk teamed to win men’s doubles. The duo lost a potential title on a sled disqualification last year. Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall were second while Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman were third in doubles.

The three national champions also won the seeding races. There is one more seeding race left Oct. 20 in Park City, Utah, to determine the U.S. world cup team.

ICE HOCKEY

The U.S. women fell to Canada, 3-2, Saturday night in Burlington, Vt., in the first game of their “Bring on the World Tour” to prepare for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

Canada carried a 3-0 lead into the final nine minutes before Brianna Decker and Gigi Marvin scored third-period goals. Goalie Brianne McLaughlin made 26 saves for the U.S. team.

“We came on as the game went on, but we need to start faster,” said. U.S. Olympic women’s hockey coach Katey Stone.

The teams meet again Thursday in Montreal and both will be part of the Four Nations Cup, which takes place Nov. 5-9 in Lake Placid, N.Y.

BOBSLED

Steven Holcomb and Steve Langton finished nearly a second ahead of the pack to win the first bobsled national team selection race when the USA Bobsled Team Trials kicked off Saturday in Lake Placid, N.Y.

Elana Meyers and Aja Evans won the women’s race. Jamie Greubel and Katie Eberling finished second among women while Jazmine Fenlator and Lolo Jones were third.

Holcomb, who teamed with Langton to give the United States its first two-man world championship in 2012, earned a bye onto the national team based on his results from last season but has decided to use the selection races as preparation.

“I made a mistake the first time I had a bye by taking it too lightly and just going through the motions,” Holcomb said. “I didn’t feel ready for the competitive season because we didn’t rehearse race day.”

On the men’s side, Army World Class Athlete Program soldier-athletes Nick Cunningham and Dallas Robinson finished second while Cory Butner and Chuck Berkeley were third.

Athletes are trying to make the national team for the upcoming world cup season. Team trials continue in Park City, Utah with the men’s two-man on Oct. 20, followed by men’s four-man and women’s Oct. 25 and the final day of men’s four-man Oct. 26. Points earned throughout the world cup season will be a big part of which athletes are named for the Sochi 2014 Olympic Winter Games.

SOCCER

The U.S. men clinched the top position in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for the third straight time by scoring two second-half goals Friday to defeat Jamaica, 2-0, in Kansas City, Kan.

Graham Zusi, who plays professionally for Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer, scored the game-winning goal in the 77th minute, and Jozy Altidore added the insurance goal four minutes later.

Goalie Tim Howard made five saves for his 33rd career international shutout, which ranks second in team history.

The last qualifying game for the United States for the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil is against Panama Tuesday in Panama City. The United States, which has already qualified to compete in Brazil next year, went 5-0-0 at home and is 6-2-1 overall in qualifying with just the match against Panama remaining.

TRACK & FIELD

Three-time Paralympic gold medalist Tatyana McFadden won her third consecutive Chicago Marathon Sunday in the women's wheelchair race. The victory also marked her third marathon victory this season. She also won the title at marathons in Boston and London and plans on competing in the ING New York City Marathon Nov. 3.

"It really came down to a sprint," McFadden told reporters in Chicago. "I didn't even know what was happening. My muscle memory was there and I knew I needed to go. The crowd just took me forward. It was extremely tough."

McFadden won six gold medals at the 2013 IPC Athletics World Championships, which were held in July in Lyon, France.

VOLLEYBALL

The U.S. women’s sitting team won a gold medal while the U.S. men’s sitting team earned a silver medal Sunday at the ParaVolley Pan American Zonal Championships in Edmond, Okla.

The women wrapped up the title with a 25-21, 25-21, 25-14 triumph over Brazil. Heather Erickson had 12 kills, three blocks and a match-high four aces while Katie Holloway added 11 kills and a match-high six blocks.

Brazil defeated the U.S. men, 26-24, 25-18, 25-11, for the title.

Elsewhere, the United States fell to Japan, 25-16, 20-25, 25-11, 25-19, in the bronze-medal match of the FIVB Women’s U-23 World Championships Saturday in Tijuana, Mexico. The United States went 4-1 in pool play before losing to the Dominican Republic, 25-21, 25-21, 27-25, in the semifinals Friday.

Gina Mancuso was the tournament’s leading scorer heading into the final day and had a team-high 12 points in the bronze-medal match.

BEACH VOLLEYBALL

Olympians Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross won the FIVB Sao Paulo Grand Slam with a 19-21, 31-29, 15-12 win against Germany’s Laura Ludwig and Kira Walkenhorst.

Casey Jennings, Kerri Walsh Jennings’ husband, teamed with Phil Dalhausser to earn a silver medal. Jennings and Dalhausser lost to Brazil’s Pedro Solberg Salgado and Bruno Oscar Schmidt, 23-21, 19-21, 15-13, in the final.

Elsewhere, Lane Carico won her third straight gold medal by combining with Heather Hughes to win the NORCECA Circuit event in St. Lucia, Fla. The title was the second straight for Hughes.

Carico and Hughes defeated Mexico’s Martha Revuelta and Bibiana Candelas, 21-17, 21-18, in the final to finish 5-0 in the tournament.

David McKienzie and Austin Rester won the men’s title when they rallied to avenge a pool play loss with a 21-23, 25-23, 15-8 victory against Canada’s Andrew Hinchey and Ryan Vandenburg in the final.

FIGURE SKATING

The United States has qualified six entries into December’s ISU Junior Grand Prix Final in Japan. However, the team fell short of reaching the podium at the Junior Grand Prix event this weekend in Tallinn, Estonia.

Pairs team Madeline Aaron and Max Settlage and ice dancers Holly Moore and Daniel Klaber each posted their personal bests with fourth-place finishes. Kaitlin Budd and Nikita Cheban placed fifth in pairs.

The following U.S. skaters have qualified for the ISU Junior Grand Prix Final: Polina Edmunds and Karen Chen in women’s, Nathan Chen in men’s, and the ice dancing teams of Kaitlin Hawayek and Jean-Luc Baker, Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter, and Rachel Parsons and Michael Parsons.

Elsewhere, 2010 Olympian Rachael Flatt won the short program at the 2014 Central Pacific Regional Championships in Vacaville, Calif. The free skate is set for Monday. Flatt is attempting to make a comeback to the national championships after being hampered by injury.

RUGBY

The United States Eagles won their final two matches at the Gold Coast Sevens in Australia to come away with the Shield. After starting the event 1-3 to fall out of title contention, the United States downed Spain, 26-7, and Portugal, 22-0, to win the consolation bracket. Stephen Tomasin, Zack Test, Brett Thompson and Folau Niau scored tries against Portugal.

Elsewhere, the Eagles Select XV lost to Argentina, 27-9, in the IRB Americas Rugby Championship opener Friday in Langford, British Columbia. Adam Siddall accounted for all the scoring by kicking three penalty goals. The United States faces Canada Tuesday.

TRIATHLON

Joe Maloy finished fifth at the ITU World Cup event Saturday in Tongyeong, South Korea. Maloy’s finish of 1:51:36, despite a crash on his bike, was just five seconds short of reaching the podium.

Elsewhere, Jarrod Shoemaker used the fastest running split of the day to finish second in the Pan American Cup Sunday in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Ryan Bice was third, Kaleb Vanort fourth and William Huffman fifth. Brianna Blanchard, the only U.S. woman entered, placed third for her first career ITU medal.

Timothy O’Donnell was fifth while Caitlin Snow and Meredith Kessler were sixth and seventh among women at the GoPro Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, where the United States had 12 age-group champions.

CYCLING

Jeremy Powers and Katie Compton won the elite titles Sunday at the Boulder Cup, a USA Cycling Professional Cyclo-cross event, in Colorado.

Elsewhere, the United States finished second to host Great Britain with a total of 49 medals at the UCI Track Cycling Masters World Championships, a weeklong event that concluded Saturday in Manchester, England.

SHOOTING

Mark Weeks and five-time Olympian Kim Rhode hold the men’s and women’s points leads after two days of competition in skeet at the USA Shooting Fall Selection Match for Shotgun in Tucson, Ariz. The competition concludes Monday. Luis Gloria and Brandy Drozd lead the junior divisions.

Four-time Olympian Glenn Eller won the double trap title Thursday while Ian Rupert earned the junior championship.

EQUESTRIAN

Three-time Olympian Steffen Peters won his seventh dressage national championship at the U.S. Dressage Festival of Champions on Saturday in Lexington, Ky.

Kim Herslow won the I, Barbara “Bebe” Davis won the junior dressage and Alison Redston won the pony rider Dressage national championships.

Elsewhere, Boyd Martin and Trading Aces finished 28th at the Military Boekelo CCIO3* Sunday in Boekelo, Netherlands.

FENCING

Iman Blow won the cadet women’s foil final Friday by beating training partner Samantha Viqueira, 15-10, in the final at the North American Cup in Milwaukee. Catherine Bouwkamp won the wheelchair women’s epée, Eric Pei won the Youth 14 men’s saber and Marielle Luke won the Division II women’s epée. The event continues through Monday.

Story courtesy Red Line Editorial, Inc. Tom Robinson is a freelance contributor for TeamUSA.org

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