SKELETON: Lund Finishes Season Third in World Cup Standings; Bernotas Ranked Fourth Overall

Feb. 08, 2008, 1 a.m. (ET)
WINTERBERG, Germany- Defending World Cup Champion Zach Lund (Salt Lake City, Utah) finished the 2007-2008 season ranked third in overall World Cup points after finishing ninth in today's World Cup finale in Winterberg, Germany. Eric Bernotas (Avondale, Pa.) finished fifth today to complete the season ranked just behind his teammate in fourth."I knew the results were out of my hands as I stood at the finish after the second run,"Lund said."I wasn't holding my breath, but to lose second overall by only one point is frustrating."The World Cup finale became a race for the overall title. The top three ranked athletes were decided in the second heat, where second and third were decided by only one point between Canada's Jon Montgomery and Lund."I knew I could do well coming into this race, but Winterberg has always been my weakest track,"Lund said."This track is my enigma."Lund pushed a start time of 5.09 seconds in the first heat, breaking his personal best, for a down time of 58.21, eighth fastest of the heat. Teammate Bernotas pushed a 5.13 for a run of 58.26, placing the American in 11th entering the final heat."Lack of adjustments on the first run and soft ice took me a bit by surprise,"Bernotas said."I've been sliding great all week, which gave me confidence going into the second run."Great Britain's Kristan Bromley, who entered the final World Cup competition in the overall lead, finished the first heat in 12th with a time of 58.32 seconds. Third overall entering the final race was Canada's Jon Montgomery, who threatened Lund's second place position in points by finishing the first heat in second place with a time of 57.67 seconds. Bernotas was the first of the top competitors to take a second run. Pushing a 5.11, Bernotas slid to the finish with the third fastest time of the second heat, a 57.73, for a combined time of 1:55.99. Bernotas anxiously watched in the leader's box as his time bettered six competitors after him, including his teammate Lund."I had to dig deep, but my focus came together when it was needed,"Bernotas said."I made adjustments and fortunately moved up in the second heat. I definitely learned a lot this season and I'm looking forward to competing in World Championships next week."Bromley bettered his first heat by sliding the fourth fastest time of the second heat, a 57.76, for a combined time of 1:55.99, putting him behind Bernotas in sixth. Lund pushed a 5.12 start time, but struggled with small skids down the track for a time of 58.00 seconds. Sliding a combined time of 1:56.21, Lund finished ninth. Bromley was guaranteed the overall title, leaving the second and third ranked positions dependant on Montgomery's final run. Montgomery looked relaxed at the starting line, pushing a 5.11 before gliding down the track for a time of 57.70 seconds. His combined time of 1:55.37 was good enough for the silver medal, giving him a one-point lead over Lund in overall standings. Germanys' Florian Grassl claimed bronze on his home track with a total time of 1:55.60. Martins Dukurs of Latvia took gold after sliding the fastest heat of the second run, a 57.58, for a two-run total of 1:55.35 after a first run time of 57.77 seconds. The surprised Latvian raised his arms in excitement, repeating with shock that the experience was amazing. Sliding on a sled made by his father, Dukurs thanked his family for their support. Kristan Bromley won the overall World Cup title with 1583 points. Canada's Montgomery battled for the second place standing with Lund, claiming the spot by only one point with 1517 points. Lund finished third with 1516 points, with teammate Bernotas in fourth with 1443. Caleb Smith (Lake Placid, N.Y.) finished 22nd today after pushing a start time of 5.42 seconds for a run of 58.79. Only the top 20 sleds are given a second heat. Smith finished the season ranked 18th in World Cup standings with 758 points. The U.S. Skeleton Team will now depart for the 2008 World Championships in Altenberg, Germany, where the Americans will vie for the World title."I had my first top six result in Altenberg,"Lund said."I've always really liked that track, because it's technical and difficult, which suits me better. I'm ready to lay it all on the line."For complete results of today's race, visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: 1. Martins Dukurs (LAT) 1:55.35 (57.77, 57.58); 2. Jon Montgomery (CAN) 1:55.37 (57.67, 57.70); 3. Florian Grassel (GER) 1:55.60 (57.97, 57.97);_5. Eric Bernotas (USA) 1:55.99 (58.26, 57.73);_9. Zach Lund (USA) 1:56.21 (58.21, 58.0);_22. Caleb Smith (USA) (58.79, DNS); About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation' The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: Allianz Life, Columbia Sportswear Company, Speedo, CW-X, KBC Helmets, ULU Boots, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Lumber Liquidators and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.
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