Pikus-Pace Smashes Track Record for Women’s Skeleton Win; Rohbock and Kohn Victorious in Women’s and Four-Man Bobsled Races

Oct. 18, 2008, 12:40 p.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

(518) 523-1842, ext 106, abird@usbsf.com


For Immediate Release

October 17, 2008


Pikus-Pace Smashes Track Record for Women’s Skeleton Win; Rohbock and Kohn Victorious in Women’s and Four-Man Bobsled Races, Respectively

LAKE PLACID, N.Y. – A cold morning offered fast track conditions today for the fourth day of U.S. national team trials at the Olympic Sports Complex in Lake Placid, N.Y.  Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) crushed the track record for the win in the second women’s skeleton finals competition, while Eric Bernotas (Avondale, Pa.) and Caleb Smith (Lake Placid, N.Y.) shared the victory in the men’s skeleton competition.  Shauna Rohbock (Park City, Utah) teamed with Jamie Gruebel (Newtown, Pa.) to win her second women’s bobsled finals race today, while Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) and his crew of Jesse Beckom (Winston-Salem, N.C.), T.J. Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.) and Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) were victorious in the first four-man bobsled competition.


Pikus-Pace refocused after finishing second in yesterday’s women’s skeleton competition, arriving at the track with a mission to win.


“I went into the first run imagining that it was the second day of World Championships here, and that I was behind two-hundredths of a second, which is the amount I was beaten by yesterday,” said Pikus-Pace.  “Being in that mentality gave me the desire to want to do well.”


Pushing a start time of 5.58 seconds, Pikus-Pace cruised to the finish line in 56.17 seconds, smashing the track record by a tenth of a second.  The previous record, 56.27, was set by Canadian Carla Pavan in last season’s World Cup event.


“When I saw my time, I was pretty sure it was the track record,” said Pikus-Pace.  “I pumped my fists in the air, and I couldn’t believe it, I was so excited.”


Entering the second heat 0.77 seconds ahead of the field, Pikus-Pace extended her lead with a second push time of 5.63 and finish time of 56.91.  Finishing with a two-heat combined time of 1:53.08, Pikus-Pace won the competition by over one second.  After today’s win, Pikus-Pace can shift her focus to returning home.


“Now I can think about going home to see my little girl and husband,” said Pikus-Pace.  “I can’t think about that when I’m sliding, because I have to focus on getting down the track.  I have to take it one day at a time, but now I can’t wait to see my family.”


In second was Courtney Yamada (Boise, Idaho), who placed her bid for the World Cup team by winning yesterday’s competition. Yamada pushed the two fastest push times of the competition, an identical 5.40 in both heats, for finish times of 56.94 and 57.26.  Yamada finished with a total time of 1:54.20 for second place.


Keslie Tomlinson (Potomac Falls, Va.) finished third today with a combined time of 1:54.30 after sliding runs of 57.08 and 57.22.


2008 World Cup Champion Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) has a bye onto the 2008-09 World Cup team, and slid as a forerunner for today’s competition.


Eric Bernotas (Avondale, Pa.) and Caleb Smith (Lake Placid, N.Y.) battled it out to the hundredth of a second in the men’s skeleton competition this morning, tying for the win with a combined time of 1:50.12. 


“The ice was outstanding,” said Smith  “Tony Carlino [Olympic Sports Complex Manager] and his crew have done a wonderful job making the track smooth and fast.”


Smith had a 0.01 second lead over Bernotas after the first heat with a time of 54.82 seconds.  Bernotas was the first of the two to descend the track in the final run, and slid to the finish in 55.29 seconds.  Waiting at the finish as Smith took his final run, Bernotas knew it would be down to the hundredth.


“I thought Caleb beat me, because he flies at the bottom of the track,” said Bernotas.  “It’s hard to fathom that we tied, because we race to a hundredth of a second.  It’s great having the competition this close, because we’re always pushing one another and inspiring each other.  If my competitors are at their best, I know I need to be my best.”


Smith finished the second run in 55.30 seconds, tying Bernotas’ combined time of 1:50.12.


“Racing against Eric is so much fun, and he is a great competitor to slide against,” said Smith. “Being on the podium by yourself isn’t as satisfying as being there with someone you’ve been working with throughout your career.”


In third was 2007 Intercontinental Cup Champion Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) with a total time of 1:50.89 after sliding runs of 55.22 and 55.67.


Zach Lund (Salt Lake City, Utah) has a bye onto the 2008-09 World Cup team, and foreran today’s competition.


The winner of the second women’s bobsled competition was determined by the driver with the lowest combined time in four heats held over two days.  Shauna Rohbock (Park City, Utah) teamed with Jamie Gruebel (Newtown, Pa.) to win her second women’s bobsled competition with a four-heat total of 3:56.30. 

Rohbock and Gruebel pushed times of 5.76 and 5.74 for finish times of 57.95 and 58.10 to take the overall lead by 1.83 seconds.

Erin Pac (Farmington, Conn.) and Michelle Rzepka (Novi, Mich.) finished second today with a four-heat total of 3:58.13.  Pac and Rzepka had the fastest push times of the competition, a 5.62 and 5.59, for finish times of 58.22 and 58.78.


Phoebe Burns (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Jazmine Fenlator (Wayne, N.J.) teamed together to finish third today with a combined time of 4:02.43 after runs of 59.30 and 59.75 today.


The first men’s four-man bobsled competition began this morning.  Despite having a bye onto the 2008-09 World Cup team, 2007 World Cup Champion Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) raced today with Steve Mesler (Calgary, Alberta), Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) and Curt Tomasevicz (Shelby, Neb.).  Holcomb and his crew pushed the fastest start times of the day, an identical 5.02 in both heats. 


“My fastest push before today was a 5.05 on this track,” said Holcomb.  “This is a good start to the season considering it’s only October and we’ve already pushed my best start time in Lake Placid.  One of the hardest things in bobsledding is having cohesion with your team, and being able to push with a new crew like this already is awesome.” 


Holcomb slid runs of 55.25 and 55.59 for a total time of 1:50.85.


Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) and his crew of Jesse Beckom (Winston-Salem, N.C.), T.J. Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.) and Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) finished second today with a total time of 1:52.04.  Kohn and his team pushed times of 5.16 and 5.15 for finish times of 55.77 and 56.27.


In third with a total time of 1:52.05 was John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and his team of Rocky Lanz (Gainesville, Ga.), Jamie Moriarty(Winnetka, Ill.) and Jason Waters (Chesapeake, Va.).  Napier and crew pushed times of 5.21 and 5.24 for finish times of 55.87 and 56.18. 


U.S. national team trials will resume in Park City, Utah next week.  For more information, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or at abird@usbsf.com.




Women’s Skeleton #1:

1.  Noelle Pikus-Pace 1:53.08 (56.17, 56.91); 2. Courtney Yamada 1:54.20 (56.94, 57.26); 3. Keslie Tomlinson 1:54.30 (57.08, 57.22); 4. Annie O’Shea 1:54.49 (57.04, 57.45); 5. Rebecca Sorensen 1:54.80 (57.29, 57.51); 6. Katie Koczynski 1:57.38 (58.45, 58.93); 7. Cassie Revelli 1:58.39 (58.87, 59.52); 8. Kimber Babryszak 1:58.50 (58.97, 59.53); 9. Rachelle Rasmussen 1:59.66 (1:00.67, 58.99);


Men’s Skeleton #2:

1. Caleb Smith 1:50.12 (54.82, 55.30); 1. Eric Bernotas 1:50.12 (54.83, 55.29); 3. Matt Antoine 1:50.89 (55.22, 55.67); 4. Stokes Aitken 1:51.10 (55.41, 55.69); 5. Kyle Tress 1:51.53 (55.84, 55.69); 6. Luke Schulz 1:51.89 (55.83, 56.06); 7. Kevin Ellis 1:51.92 (55.77, 56.15); 8. Chris Burgess 1:52.06 (55.94, 56.12); 9. John Daly 1:52.52 (56.31, 56.21); 10. Chris Hedquist 1:52.72 (55.94, 56.78);


Women’s Bobsled #2 Heats 3 & 4:

1. Shauna Rohbock and Michelle Rzepka/Jamie Gruebel 3:56.30 (1:00.28, 59.97, 57.95, 58.10); 2. Erin Pac and Elana Meyers/Michelle Rzepka 3:58.13 (1:00.44, 1:00.69, 58.22, 58.78); 3. Phoebe Burns and Jazmine Fenlator 4:02.43 (1:01.27, 1:02.11, 59.30, 59.75); 4. Bree Schaaf and Emily Azevedo 4:03.09 (1:02.01, 1:02.04, 59.34, 59.70); 5. Jamia Jackson and Bethany Hart (1:01.85, 1:01.32, DNF);


Men’s Four-Man Bobsled:

1. Holcomb, Mesler, Olsen, Tomaevicz 1:50.85 (55.26, 55.59); 2. Kohn, Beckom, Burns, Cunningham 1:52.04 (55.77, 56.27); 3. Napier, Lanz, Moriarty, Waters 1:52.05 (55.87, 56.18); 4. Fertig, Fogel, Butner, Johnson 1:52.20 (55.96, 56.24); 5. Hays, Schuffenhauer, Jones, Thurman 1:52.55 (56.07, 56.48); 6. Bradley, Jordan, Goloboski, Carriel (58.11, DSQ);



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, Vilter Manufacturing, CW-X, KBC Helmets and ULU Boots. The USBSF would also like to thank the following sponsors and suppliers for their partner, the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project:  Whelen Engineering, PPG, Columbia Sportswear, JEGS Automotive, Lucas Oil, Mac Tools and Racing Electronics.  For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.