O'Shea top U.S. finisher in tough start to Intercontinental Cup

Dec. 09, 2013, 12:14 p.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, abird@usbsf.com

O’Shea top U.S. finisher in tough start to Intercontinental Cup

IGLS, Austria (Dec. 9, 2013)- Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) was the top U.S. finisher in the two-race Intercontinental Cup season opener in Igls, Austria after posting an 11th place result in the women’s skeleton division on Dec. 7. The U.S. team of six athletes- three women and three men- was plagued with injuries that held them back from better performances, but U.S. coach Brian McDonald is optimistic the team can regroup before tour continues next week.

“It was a rough start to the season,” McDonald said. “We trained better than we showed on both race days, so we are disappointed in the overall outcome. We know we are better than this and look forward to rebounding back to form when the tour continues next week in Altenberg, Germany.”

O’Shea had a dramatic start to her season after spraining her ankle between runs in the first race. Despite the injury, she managed to muster a 14th place finish with a two-run total of 1:51.37. O’Shea narrowly missed a top-10 finish in the second competition with a combined time of 1:50.43, which placed her in 11th.

“It was a tough two days,” O’Shea said. “I was in so much pain, but tried to stay as positive as I could. We have a great team dynamic this season and I really think that helped me work through the pain. It wasn't the results I wanted to start the Intercontinental Cup tour with, but I think next week will be a better week for all of us.”

Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) slid aggregate times of 1:51.50 and 1:50.56 for 17th and 14th, respectively. Gabryszak was expecting to make progress on a track that has challenged her in previous seasons, but she was disappointed to fall short of a top-10 result.

“As I've said in the past, this track is an enigma,” Gabryszak said. “You can have a perfect run and be slow, while others seem to crash their way down and still be fast. Curve nine gave me grief all week. I finally managed to put together solid runs in race one, but just somehow lost speed the whole way down. In the second race I found more speed and actually cracked the top 10, only to make a mistake in curve 12 that resulted in me riding my shoulder and falling back.”

Third-year competitor Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) finished 19th (1:51.80) and 18th (1:51.08).

“I was a little frustrated with this race after training well all week,” Graybill said. “It just goes to show that anything can happen on race day and that you've got to come prepared with everything you've got. Overall I think our team did a great job at supporting and pushing each other this week, and I know a lot of us walked away with personal bests.”

Rose McGrandle from Great Britain and Sophia Griebel finished 1-2 in both races. McGrandle was victorious with times of 1:49.35 and 1:48.71, while Griebel slid two-run totals of 1:49.83 and 1:49.08 for double silver medals. Laura Deas from Great Britain earned bronze the first day (1:50.45), and Russian Svetlana Vasilyeva was the bronze medal recipient the second day (1:49.20).

Tom Santagato (Astoria, N.Y.) clocked total times of 1:49.14 and 1:48.05 to lead the U.S. men with 18th place finishes both days.

“I didn't really get the results that I wanted but I was able to stay in the mix with all of the top guys,” Santagato said. “I put down some really fast times, they just weren't good enough on this particular day. This field is extremely competitive so even the smallest mistake is going to end up being costly.  I feel like I am pushing and driving pretty well right now, hopefully I can carry that into next week when we're in Altenberg.”

Allen Blackwell (Jackson, Miss.) just missed the top-20 cutoff both days with 22nd place finishes. Blackwell earned his first-career national team nomination in October after finishing as one of the top-six ranked men in selection races.

“I beat my personal best start and down time by a lot, so there was something positive to take away from the races,” Blackwell said.  “It was very competitive. This was my first race as a national team member, and I wish it were a better result.”

Mike Dellemann (Oregon, Wisc.) qualified for the Intercontinental Cup team, but a quad injury prevented him from racing. Dellemann returned to the states to begin a rehabilitation program with hopes of competing in second half.  Brad Stewart (Hastings, Minn.), who planned on retiring after selection races and was on tour to assist the team, stepped in last minute to fill in for Dellemann.  Stewart finished 21st and 27th.


German Kilian von Schleinitz won the first competition with a total time of 1:47.25. His teammate, Christopher Grotheer, tied Sungbin Yun from Korea for second place (1:47.41). Russian Nikita Tregybov was the second day winner with a two-run total of 1:45.98, followed by Yun (1:46.33) and von Schleinitz (1:46.34).

The Intercontinental Cup tour makes it’s second stop in Altenberg, Germany, which is known as one of the most technically difficult tracks in the world. Athletes will again compete in double races from Dec. 13-14.

Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at abird@usbsf.com or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.



Women’s skeleton race #1:

1. Rose McGrandle (GBR) 1:49.35 (54.74, 54.61); 2. Sophia Gribel (GER) 1:49.83 (54.94, 54.89); 3. Laura Deas (GBR) 1:50.45 (55.52, 54.93);…14. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:51.37 (55.56, 55.81);…17. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:51.50 (55.77, 55.73);…19. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:51.80 (55.74, 56.06);

Women’s skeleton race #2:

1. Rose McGrandle (GBR) 1:48.71 (54.22, 54.49); 2. Sophia Griebel (GER) 1:49.08 (54.44, 54.64); 3. Svetlana Vasilyeva (RUS) 1:49.20 (54.55, 54.65);…11. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:50.43 (55.20, 55.23);..14. Kimber Gabryszak (USA) 1:50.56 (55.08, 55.48);…18. Savannah Graybill (USA) 1:51.08 (55.39, 55.69);

Men’s skeleton race #1:

1. Kilian von Schleinitz (GER) 1:47.25 (53.69, 53.56); 2. Christopher Grotheer (GER) 1:47.41 (53.92, 53.49); 2. Sungbin Yun (KOR) 1:47.41 (53.97, 53.44);…18. Tom Santagato (USA) 1:49.14 (54.54, 54.50);…21. Brad Stewart (USA) (54.83, DNS); 22. Allen Blackwell (USA) (55.18, DNS);

Men’s skeleton race #2:

1. Nikita Tregybov (RUS) 1:45.98 (53.03, 52.95); 2. Sungbin Yun (KOR) 1:46.33 (53.18, 53.15); 3. Kilian von Schleinitz (GER) 1:46.34 (53.24, 53.10);….18. Tom Santagato (USA) 1:48.05 (53.78, 54.27);…22. Allen Blackwell (USA) (54.42, DNS); …27. Brad Stewart (USA) (54.80);

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