O'Shea leads Intercontinental Cup team in Altenberg with top-10 finish

Dec. 14, 2013, 10:22 p.m. (ET)

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

O’Shea leads Intercontinental Cup team in Altenberg with top-10 finish

ALTENBERG, Germany (Dec.14, 2013)- Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) once again led the U.S. Intercontinental Cup team with a top-10 finish in Altenberg, Germany.  Athletes competed in a two-race series from Dec. 13-14 on the notoriously difficult track, and O’Shea posted a ninth place finish today to cap the first half of the tour.

“It’s not an easy circuit, especially when start and track records are being broken left and right,” O’Shea said. “It was tough to watch because my ankle really needs another week before I feel back to my full potential. We have been working really well as a team, which will be even more beneficial moving into second half.”

O’Shea clocked a combined time of 1:59.76 to finish ninth today, an improvement from her 12th place finish yesterday. O’Shea said she didn’t feel confident heading into the week because she struggled last year in Altenberg while recovering from knee surgery, and is recovering from an injured ankle from a fall last week.

“It was a really tough week,” O’Shea said. “This track is hard, mainly because we don't spend much time here like the other nations do. I think it was harder this year because last year I made so many painful mistakes and wasn't confident with my knee. Each day I got a little faster and corrected something which is a great positive to take from the week.”

Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) finished 11th and 14th with total times of 2:00.34 and 2:00.87, respectively, and posted several personal best times throughout the week.

“Overall I'm pleased with my results, but know that I have so much more to work on,” Graybill said. “I struggled with consistency this week and quickly learned the importance of putting two runs together. In addition to coach Brian MacDonald, a huge thanks goes out to Tyler Micheli, who traveled with our team throughout the first half.  Tyler's knowledge and video skills provided us with more input of our lines down the track to prepare us for our races.”

Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) hit her head and broke her helmet during training and opted not to race.

“It's extremely disappointing to not be able to race,” Gabryszak said. “While a difficult track, Altenberg is one of my top two favorites, so I had looked forward all year to coming here. Everyone has been amazingly supportive both within and without the team - British slider Laura Deas even loaned me her spare helmet to let me race - and it was a difficult decision that broke my heart, but in the end it was the right one.”

German Sophia Griebel was victorious in both races with two-run totals of 1:57.55 and 1:56.92. Her teammates Tina Hermann and Jacqueline Loelling were second and third both days to complete a German sweep of the women’s races.

Allen Blackwell (Jackson, Miss.) was the top U.S. finisher in the men’s races. Blackwell posted combined times of 1:58.23 and 1:56.83 to finish 12th both days.

“I had two great races,” Blackwell said. “I had a huge personal best on my start and downtime. I haven’t competed on a European track in a couple of years, so it was great coming back. My dad, Dr. Blackwell, was here and took over as team doctor, and the support here was great. I had a huge crowd at the start cheering me on to my personal bests.”

Tom Santagato (Astoria, N.Y.) finished 23rd and 18th. Brad Stewart (Hastings, Minn.) opted not to race after having trouble adjusting to a borrowed sled.

“I didn’t want to needlessly risk injury while trying to figure out the sled,” Stewart said. “I’m extremely disappointed given the opportunity to slide and my love for this track, however in the end I had to think of the bigger picture.”

Russian Alexander Mutovin won the first race in 1:54.88, while German Christopher Grotheer was today’s winner in 1:54.13.  Grotheer was second in the first race, followed by Rissuan Nikita Tregbov. Kilian von Schleiniz from Germany was second today, while Russian Anton Batuev was third.

The tour breaks for the holiday before resuming in Whistler, Canada Jan. 5-6. 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. Sophia Griebel (GER) 1:57.55 (58.60, 58.95); 2. Tina Hermann (GER) 1:57.81 (58.86, 58.95); 3. Jacqueline Loelling (GER) 1:57.90 (59.02, 58.88);…11. Savannah Graybill (USA) 2:00.34 (1:00.42, 59.92); 12. Annie O’Shea (USA) 2:00.39 (1:00.27, 1:00.12);

Women’s skeleton race #2

1. Sophia Griebel (GER) 1:56.92 (58.37, 58.55); 2. Tina Hermann (GER) 1:57.46 (58.54, 58.92); 3. Jacqueline Loelling (GER) 1:57.48 (58.56, 58.92);…9. Annie O’Shea (USA) 1:59.76 (1:00.03, 59.73);…14. Savannah Graybill (USA) 2:00.87 (1:00.82, 1:00.05);

Men’s skeleton race #1

1. Alexander Mutovin (RUS) 1:54.88 (57.12, 57.76); 2. Christopher Grotheer (GER) 1:54.93 (57.32, 57.61); 3. Nikita Tregybov (RUS) 1:55.11 (57.13, 57.98);…12. Allen Blackwell (USA) 1:58.23 (59.01, 59.22);…23. Tom Santagato (USA) (1:01.63, DNS);

Men’s skeleton race #2

1. Christopher Grotheer (GER) 1:54.13 (57.03, 57.10); 2. Kilian von Schleinitz (GER) 1:54.38 (57.07, 57.31); 3. Anton Batuev (RUS) 1:54.38 (57.12, 57.26);…12. Allen Blackwell (USA) 1:56.83 (58.30, 58.53);…18. Tom Santagato (USA) 1:59.32 (59.70, 59.62);

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