Team USA kicks off international competitive season with six medals
Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
(518) 354-2250, firstname.lastname@example.org
Team USA kicks off international competitive season with six medals
CALGARY, Alberta (Nov. 17, 2013)- The USA Bobsled & Skeleton team kicked off the international competitive season with six medal performances in Calgary’s North American Cup. Double races in each of the five disciplines were held from Nov. 14-16 on the 1988 Olympic track.
Bree Schaaf (Bremerton, Wash.) teamed with Tracey Stewart (Richmond, Calif.) in the women’s bobsled races to earn a bronze medal. Nick Cunningham (Monterey, Calif.) paired with Abe Morlu (Phoenix, Ariz.) in the first race and Johnny Quinn (McKinney, Texas) in the second competition to sweep the men’s two-man bobsled series. Cory Butner (Yucaipa, Calif.) and Andreas Drbal (Belmont, Calif.) claimed bronze in the second two-man race before teaming up with Chuck Berkeley (Walnut Creek, Calif.) and Chris Langton (Melrose, Mass.) for double bronze medal performances in the men’s four-man bobsled competitions.
Cunningham partnered with Morlu to trump Olympic medalist Alexander Zubkov and his brakeman, Dmitry Trunenkov, in the first two-man bobsled race with a combined time of 1:50.31. Cunningham and Morlu finished 0.12 seconds ahead of Zubkov after posting the fastest run of the second heat to earn the first gold medal for the U.S. team this season. American teammates Butner and Drbal were fastest in the first run and finished the race in third with a total time of 1:50.67.
“Abe pushed great considering how heavy the sled was,” Cunningham said. “I am so happy to be able to have him stand next to me atop the podium and hear the national anthem for the first time.”
Cunningham teamed with Quinn to again win gold, beating out Russians Alexander Kasjanov and Alexey Voevoda by 0.20 seconds with a two-run total of 1:50.19. Canadians Justin Kripps and Timothy Randall claimed bronze for the host nation after clocking 1:50.77.
“Wow, talk about a competitive North American Cup,” Cunningham said. “I’m pretty happy with the wins even though I left a lot of time on the track with some driving mistakes. My crew and I have really come together as a team and the dynamic couldn’t be better.”
Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) finished 17th with Jesse Beckom (Chicago, Ill.) in the first race (1:52.43), and 14th with Thomas White (Dallas, Texas) in the second competition (1:52.07). Jake Peterson (Princeton, Minn.) competed with Nate Weber (Salt Lake City, Utah) and Beckom to finish 19th and 16th, respectively. Butner and Justin Olsen (San Antonio, Texas) were on track for a medal performance, but the crew crashed in the second run, disqualifying them from the competition.
“I was a little down after the two-man crash, but I am feeling more and more confident each day,” Butner said. “By the first World Cup race I’ll be feeling back to normal and ready to prove the USA is bringing it this year with three great teams.”
Zubkov teamed with Alexey Negodaylo, Trunenkov and Maxim Mokrousov to sweep the four-man bobsled races with combined times of 1:50.65 and 1:49.53. Canadians Kripps, Randall, James McNaughton and Bryan Barnett earned double silver medals (1:50.65, 1:49.84). Butner and his crew of Berkeley, Drbal and Langton claimed bronze medals both days with two-run totals of 1:50.84 and 1:49.89.
“Four-man races went well,” Butner said. “It was great having Zubkov racing here so we could see where we stand against one of the best in the world. It’s great to be racing with some of the big boys again, and we are looking forward to starting the World Cup season. I am feeling really good.”
Cunningham, Dallas Robinson (Georgetown, Ky.), Quinn and Morlu were on the cusp of medaling in fifth and fourth place (1:50.99, 1:50.02). Bascue, Weber, Beckom and Sam Michener (Gresham, Ore.) finished ninth (1:51.77) and 12th (1:51.18). Peterson raced in the first competition with White, Michael McCarty (Hudson, Ohio) and Adrian Adams (Reidsville, N.C.) for 12th (1:52.53).
Russian teams swept the women’s bobsled races. Olga Stulneva and Liudmila Udobkina were victorious in the first competition with an aggregate time of 1:53.51. Anastasia Tambovtseva and Margarita Ismailova trailed their teammates by 0.54 seconds for second place. Americans Schaaf and Stewart slid a total time of 1:54.48 to secure bronze. Schaaf finished fifth at the 2010 Winter Olympic Games and fell just short of qualifying for the national team by finishing fourth in selection races after a year of rehabilitation following hip surgery. The bobsled team for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games will be named on Jan. 19th, and points earned during international races will play a major role for drivers.
“I of course planned on making the national team so it was a bit of a shock and a scramble to make self-funded North American Cup happen,” Schaaf said. “Despite the Games being a long shot now, I found support in a wonderful company out of Denver called Crescent Point. It was truly heartwarming that despite my candor regarding Olympic qualification chances that a company would still have faith and support me like this.”
Tambovtseva and Udobkina clocked a combined time of 1:53.50 to win the second race after finishing 0.22 seconds ahead of Stulneva and Ismailova. Victoria Olaoye and Sarah Abrams from Great Britain were able to sneak 0.29 seconds ahead of Americans Schaaf and Stewart to nab bronze with a two-run total of 1:54.00.
“This has been a North American Cup like no other,” Schaaf said. “We were fully staffed and felt fortunate to have such incredible coaches along with a team manager and sled tech. Special thanks to Tracey for pushing me and keeping the dream alive.”
Brittany Reinbolt (Searcy, Ark.) continues to make gains as a new pilot and finished 10th both days with Sinead Corley (New London, N.H.) by posting totals of 1:56.60 and 1:56.29. Berit Tomten (Salt Lake City, Utah) recruited skeleton athlete Caitlin Carter (Carrollton, Texas) to push with her during the Calgary races and posted two 11th place finishes (1:57.14, 1:56.44). Nicole Vogt (Dallas, Texas) and rookie Kylie Gokie (Lincoln, Neb.) were 15th and 13th (1:58.20, 1:57.26).
Canadian Carli Brockway swept the women’s skeleton races with combined times of 1:56.83 and 1:58.98, while Marina Gilardoni from Switzerland earned double silver medals (1:57.04, 1:59.11). Elisabeth Vathje and Madison Charney claimed bronze medals for the host nation over the two days of racing with total times of 1:57.55 and 1:59.33, respectively.
Gracie Clapp (Jacksonville, Fla.), just 21 years old, led the U.S. women with a sixth place finish in the second race. The skeleton national push champion was 11th in the first race (1:59.82), but she threaded the pieces together down the course to finish on the podium with a sixth place result in the final race (2:00.61).
Veronica Day (Vienna, Va.) put together two ninth place finishes with two-run totals of 1:59.40 and 2:01.34 to lead the women in the first competition. Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) clocked combined times of 1:59.59 and 2:02.95 for 10th and 12th, while Kellie Delka (Denton, Texas) was close to the cracking into the top 10 in 12th and 11th (2:00.67, 2:02.50).
“This was the first international race of the season and the first time for many on our team to slide in Calgary,” Day said. “With that being said, I think the women’s team really worked together to get comfortable on the track. Each one of us came out of the gate strong with very solid pushes in a highly competitive field.”
Canadian Evan Neufeldt was the surprise victor in the first men’s skeleton race, finishing an impressive 0.34 seconds ahead of the “Russian Rocket” Alexander Tretiakov with a combined time of 1:53.31. Russia’s Sergio Chudinov was third with a total time of 1:53.67.
Tretiakov rebounded to take the lead in the second race with a combined time of 1:53.57, followed by teammate Chudinov in second (1:54.10). Italian Joseph Luke Cecchini slid a two-run total of 1:54.76 to finish third.
Austin McCrary (Colleyville, Texas) led the U.S. team with eighth and 12th place finishes (1:54.47, 1:56.28). The third-year slider had his first taste of the big leagues racing against accomplished Olympic athletes like Tretiakov last week.
“This was the largest and most talented field of North America’s Cup has had since I started competing,” McCrary said. “We have a few guys battling the flu and still pushing and sliding fast. As long as everyone continues to improve, I highly doubt there will be any disappointments, because the opportunity to compete against some of the best in the world is all I or any other slider could ask for.”
Greg West (Orange Beach, Ala.) slid total times of 1:55.58 and 1:57.68 for 14th and 19th place finishes. Rookies Trent Kraychir (Desert Hot Springs, Calif.) and Mike Rogals (Orwell, Vt.) raced in Calgary for the first time. Rogals was 23rd and 24th, while Kraychir finished 26th and 22nd.
The North American Cup makes its second stop in Park City, Utah this week. Athletes will race in a series of triple races held from Nov. 21-27. Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
Women’s skeleton race #1
1. Carli Brockway (CAN) 1:56.83 (58.63, 58.20); 2. Marina Gilardoni (SUI) 1:57.04; 3. Elisabeth Vathje (CAN) 1:57.55 (58.83, 58.72);…9. Veronica Day (USA) 1:59.40 (59.94, 59.46); 10. Megan Henry (USA) 1:59.59 (1:00.31, 59.28); 11. Gracie Clapp (USA) 1:59.82 (1:00.52, 59.30); 12. Kellie Delka (USA) 2:00.67 (1:00.49, 1:00.18);
Women’s skeleton race #2
1. Carli Brockway (CAN) 1:58.98 (58.65, 1:00.33); 2. Marina Gildoni (SUI) 1:59.11 (58.69, 1:00.42); 3. Madison Charney (CAN) 1:59.33 (59.15, 1:00.18);…6. Gracie Clapp (USA) 2:00.61 (1:00.02, 1:00.59);...9. Veronica Day (USA) 2:01.34 (59.90, 1:01.44);…11. Kellie Delka (USA) 2:02.50 (1:00.69, 1:01.81); 12. Megan Henry (USA) 2:02.95 (1:01.66, 1:01.29);
Men’s skeleton race #1
1. Evan Neufeldt (CAN) 1:53.31 (56.53, 56.78); 2. Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) 1:53.65 (56.67, 56.98); 3. Sergio Chudinov (RUS) 1:53.67 (56.71, 56.96);…8. Austin McCrary (USA) 1:54.47 (57.00, 57.47);…14. Greg West (USA) 1:55.58 (57.83, 57.75);…23. Mike Rogals (USA) (58.81, DNS);…26. Trent Kraychir (USA) (59.46, DNS);
Men’s skeleton race #2
1. Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) 1:53.57 (56.21, 57.36); 2. Sergio Chudinov (RUS) 1:54.10 (56.65, 57.45); 3. Joseph Luke Cecchini (ITA) 1:54.76 (56.71, 58.05);…12. Austin McCrary (USA) 1:56.28 (58.06, 58.22);…19. Greg West (USA) 1:57.68 (57.90, 59.78);…22. Trent Kraychir (USA) (58.40, DNS);…24. Mike Rogals (USA) (58.60, DNS);
Women’s bobsled race #1
1. Olga Stulneva and Liudmila Udobkina (RUS) 1:53.51 (56.52, 56.99); 2. Anastasia Tambovtseva and Margarita Ismailova (RUS) 1:54.05 (56.90. 57.15); 3. Bree Schaaf and Tracey Stewart (USA) 1:54.48 (57.31, 57.17);…10. Brittany Reibolt and Sinead Corley (USA) 1:56.60 (58.05, 58.55); 11. Berit Tomten and Caitlin Carter (USA) 1:57.14 (58.59, 58.55);…15. Nicole Vogt and Kylie Gokie (USA) 1:58.20 (59.04, 59.16);
Women’s bobsled race #2
1. Anastasia Tambovtseva and Liudmila Udobkina (RUS) 1:53.50 (56.74, 56.76); 2. Olga Stulneva and Margarita Ismailova (RUS) 1:53.72 (56.78, 56.94); 3. Victoria Olaoye and Sarah Adams (GBR) 1:54.00 (57.04, 56.96); 4. Bree Schaaf and Tracey Stewart (USA) 1:54.29 (57.11, 57.18);…10. Brittany Reinbolt and Sinead Corley (USA) 1:56.29 (58.04, 58.25); 11. Berit Tomten and Caitlin Carter (USA) 1:56.44 (58.22, 58.22);…13. Nicole Vogt and Kylie Gokie (USA) 1:57.26 (58.52, 58.74);
Men’s two-man bobsled race #1
1. Nick Cunningham and Abe Morlu (USA) 1:50.31 (55.11, 55.20); 2. Alexander Zubkov and Dmitry Trunenkov (RUS) 1:50.43 (55.16, 55.27); 3. Cory Butner and Andreas Drbal (USA) 1:50.67 (55.08, 55.59);…17. Codie Bascue and Jesse Beckom (USA) 1:52.43 (56.21, 56.22);…19. Jake Peterson and Nate Weber (USA) 1:52.63 (56.00, 56.63);
Men’s two-man bobsled race #2
1. Nick Cunningham and Johnny Quinn (USA) 1:50.19 (54.81, 55.38); 2. Alexander Kasjanov and Alexey Voevoda (RUS) 1:50.39 (54.93, 55.46); 3. Justin Kripps and Timothy Randall (CAN) 1:50.77 (55.05, 55.72);..14. Codie Bascue and Thomas White (USA) 1:52.07 (55.80, 56.27);…16. Jake Peterson and Jesse Beckom (USA) 1:52.28 (56.07, 56.21);…Cory Butner and Justin Olsen (USA) DSQ;
Men’s four-man bobsled race #1
1. Zubkov, Negodaylo, Trunenkov and Mokrousov (RUS) 1:50.24 (55.14, 55.10); 2. Kripps, Randall, McNaughton and Barnett (CAN) 1:50.65 (55.52, 55.13); 3. Butner, Berkeley, Drbal and Langton (USA) 1:50.84 (55.32, 55.52);…5. Cunningham, Robinson, Quinn and Morlu (USA) 1:50.99 (55.56, 55.43);…9.Bascue, Weber, Clark and Michener (USA) 1:51.77 (55.86, 55.91);,,,12, Peterson, White, McCarty and Adams (USA) 1:52.53 (56.28, 56.25);
Men’s four-man bobsled race #2
1. Zubkov, Negodaylo, Trunenkov and Mokrousov (RUS) 1:49.53 (54.63, 54.90); 2. Kripps, Randall, McNaughton and Barnett (CAN) 1:49.84 (54.84, 55.00); 3. Butner, Drbal, Clark and Langton (USA) 1:49.89 (54.77, 55.12); 4. Cunningham, Robinson, Quinn and Morlu (USA) 1:50.02 (55.10, 54.92);…12. Bascue, Weber, Beckom and Michener (USA) 1:51.18 (55.64, 55.54);
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: BMW of North America, Century 21 Real Estate, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, CEVA, Eastern European Distribution Company, Boomerang Carnets, 24 Hour Fitness, KBC Helmets, Azad Watches, Latta USA, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, Autism Speaks, Park City Lodging, Inc., EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.