Pikus Pace and Antoine 4 for 4 in skeleton selection races

Oct. 30, 2013, 12:53 a.m. (ET)

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

Pikus-Pace and Antoine 4-for-4 in skeleton selection races

PARK CITY, Utah (Oct. 29, 2013)- Noelle Pikus-Pace (Orem, Utah) and Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) won their fourth-consecutive race tonight to complete a sweep of skeleton national team selection races.  Pikus-Pace earned a bye onto the team with her results last season, which include a gold medal on the 2014 Olympic track, and Antoine officially clinched his spot tonight by convincingly leading the series of trials races.

“I am so excited to be a coach of this team right now,” said Tuffy Latour, U.S. skeleton head coach. “We have so many talented kids coming through our program, and a solid base of veterans. We expect to be medaling on every tour this season, and this is by the far the most athletic team we’ve ever had in the U.S.”

Katie Uhlaender (Breckenridge, Colo.) and John Daly (Smithtown, N.Y.) also have byes onto the team based on last season’s results.  The remaining roster will be named tomorrow morning.  Two women and three men will be selected to race on the World Cup tour. The remaining six athletes named to the national team, three women and three men, will compete on the Intercontinental Cup tour.

Pikus-Pace was 0.78 seconds ahead of the women’s field to finish 4-for-4 in the selection race series.  The 2010 Olympian clocked the fastest runs of the competition, 51.24 and 51.76 seconds, for a total time of 1:43.00.

“It sure feels great to come into the season with four wins,” Pikus-Pace said. “It’s right where I was last year, and I’m looking to repeat my success from last season and even improve upon it. I’m extremely grateful for the coaching staff we have and the work they put in, and for my sponsors for giving my family the opportunity to travel with me this season.”

Over 200 people joined Pikus-Pace’s husband, Janson, and their two children, Lacee and Traycen, to cheer her on today.  The crowd waved signs and sported T-shirts supporting Pikus-Pace, and wildly rang cowbells at the start before her run.

“I had Janson take a picture of what it looked like from my view at the start because I knew it would look similar to what it will look like at the Olympics,” Pikus-Pace said. “There was such a huge crowd making noise and cheering, so it was more intense than just a typical race. It was incredible to have such a huge support system here today. Most of these people have said that they wish they could be in Sochi this February, so this is my way of taking them with me this season.”

Kimber Gabryszak (Park City, Utah) bettered her chances of securing a spot on the national team by finishing second today with a two-run total of 1:43.78.  The Utah resident put together runs of 51.65 and 52.13 seconds to inch closer to Pikus-Pace’s times than she’s been in weeks.

“For the first time this season I finally felt like I was at one with my sled,” Gabryszak said. “As I crossed the finish line I was thinking, ‘one, one, one,’ because I just wanted to be in first position. But then I realized that Noelle had already taken her run, so I started thinking, ‘two, two, two.’ I’m just happy to be close to her, she is such an amazing slider. I’ve always told her I want to be like her, and today I felt like it was possible.”

Annie O’Shea (Port Jefferson Station, N.Y.) threaded together runs of 51.84 and 52.48 seconds to finish third with a combined time of 1:44.32.  O’Shea finished second in the three races leading up to tonight.

Gracie Clapp (Jacksonville, Fla.) clocked an aggregate time of 1:44.79 to finish fourth. Megan Henry (Roxbury, Conn.) was fifth (1:44.91) and Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) raced to sixth (1:45.01).

Antoine was again the leader in the men’s race.  For the first time this season, Antoine was behind the pace after the first run. Daly held a lead of 0.14 seconds after clocking 50.20 seconds in the first heat.  Antoine responded in the final run with the fastest time of the second heat, 50.65 seconds, to reclaim the lead.  The veteran slid 0.10 seconds ahead of Daly to secure the win with a two-run total of 1:40.99.

“This is definitely a great way to start the season,” Antoine said. “I am really happy to solidify my spot on the World Cup team and ultimately work my way to the Olympic Games. I woke up feeling excited because today marks 100 days from the start of the Olympics, which helped drive me today.”

Daly finished second with a cumulative time of 1:41.09, followed by Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) in third with a combined time of 1:41.73.

“I have the utmost respect for everyone racing,” Antoine said. “Everyone from John and Kyle to the new athletes in the sport are pushing me along the way. You always have to keep your eyes on who is behind you, and I know they want my spot. I have huge respect for everyone out here.”

Brad Stewart (Hastings, Minn.) finished fourth (1:41.89), followed by Allen Blackwell (Jacksin, Miss.) in fifth (1:42.16) and Alex Ivanov (Calisle, Mass.) in sixth (1:42.51).

The national team will be named in ParkCity tomorrow morning. Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at abird@usbsf.com or 518-354-2250 with questions regarding the team.


Women’s Skeleton

1. Noelle Pikus-Pace 1:43.00 (51.24, 51.76); 2. Kimber Gabryszak 1:43.78 (51.65, 52.13); 3. Annie O’Shea 1:44.32 (51.84, 52.48); 4. Gracie Clapp 1:44.79 (52.28, 52.51); 5. Megan Henry 1:44.91 (52.09, 52.82); 6. Savannah Graybill 1:45.01 (52.12, 52.89); 7. Veronica Day 1:45.35 (52.46, 52.89); 8. Rachelle Rasmussen 1:45.71 (52.68, 53.03); 9. Caitlin Carter 1:45.85 (52.70, 53.15); 10.Lauri Bausch 1:45.88 (52.84, 53.04); 11. Kellie Delka 1:46.31 (53.01, 53.30); 12. Meghan Sullivan 1:46.59 (53.34, 53.25); 13. Sherri Emery 1:47.20 (53.50, 53.70); 14. Kristina Hull 1:47.48 (53.83, 53.65); 15. Lauren Salter 1:47.58 (53.11, 54.47); 16. Samantha Culiver 1:47.85 (53.32, 54.53);

Men’s Skeleton

1. Matt Antoine 1:40.99 (50.34, 50.65); 2. John Daly 1:41.09 (50.20, 50.89); 3. Kyle Tress 1:41.73 (50.39, 51.34); 4. Brad Stewart 1:41.89 (50.57, 51.32); 5. Allen Blackwell 1:42.16 (50.87, 51.29); 6. Alex Ivanov 1:42.51 (51.12, 51.39); 7. Mike Dellemann 1:42.80 (51.48, 51.32); 8. Tom Santagato 1:42.99 (51.33, 51.66); 9. Trent Kraychir 1:43.01 (51.35, 51.66); 10. Austin McCrary 1:43.09 (50.85, 52.24); 11. Greg West 1:43.73 (51.49, 52.24); 12. Nathan Crumpton 1:43.83 (51.57, 52.26); 13. Kevin McGlade 1:43.91 (51.87, 52.04); 14. Kyle Brown 1:44.12 (52.33, 51.79); 15. Jake Miter 1:44.62 (52.00, 52.62); 16. Ryan Sweeney 1:45.09 (52.29, 52.80); 17. Mike Rogals 1:45.18 (52.13, 53.05);

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, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Boomerang Carnets, 24 Hour Fitness, Putinka Vodka, 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.