Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director
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Antoine and Graybill lead at U.S. Skeleton National Championships midway point
LAKE PLACID, N.Y. (March 6, 2014)-Twenty-two skeleton athletes returned to Lake Placid, N.Y. to vie for the 2014 U.S. National Championship title, including Olympic bronze medalist Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.). Antoine currently leads the men’s race by 1.67 seconds after two record-breaking runs, and Savannah Graybill (Denver, Pa.) is the women’s overnight leader by 1.57 seconds.
Antoine built momentum towards the 2014 Sochi Games with three World Cup medal performances, including his first career victory, and finished third in overall points. While most Olympians called it a season at the conclusion of the Games, Antoine opted to return to Lake Placid for one more week of sliding.
“Sochi was obviously a huge high for me, but I wasn't quite ready to call it a season after winning my bronze medal,” Antoine said. “After some time off I was excited to return to Lake Placid for one final week of sliding. This is my home track, I've had a lot of success here, and I really just enjoy sliding this track. Every run is a challenge and I like to be challenged, it's what keeps me hungry in this sport. Since I'm going four more years it's important to stay hungry.”
Antoine posted two of the top push times, 4.99 and 5.00 seconds, for record-breaking runs of 53.41 and 53.44 seconds, respectively. The closest competitor, Mike Rogals (Orwell, Vt.), was 1.67 seconds behind. Rogals, a rookie slider from the University of Vermont, put himself on the coach’s radar with the second fastest times of today’s heats, 54.14 and 54.38 seconds. Olympian Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) is third at the midway point after clocking runs of 54.55 and 54.48 seconds. Rookie Jacob Miter (Cropseyville, N.Y.) was the closest competitor to Antoine off the start block with pushes of 5.05 and 4.98 seconds. Miter, who finished third in this season’s push championships, is currently in 11th place.
Fifth year competitor Graybill has a convincing lead of 1.57 seconds over the women’s field after posting the fastest times of the competition, 55.80 and 55.89 seconds.
“We've had incredible ice over the past week, and a lot of athletes have set new personal records, myself included,” Graybill said. “It was pretty inspiring to watch Matt Antoine come back from his Olympic bronze medal performance and blast his old track record on his first training run. While I've gained a lot of confidence this week and feel ready for tomorrow's final, I know I still have a lot to learn and progress to make.”
Morgan Tracey (Champion, Ohio) and Samantha Culiver (Scottsdale, Ariz.) are just 0.02 seconds from one another in second and third, respectively, making tomorrow a battle for silver and bronze. Tracey clocked runs of 55.35 and 56.91 seconds, while Culiver stopped the clock in 56.78 and 56.50 seconds. Veronica Day (Vienna, Va.), this season’s push championship silver medalist, posted the fastest start time of 5.47 seconds in the first heat and is currently in eighth. Kellie Delka (Denton, Texas) was fastest off the block in the second heat with a push of 5.45 seconds and is in sixth.
“National Championships serve as a great tool for the newer sliders- it gives them an opportunity to understand race protocol and to get their names out there to the coaching staff,” Graybill said. “It's often the first time that these athletes are meeting the coaches and allows them to make a good first impression and show the progress they've made over the season. It was exciting to watch them perform so well and says a lot about the strength and depth our program as we start a new quad. There are a lot of athletes showing that they're ready to go for next season.”
The 2014 U.S. National Championships continue tomorrow with the final two heats at 11 am ET. The athlete with the lowest combined four-heat time in both the women’s and men’s divisions will be declared the winners.
Please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Director, at email@example.com or 518-354-2250 with media inquiries.
Heats 1 & 2 results:
1. Savannah Graybill 1:51.69 (55.80, 55.89); 2. Morgan Tracey 1:53.26 (56.35, 56.91); 3. Samantha Culiver 1:53.28 (56.78, 56.50); 4. Sherri Emery 1:54.31 (57.10, 57.21); 5. Kendall Wessenburg 1:54.80 (57.78, 57.02); 6. Kellie Delka 1:54.88 (57.62, 57.26); 7. Megan Dovell 1:57.37 (58.97, 58.40); 8. Veronica Day 1:59.77 (56.90, 1:02.87); 9. Elizabeth Reed 1:59.97 (1:00.55, 59.42);
1. Matt Antoine 1:46.85 (53.41, 53.44); 2. Mike Rogals 1:48.52 (54.14, 54.38); 3. Kyle Tress 1:48.92 (54.44, 54.48); 4. Kyle Brown 1:48.92 (54.52, 54.76); 5. Greg West 1:49.69 (54.80, 54.89); 6. Kevin McGlade 1:50.08 (55.14, 54.94); 7. Ryan Sweeney 1:50.53 (54.87, 55.66); 8. Trent Kraychir 1:50.65 (55.43, 55.22); 9. Alex Ivanov 1:50.77 (55.33, 55.44); 10. Steve Garbett 1:51.07 (56.39, 54.68); 11. Jacob Miter 1:51.71 (55.38, 56.33); 12. Justin Wachowski 1:52.02 (56.00, 56.02); 13. Gary Wozniak 1:52.55 (56.10, 56.45); 14. Dominic Costanzo 1:55.99 (57.86, 58.13);
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, CEVA Logistics, Under Armour, Kampgrounds of America, Boomerang Carnets, 24 Hour Fitness, KBC Helmets, Eastern European Distribution Company, 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.